How to cut hibiscus properly outdoors and indoors - tutorial with all types of cuts

How to cut hibiscus properly outdoors and indoors - tutorial with all types of cuts

Why is it necessary to maintain the cut? - Types of cuts and dates

In the bed, on the balcony and behind glass, hibiscus species reside as opulent summer bloomers. Its up to 20 centimeters large flowers shine on this year's shoots, which arise from the framework-forming ground shoots. Without a regular cut, the blossom wood withers into short side shoots with a few flowers, which wither within 4 weeks when exhausted. With a strong pruning, you pave the way for young shoots to light. After all , it is this year's wood on which beautiful hibiscus blossoms are incessantly presented from summer to late autumn .

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As a result, hibiscus becomes a picturesque permanent bloomer in beds and living spaces if you cut it expertly. The reasons for the pruning range from the upbringing as a shrub or high trunk to the maintenance and clearing up to rejuvenation. The following table gives you a brief summary of all the optional types of cuts with dates:

Type of cut / occasionbest date
Garden hibiscus pruningafter planting
Section of the shrub structureFebruary to early March
Conservation cut (outside and inside)February to early March
Taper cutNovember to February
Hedge cuttingFebruary to early March
Parenting cut HochstämmchenLate February / early March

Plant pruning stimulates dense branching in garden hibiscus

Fresh from the nursery comes a young garden hibiscus with a central shoot and few branches. You could leave it at that and let further growth run free. The scaffolding structure with a solitary main shoot has proven to be disadvantageous in gardening practice. If the base of the shrub is damaged or prematurely aged, the entire hibiscus shrub is affected. It is better if you direct the growth in the direction of a framework of several ground shoots that support the valuable blossom wood. The failure of a scaffold shoot then has no serious effects on vitality and flowering. This is how the perfect plant cut succeeds:

  • The best time is immediately after planting
  • If you buy a blooming hibiscus, make up for the cut in the following spring
  • Cut off all stunted and damaged branches beforehand
  • Cut back the remaining shoots by half to two thirds
  • Place scissors 3 or 4 millimeters above one eye

For a decorative shrub shape, it is advantageous if you leave the ground shoot in the center a little longer than the other shoots. Garteneibisch naturally develops a spindle-shaped silhouette with a slightly raised center. This shape is easy to maintain in later years and wears a dense flower dress even if there was no time left for the pruning.


Law of growth reveals the secret of vital branching after pruning

Beginners in the hibiscus pruning are often surprised that the reaction of the shrub to the plant pruning can be predicted so reliably. In fact, the strong branching at the base of the bush results from the tried and tested growth law of peak extraction. The law states that your hibiscus pumps most of its reserve substances into the tip buds to stimulate growth towards the light. Lower-lying buds have to be satisfied with significantly fewer nutrients. The further away the position from the tip of the shoot, the lower the sap pressure and growth. When pruning the plant, the main beneficiaries are cut off from the flow of sap. The reserve substances are then distributed to the lower buds, which sprout vigorously by return of post.The effect has a permanent effect on dense branching at the shrub base and cannot be made up for later types of pruning, with the exception of a taper pruning.

Harmonious growth shape thanks to the top cut - instructions for garden hawk

In February of the second year of operation, the section maintenance is dedicated to the further construction of the scaffolding drives. As illustrated in the figure below, an annual pruning aims to raise 5 to 7 strong ground shoots , 4 or 6 of which gather around a slightly raised central shoot . Later, the young side branches sprout from the buds along the ground shoots, on which the longed-for flower buds form in the leaf axils. How to cut with horticultural expertise:

  • The best time is in February and March, in good time before budding begins
  • Remove all ground shoots that do not belong to the 5 to 7 scaffold shoots
  • Then cut off half or a third of the previous year's growth on each scaffold shoot
  • Leave the central scaffolding 10 to 15 centimeters higher for a decorative dome shape
  • Finally, cut back all side shoots along the bottom shoots to 5 centimeters

The duration of the build-up phase depends on the final height you are aiming for. Considering the slow growth, it takes several years for a garden hawkish to develop into a stately shrub. On the way there you can look forward to an increasing abundance of flowers from year to year. The prerequisite is the consistent cutting back of all withered side branches in order to lure out a new shoot.

Cut the hibiscus

Instructions for the maintenance pruning - this is how it works outside and inside

The transition from construction to maintenance takes place when your hardy hibiscus bush has reached the desired height in the garden. The specialist trade usually offers evergreen, frost-sensitive indoor hibiscus with a fully assembled frame. Ergo, the pruning care starts with an annual maintenance pruning. The following procedure has been found to be beneficial for the conservation of all types of hibiscus outdoors and indoors:

  • The best time is in February / March
  • Remove dead wood and inward-facing branches beforehand
  • Remove the weaker one from two very closely spaced shoots
  • Cut back the previous year's growth on scaffold shoots that have reached their final height
  • Too long ground shoots divert to a young, lower side branch
  • Finally, shorten all the faded side branches
  • Cut back side branches to 5 cm outside, side branches inside to 10 cm

At the time of the conservation pruning, your garden hibiscus stands there without leaves. Select the intersection points each 0.5 centimeters above an outward-facing bud. This exerts an impulse on the vegetation point so that it sprouts quickly. On the evergreen room hibiscus, the cut is made at a short distance from a leaf or leaf knot. There is nothing to worry about if the maintenance pruning leaves your garden hibiscus as a bare framework of ground shoots with short side shoots. Thanks to this incision there is a sap jam on the buds below the intersection, which allows the valuable blossom wood to grow rapidly.

Cut the hibiscus


Avoid gaps in the bush by using a drain cut

If the cutting technique of the derivative is part of the horticultural repertoire, garden hibiscus and rose hibiscus preserve a harmonious, seamless silhouette after the cut. The art of special cutting is based on the fact that you don't just cut off an old, superfluous branch somewhere. Choose a fork between old and young wood as the intersection . Shortly after this fork, cut off the disused branch. From then on, the young side shoot functions as the new main shoot without complaining about an annoying gap in its appearance.

Successfully revitalizing hibiscus - instructions for rejuvenation pruning

Annual maintenance pruning cannot prevent one or the other of the scaffolding shoots on the older hibiscus from aging. Garden shrubs are primarily affected because their winter hardiness decreases with age. You will now benefit if you follow the recommendation of this tutorial to raise garden hawk with a framework of several ground shoots. The revitalization succeeds by removing an old ground shoot, the construction of a young successor in connection with the rejuvenation of the remaining scaffold shoots. How to cut exemplary:

  • The best time is in winter between November and February
  • Saw off the aged scaffold shoots down to short tenons of 5 centimeters
  • Select an appropriate number of new ground shoots to replace them
  • Thin out the remaining competing shoots to the scaffolding to 5 centimeters
  • Remaining scaffold shoots divert to a vital side shoot positioned further down

As the illustration below shows, you should first devote yourself to the rejuvenation of the scaffold-forming ground shoots. In the last step, shorten the faded side branches from the previous year to 2 eyes. Thanks to this procedure, a rejuvenation cut on the hibiscus does not result in the total failure of this year's flower. Only a reduction in the number of flowers is to be expected until the young scaffold shoots have built up, as can be read in the above part of the tutorial.


The right tool for every type of cut - you should pay attention to this

If the right tool is at hand, any type of cut can be made effortlessly on the hibiscus. The one-handed secateurs are suitable for pruning shoots up to a thickness of 2 centimeters, optionally for left or right-handers and as a bypass or anvil model. Two-hand pruning shears are ideal for cutting off thick branches with a diameter of 2 to 4 centimeters. If you dedicate yourself to strong scaffolding shoots more than 4 centimeters thick as part of the rejuvenation, the cut with the Japanese saw or folding saw (€ 17.70 on Amazon *) will be child's play. There is no place for thrift when buying cutting tools. High quality branded productsdon't let you down even after years. Furthermore, premium quality scissors and saws are easy to take apart for important maintenance work.

How to cut hibiscus hedge correctly - instructions for hedge trimming

With a stature height of up to 250 centimeters, hardy, pruning-friendly garden hawkish and its colorful varieties are ideal for the picturesque flower hedge. The conservation pruning is slightly modified so that the bushes offer the desired privacy factor.

First, thin out the hedge bushes thoroughly for light-flooded and densely leafed growth. Then shorten a third of the previous year's shoots that have bloomed to 2 buds. Cut another third back by half. The last third either remains uncut or is cut at the shoot tips that protrude from the hedge shape. If necessary, a light maintenance cut in June removes cheeky branches if they interfere with the accurate appearance.

The aim of the more moderate approach is to find a compromise between abundance of flowers and privacy protection. Plant, construction and rejuvenation cuts can be transferred unchanged from the solitary to the hibiscus hedge.

Raising the hibiscus to a high trunk - this is how it works in 4 steps

In the cultivation of hibiscus, upbringing to become a tall trunk is the supreme discipline. With the help of these instructions and a tear-resistant thread of patience, you will master the challenge with flying colors. A robust, hardy hibiscus (Hibiscus syriacus) is perfect for capturing envious glances over the garden fence as an elegant tall trunk in beds and buckets. Choose from varieties such as 'Ultramarine' or 'Hamabo', which grow 15 to 30 centimeters annually faster than wild species. All 4 steps of education are explained in more detail below.

Plant pruning focused on stem formation - first step

With the pruning of the plant, the upbringing begins. In connection with the planting or in February of the following year, cut off the lateral branches of the central shoot. As shown in the illustration below, place the scissors over the second or third eye. The main trunk is not cut because it will be difficult to reach the desired height without its top bud.

Hibiscus cut stem


You can force the formation of a stable main trunk with two additional pruning measures. In the first two years of standing cut off all branches sprouting from the trunk in May and again in July. In this way, the entire plant energy flows into the growth in height and thickness of the central shoot.

A year later - second step

After completing the first year of standing, the second stage follows on the way to the elegant hibiscus tall trunk. The focus is again on the lateral branches. Please take a look at the illustration below. It can then be seen that the incision is made over the first eye from below.

If the future trunk has reached the desired height, limit the further growth in height. Count off three buds above the desired crown height. There you cut at a distance of 0.5 centimeters above a bud.

Hibiscus pruning

Two years later - third step

At the beginning of the third year, you determine the four strongest side shoots to the leading branches of the crown. Cut this off over the second or third eye. The number of points is counted from the point where the main branch and trunk fork. Cut all other side shoots that are not part of the crown to short cones measuring 5 centimeters.

Hibicus pruning

Three years later - fourth step

The third stage of education is also the beginning of the maintenance phase. Cut back to 2 buds that have blown off shoots from the previous year along the main branches. Remove twigs that are growing inside the crown or noticeably poor at the roots. You shorten the leading branches themselves by half within last year's increase, as long as they have not yet reached the desired final length.

Hibiscus final cut

frequently asked Questions

Is hibiscus poisonous?

Hibiscus is not poisonous. The magnificent plant poses no danger to humans or animals. On the contrary, the Chinese enjoy its leaves, flowers and roots. The plant parts are used in many different ways in naturopathy. In Europe, the flowers are a sought-after ingredient for an aromatic and healing tea. Against this background, hibiscus is a recommendable ornamental plant for the family household.

I want to transplant my 10 year old garden hibiscus. When is the right time? What to look out for

The best time to transplant is after the leaves have fallen. The time window remains open until the beginning / middle of March. Pierce the root ball with as much root volume as possible. Important: do not add any fertilizer. A garden hibiscus is generally fertilized between the end of March and the end of July. Since the plant is more than 5 years old, we recommend pruning it by half. This measure makes it easier to take root at the new location. Water a transplanted hibiscus abundantly and regularly, as drought stress is the greatest danger during growth.

Is garden hawk suitable for raising an 80 centimeter high hedge? When will it be cut?

The good cut tolerance allows the hedge hedge to be trained by garden hawks. Choose a sunny and ideally sheltered location. The pruning is limited to a maintenance and shape pruning in late winter and a light nourishing pruning in June. Any further cutbacks noticeably impair the abundance of flowers.

I have cut my high hibiscus trunk for 5 years and not yet. In the meantime it has finally gotten a bit bigger, admittedly very sparsely branched. Should I cut it now?

You can stimulate branching by making a cut. The best date is in late winter, in good time before the fresh budding. Make targeted cuts a short distance from an outward-facing eye. The shoots then branch below an interface. It is sufficient if you cut off the tips first, because no flowers will form there. You can cut a little more if necessary. Then you favor the new growth with the administration of a complete fertilizer.

What is the difference between garden hibiscus and indoor hibiscus?

Garden and indoor hibiscus differ significantly in several ways. Garden hibiscus (Hibiscus syriacus) thrives as a deciduous, largely hardy flowering shrub with a height of up to 3 meters. Its flowering period extends from June / July to September / October. Indoor hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis), also known as the Chinese hibiscus, wears its foliage all year round and reaches a height of 1 to 2 meters. The starting shot for the picturesque flower festival will be given in February / March and will last until October. In contrast to its kind in the garden, indoor hibiscus is not hardy with a temperature minimum of 10 degrees Celsius.

My hibiscus bushes spread out in the garden with innumerable seedlings. What can I do about it?

Hibiscus shrubs tend to spread invasively on light soils and in mild regions. The conquering march through the garden takes place with the help of myriads of seeds, which turn into vigorous seedlings in no time at all. Such a propagation strategy can become annoying in the long run. Cutting out the seed pods continuously during the flowering period is very tedious. It is better to wipe off all seed heads from bottom to top by hand in autumn. Hold a bowl underneath with your other hand to catch the seed pods. Please dispose of the capsules in the garbage can because they are guaranteed to find their way into the garden from the compost.

The 3 most common mistakes

Cutting errorsDamageprevention
cut in autumnFrost damage up to total failureCut hibiscus in February
never cutfew flowers, short flowering periodcut vigorously every year in late winter
Central shoot on the high stem cut off too earlypuny-small tall trunkFirst cut off the tip bud 3 buds above the desired crown height

Infestation with diseases and pests on hibiscus species is closely related to improper pruning. The most common cause of infection with pathogens are unclean cutting tools . Before starting, during and at the end of the cutting work, you should disinfect the blades or saw blades with alcohol. Thanks to this care, aphids, powdery mildew spores and the like can no longer misuse the tools as a welcome means of transport to their floral victims.



If the winter releases a hawkmoth as lifeless scrub, it is usually not frost damage. Permanent winter wetness puts massive strain on the roots in the ground. You can effectively prevent the damage by covering the root disc with leaves and coniferous branches or a thick layer of bark mulch. The regular maintenance pruning is dedicated to frozen back shoots without affecting this year's flowering.