Question: I had two hibiscus trees in pots outdoors last summer and brought them in for the winter. I placed them in front of a sunny window, but now most of the leaves have turned yellow and fallen off. It does appear that new leaves are trying to grow. What should we do to keep these beautiful plants alive?
When you bring tropical hibiscus plants (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis) indoors, they respond to the lower level of light by dropping their leaves, so your plants are doing what is normal. You can see that the plant is healthy, because new leaves are already sprouting.
To keep it healthy while it’s indoors this winter, provide water when the soil dries out to within 1 inch of the surface and feed it lightly every few weeks with a high-nitrogen fertilizer. Watch for spider mites, and use insecticidal soap to keep them under control.
A hibiscus growing outdoors can grow to unmanageable size, so now might be a good time to prune it, and if the plant needs repotting, it’s a good time to take care of that chore, as well.
Return the hibiscus to its outdoor home when the weather warms up again in the spring.
Garden events in Middle Tennessee
Now until Christmas: Gardens of Babylon garden center, located at the Nashville Farmer’s Market, is partnering with Metro-funded Stanford Montessori Elementary to raise funds for the Donelson-area school. Students have filled out Christmas tree tags with their names and aspirations to attach to the freshly cut firs at Gardens of Babylon; for each tagged tree purchased, the garden center will donate a portion of the sale to the school to help buy school supplies and various educational items.
Check out the garden center’s Facebook page for other events and activities.
Dec. 21: Winter Solstice. Celebrate the shortest day of the year (and the return to longer days) at WarnerParkNatureCenter, where you can watch the sunset and walk through the woods along a luminary-lit pathway, make a wreath, hear a presentation by an astronomer and enjoy other first-day-of-winter activities. The all-ages program is led by Shannon Moore and Melissa Donahue, is 3:30 – 5:30 p.m. call to register, 615- 352-6299.
Put this on your calendar: The 2014 Nashville Lawn & Garden Show will run from Thursday, February 27, through Sunday, March 2, 2014, at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds. This year’s theme is “Wine & Roses” and will offer visitors the chance to sample wine from area vineyards.