My daughter bought a Hibiscus tree this past summer. She doesn't have a good place to protect/store the tree for the winter, so I brought it to my house. I have a partially heated garage (about 50-55 degrees on cold days) and placed the potted hibiscus tree on a large bucket by a window. The problem is when she asked me to store the tree, about late November, it had already seen some cold weather and most of the leaves had fallen off. There were tiny leaves on it at that time, but there doesn't appear to be any sign of life. Does this tree go into a dormant stage? What do I look for to determine if it has died or if it can be revived? I haven't watered it because the pot seemed quite wet when I brought it home.
Winter Care of Hibiscus
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Yes, this tree does go into dormancy. To check if it is dormant or dead, simply bend one of the smaller branches. If the branch simply bends, it is alive. If it snaps, it is dead. If the first branch snaps, check the others before assuming the whole tree is dead.
As long as the tree stays in temps of 45-55, it should be fine in dormancy. Water the pot about once a month. In the spring, you will see leaves emerge. once the leaves start to grow again, start to increase watering and once the temps outside are past frost stage, you can move it back outside and resume normal care.