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Hibiscus plant care and pruning

How do we prune a Hibiscus tree that is about 3 feet tall? The plants are located in a container outside of our senior center. They wintered inside and are now too bushy at the top. How do we prune so they are more compact? What is the correct way to care for these wonderful flowering trees?

It sounds like you have Hibiscus rosa-sinensis—the tropical evergreen shrub. Late spring is the time to prune. According to the American Horticultural Society Pruning & Training book: Prune established plants by cutting back main shoots by as much as one-third, and shorten laterals, leaving two or three buds. Dead wood attracts canker, so it should be removed promptly. To renovate completely, remove older branches entirely and cut the remainder back hard. The response is usually good, but if most stems have died back, it is best to replace the plant.

(Source: American Horticultural Society Pruning & Training, ed. by C. Brickell, 1996, p. 201).

Other pruning information is available from Hidden Valley Hibiscus.

Also, my personal experience with a 10-year-old Hibiscus is that pinching out tips of stems in spring and summer increases flower production.