En Español

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?


Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - June 14, 2009

From: Idaho Falls, ID
Region: Rocky Mountain
Topic: Non-Natives, Seasonal Tasks
Title: Winter-hardiness of hibiscus in Idaho
Answered by: Jackie OKeefe


I bought a hibiscus tree at Sam's Club in Idaho Falls and after planting it, I read the label which says not to go below 50 degrees. Does that mean it is an inside or potted tree to bring in in the winter? Will it die if left planted outside for the Idaho Winter?


At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, our mission is to educate people about their native plants, encouraging their use in the landscape. According to The Native Plant Database, there are no hibiscus varieties native to Idaho, and that puts your question out of our real area of expertise.

However, if your plant is not rated for below 50 degrees F, it won't make it through the winter outdoors in Idaho Falls, which is in Zone 5-6 and experiences a cold, continental-climate winter. If it is a tropical hibiscus (Glossy, ovate leaves are characteristic of tropical hibiscus.), even indoors it will probably require some winter supplementary light that far north. Here is a site that provides some advice on growing tropical hibiscus in a northern climate.


More Seasonal Tasks Questions

Wintering of non- native jasmine in Newton KS
September 18, 2010 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, I received a gorgeous jasmine for mothers day and I planted it in my front yard in the flower area close to the house. Can I keep it there all winter or do I need to dig it up a...
view the full question and answer

Will watering before a freeze protect an esperanza from a freeze from San Angelo, TX
November 22, 2013 - Would it help to lightly water esperanza before I cover it prior to freeze and/or sleet?
view the full question and answer

When should salvia greggii be pruned from Austin
December 12, 2013 - Should salvia greggii be pruned in fall/winter? I thought I read onsite that all woody perennials should be left untouched or pruned to 6 inches. Does this apply to salvia greggii?
view the full question and answer

Transplanting a redbud in Virginia Beach VA
April 21, 2010 - I have a 5-6 ft. Redbud Tree and like to dig up and move to different spot in my backyard. How/what is the proper way to do it without killing the tree?
view the full question and answer

Removal of Carolina Jasmine in San Antonio
March 02, 2009 - We are attempting to permanently remove large old-growth Carolina Yellow Jasmine, Gelsemium sempervirens bushes from our property. The bushes are cut down. Any suggestions for stump/root removal (mec...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center