The Q&A Archives: Trimming A Hibiscus

Question: My hibiscus is currently inside. It has grown a bit and has lost its nice round shape. Can I trim it now or will I lose its potential flowsers? Also, when is it safe to put outside?

Answer: Hibiscus are tropicals and can not withstand cold, so wait until nights are reliably in the 50's before you leave it outside overnight. As soon as you can, when the days are warm, begin acclimating it to being outside over a gradual time, beginning with morning sun and lengthening the sun exposure each day.

These plants are naturally very ungainly and are usually treated with growth retardant at the nursery to keep them shapely longer. The plant blooms on older branches, so trimming will reduce blooming for a few months. Some gardeners will trim the whole thing back hard in early spring and see a flush of blooms in mid summer. Other gardeners will trim a branch here and there year round, thus allowing the plant to keep blooming year round. The latter method works well if you have a very bright spot to keep the plant in during the winter. It is a matter of personal preference.

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