Q: I brought in my potted hibiscus for the winter with tons of buds on it. It is still blooming, but leaves are yellowing and dropping like crazy, and making me crazy! Is now the time for me to just cut it back? Is that the right thing to do?

ó Ann Gelvin, Stow

A: Itís normal for a tropical hibiscus to drop its leaves this time of year. Itís preparing to produce new growth. Chicago Botanic Garden recommends waiting till spring to cut back your hibiscus, but itís OK to prune the plant now if itís too big for the spot in your house where you want to keep it over winter, according to Hidden Valley Hibiscus, a hibiscus grower in Hemet, Calif. Hibiscus can be cut back as much as 50 percent, but be sure to leave some new growth and several older leaves on the plant, the company says on its website. You can read its other tips for overwintering tropical hibiscus in cold climates at www.hiddenvalleyhibiscus.com/care/winter.htm. Chicago Botanic Gardenís recommendations are at www.chicagobotanic.org/plantinfo/faq/overwintering_hibiscus.

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