Tips For Pruning Hibiscus Plants & When To Prune Hibiscus

Red Hibiscus Plant
(Image credit: nattul)

Hibiscus plants thrive on attention. Pruning hibiscus is a great way to give these plants just what they need. Pruning helps stimulate budding on new shoots. It also rejuvenates the plants after their long winter nap while encouraging them to maintain an attractive appearance and healthy, vigorous growth. Let's look at when to prune hibiscus and the best techniques when pruning hibiscus plants.

When to Prune Hibiscus

When to prune hibiscus usually depends on where you live. However, most hibiscus pruning occurs during spring. For the most part, hibiscus plants can be lightly pruned in late summer or early fall, but no hibiscus pruning should be done during late fall or winter. One of the downsides to waiting later in the season to prune is that plants may not develop as many branches and they will put out fewer blooms. Therefore, it is oftentimes better to prune dead or weak growth entirely after the plants beginning sprouting in spring. In fact, spring should be the only time for complete cutting back. Pruning hibiscus plants entirely helps rejuvenate them for summer blooming. Branch tips can be pinched, or tip pruned, throughout the season, however, to encourage bushier growth.

Hibiscus Pruning How To

Before pruning hibiscus, make sure your pruning shears are sharp and clean, preferably sterilized with alcohol gel, to prevent the spreading of any disease from affected branches. When pruning hibiscus plants, they should be cut about a third of the way back, leaving at least two to three nodes on the branches for new growth to emerge. These cuts should be made just above the nodes, leaving about a quarter-inch (0.5 cm.). Remove any weak, diseased, or dead growth, as well as crossing or leggy branches. Branches that are growing toward the center of the plant should also be removed. Once temperatures have sufficiently warmed towards the end of spring, you can help give blooms an extra boost by increasing the amount of fertilizer.

Nikki Tilley
Senior Editor

Nikki Tilley has been gardening for nearly three decades. The former Senior Editor and Archivist of Gardening Know How, Nikki has also authored six gardening books.