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Pruning a Hibiscus

Question:

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?
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Hardiness Zone: 9a

Thank you,
Lorraine from Zolfo Springs, FL

Answer:

Lorraine,

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.

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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.

Ellen

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