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How to Prune a Hibiscus Plant

By Joyce Starr ; Updated September 21, 2017
Single Hibiscus Bloom

Pruning your hibiscus will keep it nicely shaped and also allow the plant to branch out and thicken up. One benefit of pruning your hibiscus is you will be able to enjoy more of the beautiful and exotic flowers. Nothing represents the tropics quite like the hibiscus flower, and the plant is relatively easy to maintain. By following a few basic pruning tips, your hibiscus plant should look stunning all year long.

Check the weather forecast for your area to see if a cold front or frost is expected. Don’t prune your hibiscus when freezing temperatures are on the horizon. This will only stunt or kill any new growth.

Select a sharp, clean pair of pruning shears. They will make a cleaner cut and will also cut down on the chance of diseases being spread to the plant through the open wound on the bark.

Decide whether to give the plant a hard cutting or only a light trim. Hard cutting is usually done in the spring or summer, so the plant has a chance to fully develop new growth before cold weather sets in.

Cut the limbs to the desired height and width, if you are performing a hard pruning. No pruning pattern needs to be followed when hard pruning a hibiscus. Cut all the branches to the same height and width.

Cut the branch at a downward angle right above where the outer leaf meets the branch, or over the eye. This method is used when the hibiscus is receiving a light pruning. This will cause the branch to send out several new shoots in the direction of the eye.

Prune each branch back by approximately one third. This will establish new growth and the hibiscus plant will be sturdier and grow thicker, producing more blooms.

Remove any new growth that is forming on the trunk by cutting the sprouting branches close to the trunk.


Things You Will Need

  • Pruning shears


  • Prune your hibiscus in the spring after all chances of frost have passed. Continue trimming during the warm growing season until winter. Gardeners in Zones 9 and 10 can usually prune their hibiscus plants all year long, as these areas seldom suffer freezes.

About the Author


For over 25 years, Joyce Starr has owned businesses dealing with landscape & design, lawn maintenance, specialty herbs and a garden center. She holds certificates in landscape design and xeriscaping. Starr shares her passion for nature in her writing, publishing articles on horticulture, outdoor recreation, travel as well as business.