The Q&A Archives: Hibiscus transplant when and how

Question: I would like to know how to divide my hibiscus and the right time of year to transplant them, and when to cut them back. Some of the stalks are so big they fall over and you can't tie them up without breaking them so I feel like they might need to be divided, the blooms and plants are huge this year cause I have been watering them alot since we have not had more than 3

Answer: The best time for pruning hibiscus is August-October, but some practice spring pruning with good results. Pruning is carried out not only to get a more harmonious plant but also to stimulate budding as hibiscus flower on new shoots. To create a good looking plant, try to establish 3-4 main branches. These should be sturdy and upright. Cut back 1/3 of the main branches and completely remove weak growth or sideways growing branches.

You can dig and divide your hibiscus in early spring, just as new growth begins. Simply dig the entire plant up and slice the rootmass into several sections, then replant. Or, you can begin a process called layering that will leave your original plants intact, yet provide you with new plants. Here's how: take a stem or branch that you can bend down to lay on the ground. When you find a good candidate, use a sharp knife or razor blade to cut about a third of the way through the stem or branch. Hold the wound open with a piece of toothpick or tiny stone. Set the wounded part of the branch down on the soil and cover that part of the branch with more soil. You may have to anchor the branch down with rocks to make sure the wounded part of the branch remains in close contact with the soil. Keep the plant watered as usual, making sure you wet the soil where the branch is laying on the ground. In a few months (certainly by next spring!) the wounded area will have developed roots and you can safely cut it from the parent plant and pot it up, or plant it elsewhere in your garden.

Best wishes with your hibiscus!

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