How To Prune Hibiscus

Pruning hibiscus

With large, trumpet-shaped flowers in red, white, pink, purple or yellow; hibiscus is a Mediterranean beauty that thrives in the European climate. Favoured by garden lovers for its vibrant colours and easy-care nature, hibiscus brings a cheerful touch to any garden. Its striking flowers make hibiscus a nice combination with plants like buddleja (butterfly bush), Agastache (hyssops), echinacea (coneflowers) or persicaria (knotweeds). This exotic beauty naturally grows into a lush, full bush; but how do you prune hibiscus?

How should I prune hibiscus?

Pruning is not actually necessary to maintain the beautiful shape of your hibiscus. This shrub will develop its delightfully appealing proportions all by itself. If an unforeseen circumstance causes your hibiscus to become unsightly through damage or disease, then you may find it necessary to prune this shrub back into shape. To help return it to its best, you should target the young branches of the bush first. For a drastic pruning, it is actually possible to cut this garden plant all the way back to knee height, or approximately 50 centimetres above the ground. After pruning, your hibiscus will experience a natural burst of growth and eventually return to its pleasing shape once again.

When can I prune hibiscus?

The best time to prune hibiscus is in spring, preferably towards the end of the season. By cutting the shrub back during this time of the year, it will stay compact and produce a flourish of luxurious blossoms. The flowers of this shrub grow on annual wood, so even after pruning it in the springtime, it will fully bloom come the next summer. Hibiscus will grow by itself into a beautiful shape, so pruning it is not necessary. If you leave the plant to grow on its own, it will develop pleasing proportions that will have a much more natural appearance. If you do choose to prune though, it is important to ensure you always cut the branches just above an eye bud to ensure healthy growth.

When can I plant hibiscus?

Hibiscus is an easy-care plant that will produce beautiful blossoms to enhance almost any garden. This shrub grows best in soils that are airy, have good drainage and contain plenty of humus. Choose an ideal spot in the sun or semi-shade, and you will have virtually no need to worry about this cheerfully colourful garden delight. With wonderfully fresh glossy green leaves, it will easily grow to about 3 to 3.5 meters tall in a nice spot that is sheltered from the wind.

When can I fertilise hibiscus?

For a beautifully full hibiscus, it is important to fertilise it come spring. Fertilisation with organic food such as blood meal or bone meal is preferred. In the early summer apply a dose of potassium-rich manure around the plant to encourage strong roots. A potassium deficiency in hibiscus can be easily diagnosed by the leaves; yellow spots will appear on the foliage if your shrub is requiring more potassium. It is important that the soil around your shrub does not dry out, yet also does not stay wet for too long either. If severe frost is forecast, protect this bush against the winter frost. Hibiscus is hardy plant and can tolerate light frost well, though in case of severe frost there is a risk they might freeze.

When can I plant hibiscus?

Hibiscus plants can be easily propagated. In the first instance, they naturally multiply via seed germination. Have a look around the base of the hibiscus in the garden, and chances are you will spot several small hibiscus seedlings that are ready to pot. Propagating from hibiscus cuttings is also relatively simple, with the best period for propagation being between October to February. Cut a branch about 20 centimetres in length off the plant. Prune one end of your stick to around half a centimetre below the eye bud using an angled cut; this is going to be the bottom of your stick. Prune the top of your stick using a straight cut, leaving around half a centimetre of wood above the top eye bud. Plant the cuttings with the angled edge into the ground first in a sheltered spot in the garden. Do this at the end of winter/ beginning of spring, leaving the tops of the sticks protruding from the ground. Do not be alarmed if there are no roots visible on your cuttings: this is normal. Come late spring the cuttings will be ready to plant in the garden so that they can take root and the buds can begin to develop. Always keep the soil around the sticks moist. In autumn, the cuttings will be mature and hardy enough to be planted in a permanent spot in the garden.

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