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Mr. Smarty Plants - Protecting hibiscus from cold in Eastern Washington State

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Friday - July 28, 2006

From: Benton City, WA
Region: Northwest
Topic: Container Gardens, Shrubs
Title: Protecting hibiscus from cold in Eastern Washington State
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I recently purchased a Hibiscus Brilliant Red. I planted it in an area of my garden that will give it full sun for most of the day. In the Pacific Northwest where I live (Eastern Washington) it can get fairly cold in the winters. The summer's are in the high 80's to the low 100's from May until October. July and August the temps can get (and usually are) into the low 100's for several weeks at a time. I am concerned about our winters. Can I cover the Hibiscus during the coldest months? If so what woould I use to cover it? Thanks for your help.

ANSWER:

Hibiscus 'Brilliant Red' (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis) is a tropical hibiscus and will have to be protected in cold weather. It is recommended for USDA Hardiness Zones 9 and 10 and it appears as if you are in Zone 5 or 6. Covering may save it on barely freezing nights, but any cold in the mid 20's and below will kill it. It looks as if the average winter low temperatures in Benton City, Washington fall around 25° F; consequently, I doubt if it would survive the winter even with covering. Perhaps you can grow it in a very large container so that you could move it inside to a warm area to protect it during the winter.

 

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