Answer: "Rubis" is a named variety of Hibiscus syriacus, the hardy shrub. If left unpruned, these will naturally develop into a tree-like form. Over time, you could accentuate the shaping by gradually removing some of the lower branches. Sometimes, however, pruning is unavoidable if there is extensive winter damage. To minimize the chances of winter damage, plant them in a full sun location with well drained soil and with protection from sweeping winter winds and do not overfertilize. I would not recommend braiding the trunks. I believe this is more commonly seen with the tropical hibiscus, H. rosa-sinensis.
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