Trimming houseplants

I brought all my houseplants inside for the winter (zone 5) and they are huge. Can I trim them back because I don't have the room to keep them all?
Thanks Lori
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Depends on what kind they are.
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4ax.com:

What sort of houseplants?
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I have forthysia, hybiscus, & datura.
On Mon, 15 Oct 2007 20:20:54 +0000 (UTC), FragileWarrior

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forthysia isn't a houseplant. it needs cold to bloom. what type of hybiscus? tropical or hardy? do you know it's Latin name? i'm not going to comment on datua. i have cats & a kid. datura ingestion is rapidly fatal. lee
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Well I guess I will leave the datura outside for the winter and hope for some seedlings in the spring. The forsthysia is a perennial which I am trying to keep living over the winter. I'm in zone 5. The hybiscus is a tropical plant. Thanks.
Lori
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The hybiscus (like many plants) will probably go through a period of adjustment indoors, during which it'll complain, drop leaves, and generally look awful. If it was healthy outdoors, it'll survive the winter indoors, but don't try and force it into perfect health. It won't work. Back off on the water, and don't fertilize at all until it goes outdoors again in the spring and shows new growth. With less leaf surface, the plant can't process as much water anyway.
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no, put the forsythia outside, in the ground (if just in a pot it will freeze & die). forsythia do just fine in zone 5. the datura is semi-tropical (zone 8 i think). it will not survive outside over winter. i was just saying i won't grow them as i consider them too poisonous for the limited beauty of the flowers, but that's just my opinion. the hibiscus should be fine, although it's quite likely to drop leaves when you bring it indoors. if it's too big, you can prune it. i wouldn't remove more than a third of it though. in my experience, tropical hibiscus can be pretty tough. i had one growing in my (old world) chamelion cage. it was a 50 gallon fish tank with a maximum of 3" of soil on the bottom. the hibiscus grew & thrived for over 10 years in there, blooming every winter (well, it got buds. mostly Pooh ate the buds before they opened, but every so often one would make a huge red flower). i had to prune it to keep it fitting in the tank, & it was under artificial lighting, but it lasted until Pooh died. i killed it trying to get it into a regular pot... the datura & hibiscus will do lots better if you can get them grow lights, or just a 2 bulb florescent fixture with one warm white & one cool white bulbs. give them about 12 hours of light. lee
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Right - Hibiscus is tough. A friend of mine was put here on earth to murder plants, but no matter what she did to her hibiscus, she couldn't kill it. How about 3 weeks in the hot sun with no water? Sure - why not. Then, 6 months in front of a heat vent with little or no water. In spring, she put it outside, trimmed it right to the soil, and a month later, the plant was rockin' and rollin'. Amazing.
I'm not so sure the artificial light is worthwhile, though. You can't come close to duplicating sunlight without several thousand watts worth of bulbs.
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i dunno. my hibiscus was under 150 watt UVB lights... i have a few dozen cactii & amaryllis indoors now under my grow lights. even the weird things like the pomegranite don't lose leaves here when i bring them in, because they go under the lights. i have stupid windows (triple pane uv resistant, gas filled, blah), so i don't get any usable light from outside anymore. those damn windows completely eliminated the heat gain i was getting from the sun in winter. save fuel? heh :p the furnace runs more & i have to give the plants supplemental lighting. i want a big metal halide lamp in my dining room :) lee
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It is only hardy above the ground to zone 8, however, in my garden some years they will resprout from the roots in the spring. You can tell the difference from a seedling by the multiple shoots that'll come up from the ground from overwintered roots vs. one shoot from a seedling. The multiple shoots will usually bloom before a seedling.
As for poisonousness, it's true, but so are tomatoes. Not to chastise, but to the rest - watch your children in the garden. Teach them to not put anything in their mouths without parental permission. There are many more plants out there than daturas and tomatoes that are poisonous.
--
Ann, gardening in Zone 6a
South of Boston, Massachusetts
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OMG!!!! How dumb can I be? It's not forthysia. It's fuchsia...... But speaking of forthysia...I do have one but it never blooms much. I may get the odd single bloom here and there but that's it.
Lori
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ok, that makes lots more sense. do you have good light & a way to make the air inside reasonably humid (at least 50%)? i've kept fuchsias over winter but they didn't do much the following years. lee
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Do you trim the forsythia bush(es)? We had a row of them in Colorado and I was told that the flowers bloom on last season's growth. If you trim them late in the summer or in the fall, then there won't be blooms next spring. If you are going to trim them, you should do it right after one season's bloom drop off.
Having said that, there appear to be other factors too, since my forsythias did not bloom as well as others in the same town.
Jerry
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I suggest you bring some seed pods inside and let them dry completely before storing them in a dry paper bag. That's for the datura. If you don't, remind me in the spring and I will send you a plant or seeds.
Forsythia is cold hardy in your zone. If the hibiscus has shiney foliage it is tropical and will not really do well in the house. They are very prone to white fly indoors. I don't know where the white fly comes from, but they do.

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i had no problems with my tropical hybiscus for 10 years. no white fly, no aphids, nothing. it grew like crazy & i had to prune it severely at least twice a year to keep it contained. however, my hybiscus was growing in a high humidity tropical set up with my Hooded Chamelion. i was specificly aiming for a particular temperature & humidity range suitable for Pooh. it also seemed to be exactly what the hybiscus enjoyed too, which was a bonus (nothing like seeing those huge red blooms when you wake up in January). then again, i've never had a problem with white flies ever & i move plants in & out every year... i do wash them off when i bring them in, but i don't repot unless they need it, or fumigate the soil or use pesticides. lee
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If they are woody plants here are some suggestions on pruning.
Tree Pruning http://www.treedictionary.com/DICT2003/tree_pruning
--
Sincerely,
John A. Keslick, Jr.
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