Tropical Hibiscus in Minnesota

The Hinikers' greenhouse in Monticello, Minn.

Inside the greenhouse are the tropicals.

During Minnesota's mild seasons, the potted hibiscus are outside, sunk in the ground, pots and all. Easier to move inside when winter approaches.

The Hinikers also grow hardy hibiscus. Here's Southern Belle.

The greenhouse is heated electrically with LP gas as a back-up when the power company's load peaks. Light comes in thru double paned polycarbonate panels.

Here are some of Lou Hiniker's recommendations:

"Our Minnesota climate forces me to bring in my plants sometime in September. When the weather guesser says 'chance of frost in the suburbs,' in they come. I try to fertilize them just before bringing them in and until the end of October. They do some of their best blooming during this time. I've never seen any plant damage or bud drop when the night temperatures are below 50 degrees, the only thing that concerns me is frost.

I don't fertilize during November, December or January. November and December here are generally overcast and January's days are too short. When regrowth starts in late February, I try to get back to weak (1/2 strength) feeding if I can get to the plants in a way-too-crowded greenhouse. Regular feeding starts again in April.

The grey days of November and December result in leaf and bud drop and some plants develop into 'winter pompoms.' I hope to solve this with high intensity sodium lights. If I can keep the plants actively growing, the fertilizing routine might have to change. Even without the lights I generally have a few plants in bloom at all times.

I keep the greenhouse temperature at a temperature that is comfortable for me--about 68 degrees. The sun warms it during the day and it cools to about 65 at night. I have an 'attic fan' mounted upright in the back wall of the greenhouse which thermostatically exhausts any excessively hot air."


How to grow tropical hibiscus Up north

Next page


Back to: Hibiscus Home Page