Pruning - Knowledgebase Question

Flushing, NY
Avatar for m1sterh
Question by m1sterh
January 29, 2002
I live in NYC. Have a Hybiscus plant,about 5 1/2 feet tall stem 3 feet many branches come out of it. I keep it in a big pot.When and how much of the branches can I prune. I'd like to keep the plant from becoming to huge.

Answer from NGA
January 29, 2002
Tropical hibiscus are generally large plants in their natural state. Many of them are treated with growth retardants to limit their size and yet allow them to bloom at a smaller size. After a year or so the treatment wears off and they can become a bit gangly. You have a choice about pruning. You could cut it back severely in the early spring and then wait for it to recover and begin blooming again. This will limit the size but it will also delay blooming. You could prune it back selectively, thus maintaining a steady rotation of newer and older growth. This avoids that growing back phase and keeps the plant blooming potentially year round. It does not however keep it as small. Many gardeners use a combination of the two methods, perhaps cutting it back hard on alternate years. An occasional pinching will help to keep it a bit more compact as well.

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