Pruning hibiscus: tips & tricks for the perfect cut


I studied agricultural sciences with full conviction - an obvious choice for me, as I grew up on my parents’ farm and learned early on to find joy in taking care of plants and animals.

Favourite fruit: grapes, mangos and bananas.
Favourite vegetables: brussels sprouts, spinach and potatoes

The hibiscus delights with its colourful flowers. Regular pruning your hibiscus promotes its growth and also allows it to grow into special shapes.

pruning hibiscus with shears
Prune hibiscus early to give it more time to recover

The hibiscus (Hibiscus) originates from Asia, more precisely from China. All species known today also come from the Middle Kingdom. We’ll tell you how to properly prune your hibiscus for optimal flowering, even in our temperate climate. The most important steps are briefly explained below.

When to prune hibiscus?

Whether it is common hibiscus, rose hibiscus or giant hibiscus, the best time for pruning is in late winter or early spring. Hibiscus pruning is usually done between the beginning and middle of February. At this time, the plants are at the beginning of the growth phase, so pruning does not deprive them of their strength. In addition, at the beginning of growth, the right pruning can most effectively promote the formation of shoots and branching.

hibiscus branch with new leaves
Encourage the plant to grow buds and branches through early pruning

Pruning hibiscus: step-by-step guide

When to prune hibiscus depends on what kind it is. In the case of rose hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa–sinensis), which is mostly kept as a houseplant, you prune regularly to train it. After the hibiscus has bloomed off, shorten the shoots by half to achieve higher branching. The more branched rose hibiscus, the more abundant will be the flowering.

The perennial hibiscus, or giant hibiscus, also requires only one pruning. To do this, shorten the side shoots by half, so that they branch better. Furthermore, maintenance pruning is also useful for the purpose of shaping. In addition, the side shoots that sprout close to the ground are often removed to prevent the perennial from becoming too sprawling.

shears cutting weak hibiscus branch
Remove any weak or injured shoots

Common hibiscus (Hibiscus syriacus) can be pruned in several ways. First, maintenance pruning is done in the spring to encourage branching and maintain the shape of the crown. All other cuts are used for shaping. You will learn how this works and what you need to keep in mind in the next section.

Rejuvenation and/or maintenance pruning should be done regularly for all hibiscus species. When rejuvenating, bulky growing shoots are radically cut back. Maintenance pruning is more for removing dead plant material without interfering too radically with the growth of the hibiscus.

hibiscus tree with new shoots
You can use both rejuvenation pruning and maintenance pruning on yor hibiscus

Pruning hibiscus as a standard or half standard tree

There are several types of pruning to determine the shape of the hibiscus. The common hibiscus is often pruned as either a standard or half standard tree. This shaping pruning involves removing all side shoots along the main shoot except for the top three or four. Full standard pruning requires a lot of patience, because this procedure must often be repeated for several years in a row, until the hibiscus reaches the desired height of growth.

Now begin to shorten the side shoots of the crown, so that they, in turn, branch. The uppermost shoot of the crown is cut off about halfway along its length and tied upwards with a thin wire as a stem extension. Repeat these procedures until a well–formed crown is obtained. By the way, the shoots along the stem must always be removed.

Fertilising is also an important care measure for hibiscus, which should not be neglected so that your plant shows itself in its full flowering glory, we have summarised for you everything important about fertilising hibiscus.