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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.

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

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Monday - October 18, 2010

From: Clinton Township, MI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Care for non-native tropical Hibiscus rosa sinensis in Clinton Township MI
Answered by:

QUESTION:

Do I have to bring a painted lady hibiscus tree in for the winter? We planted it in the ground and it did great this summer, but I do not know if we have to put it in a pot and bring it in for the winter.

ANSWER:

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is knowledgeable only in plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown. The Painted Lady is a trade name for one of the varieties of Hibiscus rosa-sinensis. Any time you find "sinensis" appended to a plant name, you can bet it's not from around here. Nor around Clinton Township, MI. Since there are 3 places by that name in Michigan, we chose to look at the USDA Hardiness Zones of the entire state. The warmest spot, in southern Michigan, was in Zone 5b, in which the average annual minimum temperatures are from -15 to -10 deg. F. According to this article on the plant from Floridata, this native of tropical Asia requires Zones 9-10. The article makes some suggestions on preserving the plant in cooler climates by wintering it in a greenhouse.

 

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