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How to Prune a Tropical Hibiscus Tree

By Eulalia Palomo ; Updated September 21, 2017
Tropical hibiscus flowers come in a wide variety of bright colors.
hibiscus image by adrimar imaging from Fotolia.com

A tropical hibiscus tree is a perennial flowering shrub that has been carefully pruned until it achieves a tree-like shape. Plant tropical hibiscus outside in the garden in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 to 11, according to the University of Florida Cooperative Extension Services. If you live in a colder climate, plant your hibiscus tree in a pot and bring it inside for the winter. Tropical hibiscus trees have bright, showy flowers that come in a wide variety of stunning colors.

Stand back and look at your tropical hibiscus before you begin pruning. Visualize the overall shape and size you want to achieve.

Use a sharp tree saw to take off the the lower branches. As the plant matures, continue to remove the lowest branches until the shrub begins to resemble a tree in shape.

Shape the canopy by trimming the outer most growth. Use sharp pruning shears to trim back every third branch or so. At the next pruning session you can get the branches you missed this time.

Clip off any suckers that are growing around the base of the tree from the primary root system.

Remove any dead or diseased looking wood. Clean your tools with disinfectant after each cut when cutting off diseased wood to prevent it from spreading to other parts of the plant.


Things You Will Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Tree saw
  • Disinfectant


  • Avoid taking out more than 1/3 of the total foliage mass at each pruning session.

About the Author


Eulalia Palomo has been a professional writer since 2009. Prior to taking up writing full time she has worked as a landscape artist and organic gardener. Palomo holds a Bachelor of Arts in liberal studies from Boston University. She travels widely and has spent over six years living abroad.