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Saving Hibiscus, Mandevilla, Bougainvillea and Other Tropical Plants Over Winter

You’ve enjoyed their blooms all summer and now you would like to preserve your hibiscus, mandevilla, bougainvillea, or other tropical plant for next season. 

Try growing these tropical beauties in a bright sunny window for the winter.  Water thoroughly whenever the top few inches of soil is just slightly moist.  I like to place my plants on a saucer filled with pebbles.  The excess water collects in the saucer while the plants safely rest above the water on the pebbles.  This increases humidity around the plant, prevents root rot caused by plants sitting in a water-filled saucer and reduces your workload.

You can also grow these plants in a cool location with minimal light and water.  The goal is to keep the plants somewhat dormant without killing them.  I have an east facing basement window that works quite well.  I water just often enough to keep the roots from drying.  It is a bit riskier, but may be the only option if indoor space is limited.

A bit more information:  Don’t let unwanted pests hitch a ride indoors with your tropicals.  Isolate the plants from your other indoor plants for several weeks.  Monitor for signs of insects and mites.  I prefer to use more eco-friendly products like insecticidal soap or Neem when problems occur.  You will need repeat applications, but these products are safer for you, your pets and children.

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