How you winterize your hibiscus plants will vary depending on the type of hibiscus you have. There are two different kinds, tropical hibiscus and hardy hibiscus. Hardy hibiscus will be the type that you leave in the soil during the winter time, as they are more adapt at dealing with the harsh temperatures. With hardy hibiscus, you will remove any of the dead and wilted foliage. You will then cut the rest of the plant down to the soil. Covering the remainder of the plant with mulch will help to conserve the heat in the ground, keeping it from getting too cold. Use straw or shredded bark and keep the layer thin. You can remove once the temperatures stay consistently 45 degrees in the spring.
Tropical hibiscus will grow in containers and will need to be brought in when temperatures begin to decline to below 45 degrees at night. You will want to remove all of the dead and wilting foliage before trimming the main stem. When trimming the main stem, only allow it to remain 5 inches high. While still outside, after pruning, spray the remaining parts of the plant with a hose to remove any insects that may be living within its foliage. After the plant has completely dried you can bring it indoors. The plant will need to remain in a cool place, such as a basement, with artificial light. A fluorescent light will do the trick and should be hung 5 feet over the plants. It may seem excessive, but the plant will require 16 hours of light each day. Without it, you run the risk of losing the plant entirely. If you notice that the plant is beginning to turn yellow after you brought it inside, this is normal and is part of the plant's dormancy period.