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Caring for A Braided Hibiscus in A Colder Climate

You can own a braided hibiscus tree, even if you live in a colder climate! Caring for hibiscus trees in zones lower than USDA 9 does require a little extra effort. But as long as you have a sunny, warm spot in your home, you can enjoy their beautiful tropical flowers year round.

Buying A Braided Hibiscus Tree At Walmart

As I mentioned on Facebook a few weeks ago, I had every intention on planting my Better Homes and Gardens Bombay Garden Vase using the 3-step how to plant flowers method I shared last year…

But as I was walking through the Walmart Garden Center earlier this week, the beautiful braided hibiscus plants started calling to me. I’m still planning to plant my smaller containers using that method, but I couldn’t resist taking home a new hibiscus tree to add some gorgeous, vibrant color to our front porch! Priced at just $26.98, it will provide color year round for a real steal.

Caring for Hibiscus Plants In A Colder Climate

How To Select A Braided Hibiscus Tree

A tropical plant best grown in USDA zone 10 and above, hibiscus are not well-suited to the colder climate here in zone 6 Ohio. However, with a little bit of care, colder zones, like mine, can enjoy the beauty of these flowers by growing them in a container that can be moved indoors.

My Walmart Garden Center carries several varieties of hibiscus, ranging from smaller shrubs to the larger braided tree-like specimen I selected. While many of the plants were in full bloom already, I opted for a Braided Hibiscus that only had small buds on it. The flowers are delicate and easily damaged during transport, and the buds are a little hardier. But it will be full of beautiful blooms very soon!

Caring for Hibiscus Plants

Caring For Hibiscus Plants

It’s a good idea to transplant your Braided Hibiscus Tree once you get it home. Planting Hibiscus in a large container allows them to be displayed outdoors on a porch or patio through the summer months and then enjoyed indoors during the winter.

This is especially important if you live in a colder climate and want to maintain your Hibiscus Tree over the winter.

I replanted my new braided hibiscus into my large Bombay Garden Vase. The Bombay Garden Vase is tall and heavy enough to keep the tree upright on my front porch in light winds, yet lightweight enough to be easily transported indoors to weather the colder months.

Whatever container you choose, you’ll also want to make sure that it allows for good drainage.

How To Care For Hibiscus Plants

Hibiscus Tree Care

Light Requirements
Hibiscus plants need a minimum of 6 hours of sunlight daily. Be sure to rotate your plant often for equal light distribution.

Watering
Plants grown in containers can dry out quickly, especially during the hot summer months. Watering frequently is essential. Stick your finger down into the soil, and if the top inch of soil is dry, it’s time to water. Water at soil level to avoid wetting the leaves.

Fertilizing
Feed your Hibiscus about every two weeks with an all-purpose liquid plant food to encourage blooming. Instructions will vary depending on the variety you purchase, so read and follow them carefully.

Pruning
The Braided Hibiscus can grow as large as 6 feet tall and 4 feet wide, but it can be kept to a more manageable size with frequent pruning. For container-grown plants, it’s important to trim them frequently. This will encourage more side-shoots and flowers and limit the need for a larger root system.

Pruning cuts should be made just above a leaf bud and at a slight angle, using a sharp pair of pruning shears. The bud below the cut will be where the new growth sprouts. Remove dead flowers as they wilt to keep the Hibiscus looking healthy and beautiful. This will also prevent unnecessary seed production.

Overwintering
When the temperatures start to drop to 40°F at night, it’s time to move your Hibiscus indoors. Prior to moving them inside, spray them down several times to remove any unwanted pests, finishing with an application of horticultural oil.

Keep your Hibiscus in a warm, sunny spot. Follow the tips above for watering, fertilizing, and pruning until it can be moved back outdoors in late spring/early summer!

I can hardly wait for those big, gorgeous orange Hibiscus flowers to bloom on my plant… I promise I’ll update this post with a blooming image soon!


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Candace

Monday 21st of February 2022

I have 7 tropical hibiscus that I bring indoors for the winter (gets really cold in Buffalo NY). Three of the trees (1 braided) have just finished blooming. I was surprised they bloomed so late and so long. Do I prune them back now, wait until Spring, or just leave them alone. Since they really didn’t go dormant, yet, I’m not even sure when to fertilize them. Any help or advice, would be greatly appreciated.

Jessica

Wednesday 29th of July 2020

Also, in NYC. I plan on bringing into a sunny room over winter. Can a briaded hibiscus be pruned in the fall to propagate over the winter? Or should it only be done in the spring?

Also, if braided and roughly 3-4 tall, how long should a tie remain on the trunks and should you continue to braid or will it continue naturally as it grows taller?

Tara Kuczykowski

Wednesday 12th of August 2020

Hi Jessica! Hibiscus should only be pruned in spring -- however, you can tip-cut at any time to shape and encourage bushies growth. If your tree is 3-4 feet tall, I would say it's safe to remove the tie at this point. I've never continued to braid mine since purchasing.

Maria

Sunday 17th of May 2020

This is my first time planting a tree, I live in Long Island will it survive outside in the winter. If I plant it outside?

Tara Kuczykowski

Sunday 17th of May 2020

Hi Maria! Unfortunately, the climate in Long Island is not suitable for planting a Hibiscus tree. I recommend keeping it in a large pot that can be brought indoors during the colder months.