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Pruning a Hibiscus


What is the best time of year to trim a hibiscus in AZ? How do you do it?

Hardiness Zone: 9a

By Sandie from Apache Junction, AZ


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Archive: Pruning a Hibiscus

Q: We have a large Hibiscus growing in the front garden. We want to trim
it back now that the blooms have stopped, and eventually move it to
another location, possibly splitting the root pack. When can we trim
the stems back and how far can we cut? When is the best season to
transplant to another location in the garden?


Hardiness Zone: 7a

Richard McCormick from Bristow, VA

A: Richard,

Early fall is the best time to minimize transplant shock. This is when the plant starts to cycle down for the winter and the focus is diverted to root growth. Moisten the soil first so you can dig the plant with as much soil attached to the root system as possible. Wrap the roots in burlap or plastic as you move the plant. Since you mentioned you're already growing your plant outdoors, I'm assuming you are growing a hardy variety, as tropical varieties would need to be brought indoors in your zone.
In regards to pruning: Cut the longest 1/3 of the total number of branches back by 1/3 in length. 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. 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 1/4 inch of wood above each leaf node when making cuts.

Ellen Brown

Archive: Pruning a Hibiscus


I have a hibiscus tree, or a rose of sharon. When is the best time to cut it back? It got infested with aphids and the leaves are not pretty. It has a little new growth on the tips. Should I just leave it alone?

Hardiness Zone: 9a

Thank you,
Lorraine from Zolfo Springs, FL



Because it sounds like you're planning on doing some heavy pruning, you're better off waiting until February or March. Since hibiscus blooms on new growth, any pruning during the active growing season will reduce or delay blooming. Light pruning done over the course of several months might be a better solution. You can maintain their size and shape by removing only the longest one third of the branches at one time. A month later cut the next longest third and the remaining third of the branches a month after that. Of course maintenance pruning (removing dead or diseased wood and weak or crossed branches) can be done at any time. If you want fewer, but larger flowers, you'll get them with frequent, severe pruning. Lighter, less frequent pruning (or no pruning at all) will give you smaller flowers, but more of them.

Frequently spraying the leaves with a strong jet of water from the garden hose is a great way to control aphids without using chemicals. Spray you hibiscus off once or twice a week and make sure you get the undersides of the leaves.


Archive: Pruning a Hibiscus

I have had a Hibiscus tree for about 3 years now and it is still hardy. I bring it in in the winter.

Archive: Pruning a Hibiscus

When can you prune a hibiscus plant? It is outside in a bed facing south. We live in the Houston area.

Hardiness Zone: 9a

Jan from Houston, TX


RE: Pruning a Hibiscus

I've always pruned my hibiscus in late January or February. I also live in Houston. Mine are potted patio plants. A friend of mine had one in the ground and it got completely out of hand leaning and spreading till it took over too much space. She took the attitude "If it dies it will just be dead" and pruned that rascal back to about 8 inches. That turned out to be a very good thing. It was beautiful the following year and shaped nicely. (12/26/2008)

RE: Pruning a Hibiscus

I would do it while the plant is dormant, but check with a local nursery to check conditions in your area. (12/27/2008)

By Allison

Archive: Pruning a Hibiscus

How can I keep my hibiscus pruned to a certain height throughout the summer, but still have flowers blooming constantly? Last year when I cut them back, I didn't get the flowers.

Hardiness Zone: 9a

By Brenda from Phoenix, AZ

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