Hibiscus is not just a single flowering plant, but a family of them. Also known as China Rose, it is a genus of flowering plants in the Mallow Family. Pruning a Hibiscus is a natural way to maintain its growth, and keep it healthy. In fact, this genus comprises over 100 varieties of species, but pruning them is very much the same.

Hard Prune Hibiscus

This is one of the most extreme ways to keep the plant from getting out of shape. It is also less time consuming because you don’t have to keep track of nitty-gritty details whether it is a leggy branch or something else, it can consume so much effort.

  • A hard prune comes to rescue here and involves cutting down all the branches without hesitation.
  • It will expose the plant with bare essentials to living growth tissues only. A hard prune hibiscus will look completely black and has to start growing all over again.
  • Usually, this involves cutting the perennial hibiscus completely in late winter, leaving about 6 inches of stem only.

When should Hibiscus be Pruned?

Even though the Hibiscus is a perennial plant, pruning it in the wrong season can dormant its growth and can eliminate it as well. Therefore, several experts believe that early spring or late winter should be the only time for cutting the hibiscus completely, that is, hard pruning it. Because hibiscus is a family of flowers, there are several varieties and they have certain different characteristics as well. These factors can also affect the time of pruning.

  • The best time, although, always depends on the local climate and the season. In some areas, there is no autumn while some areas have 9 months of rain. Such geographical diversity should also play an important role.
  • Though some varieties thrive in the temperate climate and summery seasons, others will do well only in pots.
  • Some like indoors and cool temperatures, and will shrink and become leggy in the sun. These are pretty much indoor hibiscus flowers.
  • In all such cases, following a general rule that ‘pruning when the temperatures are increasing’ is advisable. Following this rule of thumb is great for all varieties, despite subtle differences.
  • This means avoiding times when it is the start of autumn or the beginning of winter, as temperatures begin to decline during these seasons.

Should I Cut Back My Potted Hibiscus?

Pruning a hibiscus plant annually is a general recommendation. All gardeners and those involved in horticulture, do this as a regular routine especially, if you have a potted plant with a tropical hibiscus. If you have a variety with an evergreen plant that stays indoors during the winter to keep it warm and healthy, it will turn leggy and will require very frequent pruning, that too severely. So, whether you should cut back your potted plant, entirely depends on factors like time of the year, conditions like temperature, and so on.

  • If it is a tropical hibiscus, it will produce new branches and nodes after a trim, and these will continue to blossom all the year-round. They are perennial by nature and do not require much attention.
  • Caring a potted hibiscus is not that difficult. You can bring it indoors and prune it by up to 50%. This makes it the size that is manageable in an indoor setting.
  • Also, take care to douse foliage and the container with a vigorous spray of water from the hose to remove any pests and bugs that can start infecting the plant. It should also remove any dirt from the plant. Especially, the warm climate attracts these bugs even more.
  • If you want to prune and cut all the way back to the stem, you can also administer this with a potted plant, but take care to leave branches and nodes to help it grow back again. It will take more time to see the results and know if the plant is still alive.

How do You Keep Hibiscus from Getting Leggy?

A stringy and swaying down hibiscus plant can deter the growth of its branches and flowers. It is not possible to push it back to under control, without some pruning or cutting down its damaged areas such as deceased leaves, twigs, and so on. Some even consider heavy pruning where the entire structure is cut down allowing the hibiscus to start growing all over again from its stem.

  • But, to avoid the plant from getting leggy, hard pruning is not necessary. A regular light trimming is more than sufficient.
  • Hibiscus plants can tolerate and even benefit from a heavy pruning, but light trimming can also bring it back from a leggy posture. But, if the plant looks way more damaged, it is best to completely prune it to the stem.
  • First, you must cut and remove all the leggy limbs, bring back the plant to the desired shape, and then remove the deceased or damaged wood, leaves, twigs at this time. This is like a finishing touch to the plant now. Removing crossing and leggy branches is the last step to keep it in shape.
  • This will stop the hibiscus plant from growing very tall, which is a natural thing because it is not a shrub or herb. This will also avoid it from getting entwined or spindly where it turns and makes curves growing out of control.

How do You Shape a Hibiscus?

To maintain your hibiscus plant in shape, you have to work with it on a constant basis. Not all plants will grow in the same manner, and this will need more care. For a hibiscus that does not have ample space and sunlight, it can start growing slantingly, stunted growth in one direction, or start falling off and become leggy too often. Thus, shaping a hibiscus needs effort, space, good conditions like temperature and sunlight.

  • Hibiscus is a plant that can tolerate any amount of pruning, too heavy, and severe as well. If you leave just six inches of its stem with nodes and branches, it can grow all over again. So, this way, the plant is perennial and pretty much hassle-free.
  • Many people like to shape their hibiscus such as keeping it in proper height, bushy, not too thin or too thick, and so on. Shaping it aesthetically in desired shapes like a sphere or a nice oval all around is a hobby with many. This adds a beauty factor alongside keeping the plant healthy.
  • When shaping a hibiscus, they should be cut about halfway to one-third of the way back. That is, leaving two-thirds intact. This should leave at least two to three nodes on the branches and allow new growth to emerge from them.
  • Remember that the cuts must always be made just above the nodes, leaving about a quarter of an inch. Then remove any excess of the weak, deceased, or diseased branches, Remove any crossing or leggy twigs that come in the way, and shape it in the desired manner.

How to Thin Out Hibiscus?

Thinning out a hibiscus means to cut it down to a manageable shape, height, and size. It also means to remove the oldest of the branches to keep the plant thin and slender. As the hibiscus grows it develops many quite long and hardy branches. Some are almost deceased or even weak and dry. Some are dormant and are left without fresh nodes or flowers.

  • To thin out such hibiscus plants, usually outdoors, remove one-third of the longest, and oldest of the hard dry branches. From the tropical hibiscus, removing dormant branches does not affect its growth.
  • If a hardy hibiscus has not died back, taking canes out at the base or where the main branch joins is a great idea. Some of them die back on their own and will fall out if you just put it or give it a single cut. The main thing is to take care of those that are not.
  • Then, you have to distribute the cuts throughout the plant, to both thin it and encourage the growth of new flowering stems and branches. This is a process that one has to repeat at regular intervals. But, you can also do it annually, and save a lot of time.
  • Thinning a hibiscus makes it look fresh, like new. It has thinner and slender, more manageable branches all over. It looks bright and upright as well.


  • Pruning a tropical hibiscus is a hassle-free way to maintain its shape and health.
  • Usually, all varieties of hibiscus need pruning or cutting when the temperatures are on the rise, such as by the end of winter or early spring.
  • There are more than 100 varieties of hibiscus with indoor, outdoor, perennial, and many more species.

When should hibiscus be pruned?

For the most part, hibiscus plants can be lightly pruned in late summer or early fall, but no hibiscus pruning should be done during late fall or winter. One of the downsides to waiting later in the season to prune is that plants may not develop as many branches and they will put out fewer blooms.

How do you keep hibiscus from getting leggy?

Cut Back Stringy and Leggy Limbs

Cut back all the stringy limbs during the first pruning. Hibiscus plants tolerate and even benefit from a heavy pruning, and this is the only way to bring a leggy bush back under control. Cut back or remove all of the leggy limbs to bring the plant back into the desired shape.

How do you shape a hibiscus?

Are coffee grounds good for hibiscus?

While this might seem like an unlikely item to use as fertilizer, coffee grounds actually provide nitrogen and potassium to the hibiscus plant. Simply dry the used grounds on a newspaper in sunlight for two or three days then sprinkle it over the soil from the trunk continuing outward to where the branches end.

Are banana peels good for hibiscus?

Hibiscus (Hibiscus spp.) thrive when grown in potassium-rich soil, and banana peels are high in potassium. It is true that as a source of organic nutrients such as potassium and nitrogen, banana peels are perfectly suitable to use as soil additives in gardens and compost mixes.

Do you cut back perennial hibiscus?

With a Perennial Hibiscus, keep the flowers deadheaded and trim out damaged leaves and branches and old-growth lightly throughout their active growing season. Cut back one third or less of the plants’ new growth overall to encourage more branching and more blooming.

Why is my new hibiscus leaves turning yellow?

Key Takeaways: The reason hibiscus leaves turn yellow is because of drought stress, over watering, too much nitrogen or too much phosphorous in the soil. Sudden temperature change can cause hibiscus leaves to turn yellow as can a lack of direct sun.

Why are the leaves on my hibiscus plant turning yellow?

Too much water or not enough can result in hibiscus leaves turning yellow. While hibiscus plants require lots of water, especially during periods of excessive heat or windy conditions, overwatering can be detrimental. Inadequate drainage can also affect the hibiscus and yellow leaves often result.

Is Miracle Grow good for hibiscus?

Beginning a month after planting, feed hibiscus regularly with MiracleGro® Water Soluble Bloom Booster® Flower Food, which was specially developed to encourage lots of colorful blooms. Using the MiracleGro® Garden Feeder makes feeding super-easy, but you can also mix the food in a watering can instead if you prefer.

Should you remove yellow leaves from hibiscus?

There is no saving the yellow leaves that WILL fall off but the good news is that hibiscus will quickly grow back new green leaves when the stress is removed.

Is vinegar good for hibiscus plants?

Vinegar Solutions

Dilute a cup of vinegar in a gallon of water and pour the whole solution onto the roots of the plant. The solution, which settles around the roots, unlocks vital nutrients in the soil, feeding hibiscus plants.

Is Epsom salt good for hibiscus?

A good fertilizer ratio for hibiscus is 12-4-18 or a “high bloom” water-soluble fertilizer. Slow-release granular fertilizers, like Osmocote, can be used in combination with water soluble fertilizer when irrigating. Magnesium sulfate, also called Epsom salt, gives hibiscus foliage a good dark green color.

Can I use Epsom salt on my hibiscus plant?

Epsom salts work well for hibiscus planted in the ground in areas with neutral or acidic soil, or for plant in pots where the water drains out the bottom and isn’t constantly taken back up into the pot.

What is the best fertilizer for hibiscus plants?

Hibiscus plants need a fertilizer with a medium to high amount of nitrogen (N), a low amount of phosphorous or phosphate (P), and a high amount of potash (K) – such as 7-1-2 or 12-4-8.

When should I start fertilizing my hibiscus?

When to Fertilize Hibiscus

These times are: Early spring. After the hibiscus tree finishes its first round of blooming. Mid summer.

Why my hibiscus is not blooming?

The reason for hibiscus not flowering is usually because of too much shade, drought stress or too much fertilizer. Nitrogen promotes foliage at the expense of flowers and too much phosphorous reduces hibiscus blooms by immobilizing nutrients in the soil. The best time to prune hibiscus for flowering is in the Fall.

Do you deadhead hibiscus?

Deadheading, the process of removing fading flowers, can improve the appearance of the plant and prevent reseeding. According to information about hibiscus flowers, deadheading hibiscus is not a necessary part of hibiscus flower care.