Hibiscus in winter: planting time & ideal location


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In order for the hibiscus to bloom profusely next year, it must be properly overwintered. More about the ideal location as well as planting time can be found here.

Hibiscus plant covered in snow
To overwinter hibiscus safely, there are a few things to keep in mind [Photo: LACROIX CHRISTINE/ Shutterstock.com]

The hibiscus (Hibiscus) is native to the subtropical regions of Asia. It is an absolute lover of warmth and only a few varieties can survive the winters in our latitudes. We explain how you can get even the not so hardy hibiscus varieties through the cold season so you can enjoy the flowers next year as well.

Planting hibiscus: planting time and procedure

Common hibiscus (Hibiscus syriacus) is the only species that can survive a moderate winter outdoors in the European climate. But when exactly should you plant it and what else should you consider? We explain this step by step in the following sections.

The right time for planting

As soon as conditions allow in the spring, you should plant your hibiscus in the garden. The earlier it enters the growth phase, the better equipped it will be for the coming winter.

Hibiscus plant and roots taken out of pot
The soil must be frost-free before the garden hibiscus can be planted [Photo: Sheila Fitzgerald/ Shutterstock.com]

Note: It makes sense to keep even the common hibiscus in the first year still in the pot. This allows the plant to be placed in the warm during particularly cold conditions, allowing it to slowly adapt to the harsh winter conditions.

Planting hibiscus: bed and container

Hibiscus prefers very nutrient–rich soil. So if you plant your hibiscus in a pot, be sure to use fresh compost. When planting in the bed, the planting hole should be about twice the volume of the root ball. Loosen the soil deeply and mix it with plenty of compost. The more nutritious the soil, the more confidently you can hope for a lush bloom. You can also use a high-quality, nutrient-rich organic soil such as our Plantura Organic Flower Compost to create optimal conditions for the hibiscus.

Organic Flower Compost, 40L
Organic Flower Compost, 40L
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  • Perfect for all flowering plants in garden beds & pots
  • For beautiful blossoms & healthy plant growth
  • Peat-free & organic soil: CO2-saving composition

Transplanting hibiscus: timing and procedure

Common hibiscus, initially grown in a pot, can be placed outdoors after the first winter. Transplanting should be done as early as possible in the spring to give the beloved hibiscus a good start to growth. When planting hibiscus, proceed as if you were planting it directly into the bed. Loosen the soil deeply and enrich it with compost. In this case, all of the soil of the root ball from the pot can be used.

Overwintering hibiscus in a pot

The hibiscus is a heat-loving plant from the subtropics of Asia. No wonder it is not particularly comfortable in European winters. However, common hibiscus is frost hardy and can survive moderate winters. However, to get used to it, the first year it should still be kept in a pot, so you can put it in the warm when temperatures are very low. Rose hibiscus, on the other hand, can no longer survive outdoors at temperatures below 12 °C. For it, only planting in a pot is suitable. During the winter you should water your hibiscus only moderately and never fertilise.

Pink rose hibiscus flower
The rose hibiscus should be kept in a pot all year round [Photo: Soraya Plaithong/ Shutterstock.com]

Tip: Even though the common hibiscus is frost resistant, you can help it through the cold months. To do this, simply layer some bark mulch on top of the soil around the main shoot. You can also plant evergreen ground covers around the main shoot of the hibiscus for cold protection.