How to Shape a Hibiscus Tree


The hibiscus tree is a rapidly growing tree that needs yearly pruning to promote new growth and prolific flowering. Pruning allows you to remove dead or diseased wood and shaping gives you an elegant tree that you can enjoy for years. Young hibiscus trees can be trained to grow in a box hedge shape if regularly maintained. Early spring, when temperatures will remain above 40 degrees F, is the best time to prune.

Step 1

Wipe the blades of your pruning shears with alcohol. Sanitizing hand gel works great and you can find it in grocery stores.

Step 2

Select a long and out-of-proportion branch. Look a third of the way down the branch until you spot a leaf node that is aimed in the direction you want the new growth to grow.

Step 3

Prune off the branch just above this leaf node. Leave 1/4-inch of wood between the cut and the eye.

Step 4

Move on to the next branch, following the above steps, until the hibiscus tree is shaped the way you desire.

Step 5

Trim diseased or dead wood. Follow the branch back until you locate live wood. Keep following the branch down until you notice the next visible leaf node and prune the branch off 1/4-inch above that node.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Cloth rag
  • 7-2-7 fertilizer


  • The Tropical Hibiscus: Hibiscus Pruning
  • Herbs 2000: Pruning and Maintenance of Hibiscus
  • Hidden Valley Hibiscus: Pruning Hibiscus
Keywords: shape a hibiscus tree, pruning shears, leaf node, new growth, fertilizer mix

About this Author

Robin Gonyo has been writing for several years now. She has a deep love for gardening and has spent a vast amount of time researching that subject. Previously she has written for private clients before joining Demand Studios. She hopes to share her knowledge with others through her writing.