Pruning Hibiscus - Knowledgebase Question

Brockton, MA
Question by yvetp
March 5, 1999
I have a Hibiscus tree and 2 shrubs. I don't know the specific varieties but do know they are perrenials. One is about 5' tall and blooms red and the other is a 2' shrub that blooms peach and the last is a shrub that blooms peach but the flowers are not the typical "puffy" blooms like the other two. I am in zone 6 and would like to know if I need to prune them, when and how much if I should. They have all had a flower or two bloom during this winter and have a lot of new growth.

Answer from NGA
March 5, 1999


Your plants sound lovely! The tropical hibiscus are normally quite large and gangly plants. At the grower's they are often treated with growth retardent to keep them compact, as this wears off after a year or so the plants will grow more than in the past. Some gardeners trim off unwieldy branches one at a time during the year so as not to interrupt the blooming cycle, other gardeners cut them back hard in fall or early spring to stimulate branching and control the size. If you do that, then it would also be the time to refresh the soil, repot them into larger pots or to possibly root prune in proportion and replant into the same pots.

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