Pruning hibiscus is a not a hard task and the results will be more blooms and a nicer looking plant. The time to do it is in the spring before the plant has started to come out of its winter dormant state. While you might be able to start more of a trimming job later in the season, spring is the time to prune if you intend to really cut the plant back dramatically.
Don’t worry about hurting the hibiscus plant as it is a very tough plant that will grow new foliage again very quickly. In fact, by midsummer the plant will be so prolific that no one would ever realize you had been pruning hibiscus earlier in the season.
The first thing you need to do is get a good pair of pruning shears. You can find these at your local gardening store or even buy them online. In addition to the shears you will need some rubbing alcohol or bleach with which to clean the shears while you are pruning. This is necessary so that if you should cut off wood that is dying, you won’t transfer any disease or infection to another branch.
Pruning hibiscus is more than just snipping off the ends of some branches. In fact, you will want to cut the branches back by at least one-third of their growth. Start with one of the longer branches and check out what it looks like about a third of the way down. What you want to find is a little bump where a bud with new growth is going to appear. You should cut the branch about a quarter of an inch above the little bump or node. Make the cut as smooth as you can.
Nothing will be lost in pruning as the hibiscus plant is going to grow new branches below every cut that you make. People use several different ways to decide which branches to cut. Sometimes only the branches that are much longer than all the others are pruned. Others will only prune branches that make the hibiscus plant look lopsided. The last method, which is really the one that will produce the healthiest plant, is to trim all the branches back so that they will all have new growth.
When pruning hibiscus, make sure that you dispose of all the dead branches rather than just leaving them lying in the yard. Given any chance at all, the diseased branches you have so carefully pruned will spread their disease to other parts of the plant. Take off every dead branch and dispose of it in a safe place.
You also want to make sure that you have indeed cut off enough of a diseased branch so that it will not continue to re-infect the plant. Make sure that the place where you cut has nice healthy live green tissue growing inside it and is not brown or rotting on the inside.
By pruning hibiscus this way you can be assured of every limb getting a fresh, healthy start. You will also be impressed later on in the season when you see all of the new growth and new flowers. Everyone will be telling you that your hibiscus plant never looked better.