Cut Hibiscus: With These Instructions

Pruning the hibiscus is important for its full bloom. We show the most important cuts and instructions that will allow you to easily cut your own hibiscus.

Hibiskus schneiden: Anleitung und Tipps für den Rückschnitt

Hibiscus, or hibiscus, native to Asia, belongs to the mallow family and has about 200 species. Care for the plant is quite easy. However, in addition to regular fertilizing, it is part of the hibiscus care that you cut the hibiscus. Because only if you regularly cut back the plant, it can fully develop its flowering glory.

But this is quite simple and with our instructions, hibiscus pruning succeeds in no time. We show how to prune your young garden hibiscus, how maintenance pruning and rejuvenation pruning work, and what pruning your frost-sensitive rose hibiscus needs. Plus: a video with instructions and tips.

Pruning Hibiscus: Garden Hibiscus

The garden hibiscus (Hibiscus syriacus) embodies the only hardy shrub of the hibiscus genus in Swiss gardens.

Because of its relatively late blooming season in midsummer and late summer compared to most other flowering garden shrubs, its already colorful flowers come into their own impressively, especially after proper pruning.

While young hibiscus plants should be protected with a layer of mulch over the roots before their first winter in the garden to avoid falling victim to frost, older specimens will survive the cold season without such an additional protective covering.

To prune your hibiscus, you’ll need the right tools: for side branches, it’s best to use pruning shears. For ground shoots, you will need scissors for branches or even a saw. Make sure that the tool is sharp, so as not to injure the branches when cutting.

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Of course, before the approach of winter, the various species of hibiscus must be strong and healthy, so as not to suffer frost damage. It is also important to choose a sunny, warm location already when planting in the garden, where the plant is somewhat protected from the wind.

Pruning hibiscus: Young Plant

If you have a garden hibiscus freshly planted, you should immediately rid it of all weak and injured shoots.

You should also shorten the healthy shoots by about half to stimulate new branching.

Heavy pruning will also be helpful in subsequent years to allow the base to grow healthily and evenly. This way, your shrub hibiscus will grow evenly in subsequent years and the plant will bloom more and more beautifully.

Pruning Hibiscus: Topiary pruning

The purpose of the build-up pruning is to give the plant a nice shape. The goal is to get three to five lateral ground shoots, arranged around one or two slightly raised center ground shoots. These bottom shoots are the scaffolding from which the side shoots with buds will form each year.

Pruning is best done in late February to early March.

Remove any ground shoots that are not your selected scaffold shoots.

Prune the side scaffold ground shoots by about one-third of the section that grew last year.

You will shorten the center scaffold ground shoots a little less so that the hibiscus will maintain the shape you want.

Now shorten all new side shoots of the ground shoots to about 5 to 10 cm in length.

Do the build-up pruning every year, until your plant is the size you want.

Pruning hibiscus: Maintenance pruning

When your hibiscus in the garden has reached the desired size, you should cut it back once a year, so that it can always bloom beautifully.

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If the plant is not pruned regularly, the shoots that should form the flowers will wither.

Since the marshmallow always forms the flowers on the new shoots, it is important to prune especially the old branches.

In order for the plant to bloom from summer to autumn, you should carry out pruning from the beginning of February to the beginning of March, when the woody plant is completely dormant.

It is best to start by removing the dead wood as well as the branches that grow inward.

Further, you also cut the younger, blunted side shoots by about a third of their length. The outer ones should be shorter than the inner ones so that the marshmallow keeps its beautiful shape.

If the shoots are growing closely, leave only one at a time so that it gets enough light for the flowers.

Pruning hibiscus: Rejuvenation pruning

If your marshmallow has become too large, too extensive or too dense for you, or if the plant has grown irregularly, you should apply a so-called rejuvenation pruning.

To do this, first remove all the dead shoots. Then turn your attention to the ground shoots: cut off two to three of the oldest ground shoots with a saw just above the ground.

Shorten the remaining ground shoots to about two-thirds of their length.

Then proceed as with maintenance pruning and turn your attention to the side shoots.

After this pruning, your Hibiscus syriacus will produce slightly fewer flowers, but it will benefit all the more from this care the following year. In order for the marshmallow to grow well again, you should now fertilize it regularly.

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This pruning is best done from the end of November to the end of February.

Cut hibiscus: Chinese rose hibiscus

In addition to Hibiscus syriacus, the frost-sensitive Chinese rose marshmallow (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis) is also very popular in this country. However, this is mainly kept as an indoor plant.

With the rose marshmallow you give the same as with the maintenance pruning of its hardy relative. Here, too, proper pruning leads to more and larger flowers.

The best time to prune this marshmallow is also in early spring, before buds have formed.

Remove all dead wood and inward growing branches.

Prune the dead side shoots by about one-third of their length. Make sure the outer shoots are shorter than the inner ones.

From two very close growing shoots leave only one.


  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.

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