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Is Tropical Hibiscus Hardy in Upstate New York?

Ask The Plant Expert:

I received a hibiscus tree for a gift. I live in upstate New York. I know that some will tolerate the cold, but this one had no label on it, so now I am wondering if there is a way to tell if it will make it through a winter. Does anyone know how to yell if it is cold hardy? Thank you Mike

Tropical Hibiscus Tree

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Can You Use Pine Tags Under Soil For Flower Pots?

Hibiscus BloomAsk The Plant Expert:

Can you put pine tags under potting soil in flower pots? Will it damage the plant? I put a large hibiscus plant in a large pot. I filled the bottom with pine tags to help fill the pot. Then I put potting soil on  top of the pine tags and covered the root of the plant with potting soil. Will the pine tags damage the plant? – Ann

Flower Shop Network Plant Expert reply:

No, the pine tags should not cause an issue with the hibiscus. I don’t know of any problems that pine tags will cause other plants. If you are concerned about pine tags making the soil too acidic, you can always test the pH of the soil. However, I doubt that the pine tags would be able to change the pH and most potting soils have a neutral pH. Hibiscus prefer an alkaline soil.  You can use a pH meter to test the soil.  You will want a reading between 6.5 to 7.8.  Although I have seen hibiscus do okay with a soil pH of 5.5.

Hopefully this information was helpful.  Please let me know if I can help with anything else.

5 Petal Cream Flower Is A Hibiscus

Hibiscus Bloom

Hibiscus Bloom

Ask the Expert: Can you identify this plant?
I have a plant that I would like to have identified. I have attached a picture below.  The leaves are a medium green and are elongated with serrated edges.  The blossom is a cream colour and I have had trouble identifying the exact colour of the centre – it is either a deep vibrant brown or a deep purple.  There are 5 petals on each flower and yellow stamens in the centre.  The flower is in bloom when I awake in the morning and when the plant is in shade or when it is dusk, the flowers are spent. Lin

Plant Expert Reply:

I can’t see a leaf clearly to make a positive identification on the species but it definitely in the Hibiscus genus.  I would guess a Hibiscus moscheutos (common rose mallow or swamp rose mallow) or a Hibiscus trionum (Flower-of-an-hour).  The rose mallows  are woody-based perennials hardy in zone 5-10.  The Flower-of-an-hour are short-lived perennials that are hardy in zone 10-11.

This plant identification was brought to you by Flower Shop Network.

Need Help Pruning A Cock-eyed Hibiscus



Ask the Expert: cock-eyed hibiscus
I asked a question last year and you answered it so well that I thought I’d bring you another!

My Grandma gave me what looked like two twigs stuck in a pot a year ago. Now that I’ve learned it’s a hibiscus (this is a hibiscus, right!?), I’ve also learned what an indoor hibiscus should look like. Here are some attached pictures – it seems as though the whole hibiscus was pruned back to a few inches above the soil a couple of years ago. You can see that two large branches have shot off maybe 30 inches at angles, and more branches are coming out of the other stumps rather suddenly with the spring weather. I’ve been reading up on proper hibiscus pruning and I understand the concept, but my Hibiscus is such an odd duck that I don’t know where to start. How do I get this thing to straighten up when it doesn’t seem to have a real “trunk” anymore?

thanks for your time!



Happy To help as always.

I am having trouble loading the pictures you sent.  But, I think I can answer your question without them.  The main plant is a hibiscus.  It looks as if a few of the other leaves close to outer edge of the pot are something else.

As for the hibiscus, I would try to bring it a more bushy shape.  To do this you will need to cut off a large portion of each stalk.  Make your cut right above the set of leaves closest to the bottom of the plant.  By doing this you will encourage the plant to produce lateral growth instead of  height.  Do this only on the two long woody stalks.  On the small green stalk coming from the based of the plant, pinch the very top leaves from the stalk.  Again this will encourage growth in thickness before height.   The more you pinch or trim the hibiscus the fuller the plant will be.  We do this with hibiscus at our nursery all the time.  You can manipulate the plant to look any way you want depending on how you prune it.

Keep me posted and let me know if you have any other questions.