Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis) is a tropical flowering shrub in the mallow plant family that comes to us from Asia and the Pacific. You can grow this prolific bloomer as an annual throughout the United States and a perennial in USDA climate zones 8 and higher. Some species are more frost hardy, such as the rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus), which can grow as far north as zone 5, or where winter temperatures drop below 0 degrees F. You can prune any variety of hibiscus to keep it compact, revitalize an older plant and remove any diseased or dead branches. Pruning a hibiscus will allow it to grow better.
Evaluate your hibiscus in early spring before you begin to prune. Decide the shape and size you want to create. A good practice is to prune about one-third of the plant, leaving at least two or three nodes on every branch.
Sterilize your clippers with a water-free hand cleaner. Just squeeze some of the cleaner onto a clean rag and wipe your blades with it, leaving it on for at least 15 seconds before you wipe it off. Repeat this procedure every few cuts, especially after you cut any diseased wood. This helps to prevent plant diseases from entering the cut branches.
Begin by cutting off long, gangly branches and any dead growth. Look for a node that is pointing in the direction you want new branches to grow, and then cut about 1/4 inch up from the node. Prune off dead stems and branches at their connection point to the main trunk.
Continue making cuts on all of the shorter branches in the same way.
Keep your hibiscus moist after you prune it and give it a half-strength fertilizer every week to encourage new growth.