Cutting Back a Chinese Hibiscus

Q: I have a Chinese Hibiscus, I have been bringing in the house for the winter, but it has gotton so tall. Is it alright to cut back some so it can fit in house? i hate to cut it, it's so pretty. i need to know if it would hurt it by cutting it down.


A: Annette,

Your Chinese Hibiscus will benefit from annual pruning in the same way other hibiscus cultivars do. Chinese Hibiscus bloom on new growth, so blooming is delayed and reduced if the plants are pruned severely during the active growing season. You can, however, perform maintenance pruning to manage its size and shape without affecting next year's appearance. Cut only the longest 1/3 of the branches at any one time. Wait at least 30 days and cut the next longest 1/3 and so on. This light pruning will eliminate the need for heavy pruning. Do this pruning after the plant starts to cycle down for winter or early in the spring (February/March) before vigorous growth starts again.

When pruning, keep in mind the overall shape of the plant and the direction you want the new growth to occur. Choose leaf nodes (eyes) that are pointing in an outward direction and leave 1/2 inch of wood above each leaf node when making cuts.

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