Can you trim a hibiscus plant?If so,what time of the year?Thanks.

Asked April 5, 2014, 12:31 PM EDT

Can you trim a hibiscus plant?If so,what time of the year?Thanks.

McLeod County Minnesota

1 Response

I'm not sure if the plant you are referring to is a Tropical or a Hardy (perennial) hibiscus. In any case some of the basic rules apply to either plant - just the time of year is slightly different. In either case, these plants only bloom on new wood so pruning is important for both.

If you have a tropical variety - one that you have taken in to your house over the winter - you can prune this plant just about any time of year but early spring may be the best time to ensure good flowering. If your plant has become leggy (a common situation with potted hibiscus) you can cut this plant back pretty hard. It will send out new branches that will flower all year.

The hardy hibiscus should be cut back to about a foot from the ground after a hard frost. If you have missed that deadline, simply watch for new growth this spring and cut the existing canes back to no more that one foot. The plant should send up new shoots that will create the flowering branches for this year.

Hibiscus is one of the few plants that is very forgiving of amateur pruning. If you know what shape you want the "bush" to look like, simply make your pruning cuts just above an outward facing bud.

Here are a couple of links that will give you some good guidelines about proper pruning cuts for all sorts of woody plants.

I hope this information is helpful. Please contact AaE again if you have further questions.