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Bonny North

Help! It’s My Hibiscus!

I had my first Hibiscus this summer.  It was on clearance in the produce section of Shop Rite because all the leaves had either turned completely yellow or were about to.  I brought it home, re-potted it, and placed it next to our back door.  My husband was annoyed that I spent $8.99 on a dead tree.

The tree responded to my kindness immediately, producing bunches of shiny new leaves and big, salmon-colored flowers.  Actually, “salmon” doesn’t do justice to its flowers, which are the color of a bad bridesmaid’s dress circa 1972.  Not that I’m complaining; in the middle of this gray and rainy fall, those flowers just keep coming.  Even my husband’s getting a kick out of our little tree’s staying power.

The temperature’s been plummeting at night, so I Googled “Hibiscus” to find out if our long northern New Jersey winters will kill it off.  If what I read is true, tropical varieties like mine must be brought inside before the first hard frost.  I’m supposed to trim all the branches back to about four inches from the trunk and then place it in front of a very sunny window.  The article I read warned that all the leaves will drop, not to be replaced until April.  And that it’s likely the tree will never bloom again.

All you wise gardeners out there:  has experience taught you that my Google info is correct?  And if you’re that smart, could you please come over and help me find just the right spot in our down-sizer’s bungalow for a soon-to-be-bare, five-foot tree with stubby branches?




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