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How to Prune Your Hibiscus (And Why You Should)

How to Prune Your Hibiscus (And Why You Should)

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There are some plants in this world that require next to no maintenance, aside from the occasional watering or adjustment for sunlight, such as cacti and succulents. On the other hand, there are plants that are as sensitive and needy as the fiddle leaf fig plant, which can begin dropping leaves if there is even so much as a draft in its direction.

Of course, there are plenty of plants that fall in between both sides of this spectrum of care, but finding the one that is best for you is going to be a challenge.

There are some plants that will produce fruits and vegetables, while there are other plants that will offer gorgeous blossoms for you to look at during the blooming season.

No matter which plant you choose, if you want to make the most out of the plant, you are going to need to make sure that you know what you need to do to care for it. For some plants, this may mean that you have to take some extra steps that you may not have prepared for.

A good example of this is going to be the hibiscus plant. When most people think of beautiful tropical flowers, they do not think of a plant that needs regular pruning.

However, if you want to get as many blossoms as possible out of your hibiscus plant, you are going to want to prune it regularly. The question then becomes a matter of how you prune the plant, and what pruning method you should use, right?

While it is certainly important for you to know how to prune your plant, you will also want to have a good understanding as to why you should as well.

When you understand why you are doing something, you may be able to steer your efforts in a direction that will be more beneficial to the plant, especially if you aren’t entirely sure how to get the job done.

This means that, first things first, you are going to have to understand why pruning plays such a big role in the development and appearance of the hibiscus plant.

Why Prune the Hibiscus?


Pruning the hibiscus is a vital part of making sure that you get as many blooms as possible out of it. This is because hibiscus plants are considered to grow with terminal flowers. To put it simply, this means that the flowers of the hibiscus plant grow at the end of each branch.

When you cut the dead flower off the branch, or cut a bit of the branch off, this will send a signal to the plant that the flower isn’t finished blooming yet and that there still needs to be a flower on the end of that branch, even if there used to be a flower there.

With this method, you will be able to keep the flowers blooming for the entirety of the blooming period as you keep pruning the hibiscus and cutting away the old and wilted flowers.

With that being said there are some situations where you may find yourself pruning a sick or unhealthy hibiscus plant simply to cut away the “unhealthy” branches so that the sickness doesn’t spread to the roots of the plant and so that new, healthier branches can grow in place of the older ones.

This is going to be the less common reason why people prune their hibiscus plants, but it is still a reason that you will want to consider. After all, once you prune a certain area away, it makes sense to shape the rest of the tree to match.

Typically, you will line up your pruning times with when the plant naturally grows and blooms. The exact times of this will depend on the location and specific type of hibiscus plant you are working with, but you can expect the range of these times to fall between the early spring and the middle of autumn.

Most of the largest pruning sessions will be done in the early spring, with the more minor pruning being done later on in the year.

You should never prune your hibiscus in the late fall or in the winter, as these are the exact opposite times that your hibiscus will grow and it will end up causing more damage to the plant.

What Should You Prune?

Hibiscus Flowers By A White Picket Fence And Birdhouse

Now that you know a little bit more about pruning hibiscus plants, you will be able to move on to understanding the best ways to get the pruning job done. There are several different types of pruning jobs that you can do, with each pruning job corresponding to a specific purpose.

With enough time and practice, you will learn the best times to prune your hibiscus too.

There is “pinching,” which is a form of pruning only the topmost branches of your hibiscus plant so that the bush will have a fuller appearance, rather than tapering off at the top.

Here, you will usually prune about a quarter inch to a full inch of the green growth, and you will commonly do this on the younger plants, such as during the plant’s first summer.

There is selective pruning, which will be pruning only specific branches and stems. With this type of pruning, you should prune no more than one third of all the branches of the plant, as this is the best compromise between distributing the developing branches and letting the undeveloped branches produce new blossoms.

This is one of the most common forms of pruning on hibiscus plants.

Next will be the full prune. Compared to selective pruning, you will cut back all of the branches of the hibiscus plant down to only having two or three nodes per branch.

While you will have to wait a bit longer for the next flowers to form, it will often end up producing bigger, brighter, and more blooms on the hibiscus plant.

Hibiscus Not Blooming

Another form of pruning is known as the “hard prune” and is sometimes called rejuvenating the plant. This form of pruning is often reserved for the older plants that you own, as you are going to be cutting off the dead wood and any scraggly growths on the plant.

You will not be pruning anything that is lower than one foot above the soil, and you should not prune much more lengthwise than you would with your standard pruning procedure.

This is a drastic form of pruning and is sometimes considered a last resort for stubborn plants that won’t bloom.

Finally, there is corrective pruning. This form of pruning focuses on getting rid of unsightly or damaged branches.

This can be branches that are damaged by cold weather, branches that stick out from the rest of the bush, and any branch that has a sickly appearance. The goal of this type of pruning is to keep your plant healthy and happy.

With all of these different types of pruning that you can focus on, you can rest assured knowing that no matter what situation your plant runs into, you will have the knowledge and expertise necessary to prune the plant down into a healthier condition, and that when blooming season arrives, you will be able to create a gorgeous and healthy hibiscus plant.

These are just some of the benefits of pruning your hibiscus plant on a regular basis.

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