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When to prune Hibiscus

I need some advice on how and when to prune my hibiscus plants, predominantly Fijian. They are growing very tall and spindly with no leaves/branches towards the base. Also the leaves are turning yellow and falling off.


Fijian hibiscus are fast-growing and should be pruned to maintain their shape. Prune in late winter/early spring when the resulting tender new growth will be safe from cold damage.

For a good-looking plant try to establish 3-4 main branches. These are then cut back by a third while the others are completely removed.

A clean cut should be made just above and angled down and away from an "eye" or node. (A node is the junction of a leaf and the stem. There is a small bud in this junction that is activated after pruning.) Cutting above outward-pointing "eyes" will encourage growth in that direction.

The new growth resulting from pruning invigorates the plant and will provide a source for many new blooms.

It will take time for the plant to produce flowers again as hibiscus flower on new wood. The upside is you will have more new wood to bloom from.

Hibiscus are gross feeders so the yellow leaves could be a sign that it needs fertilising. Be sure to feed them often, preferably every three to four months.

UnitecAdvice by Dr Dan Blanchon from Unitec's Diploma in Sustainable Horticulture and Bachelor of Resource Management.

Reproduced with permission from NZOOM Home and Garden content,
from the previous website of  TVNZ News

The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH

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Last updated: June 27, 2005