How to Prepare a Hibiscus Plant for Winter


Hibiscus, as tropical plants, do not tolerate freezing temperatures. Preserve these perennials through the winter by tailoring protections measures to your climate. Plant your hibiscus in a pot for bringing indoors if you experience annual freezes. In warmer climates, leave your hibiscus outside and protect it when a freeze threatens for a night or two.

Protect Potted Hibiscus

Step 1

Bring potted hibiscus inside before the first frost.

Step 2

Stop watering the plant until the plant becomes dormant, indicated by all the leaves falling off.

Step 3

Keep your hibiscus in a spot with 40 to 45 degree temperatures F throughout the winter.

Step 4

Check the soil biweekly for moisture level by pushing your finger 2 inches deep into the soil. Add water to the plant if the soil feels dry 2 inches below the surface. Pour in enough water so the soil feels damp 2 inches below the surface.

Prepare Outdoor Hibiscus

Step 1

Layer composted leaves or mulch around the base of the hibiscus and over the stem to create a layer 4 to 6 inches thick.

Step 2

Wrap Christmas lights around the hibiscus plant and plug them in to warm the plant during freezing nights.

Step 3

Cover the plant with a tarp or frost blanket during freezing temperatures to protect the plant and hold the warmth from the Christmas lights against the plant.

Things You'll Need

  • Composted leaves or other organic mulch
  • Christmas lights
  • Frost blanket or tarp


  • North Dakota State University: Questions on Hibiscus
  • Hidden Valley Hibiscus: Winter Care
  • University of Illinois Extension: Overwintering Tropical Plants
Keywords: protect hibiscus, hibiscus winter protection, freeze protection

About this Author

Athena Hessong began her freelance writing career in 2004. She draws upon experiences and knowledge gained from teaching all high school subjects for seven years. Hessong earned a Bachelor's in Arts in history from the University of Houston and is a current member of the Society of Professional Journalists.