Prune a hibiscus by removing old growth, pinching off the buds, deadheading the flowers, removing dead and dying foliage and pruning the plant to delay flowering. Pruning takes only a few minutes. You need pruning shears and pruning scissors.
- Remove old growth
When new growth starts to form every year, cut away the old growth nearly to the ground. The plant blooms on new growth, so removing old growth does not harm it.
- Pinch off the buds
Once the plant is 6 inches tall, pinch or trim off the buds at the ends of the stems. This helps the plant to grow bigger, bushier foliage. Repeat the process again when the plant is 12 inches tall.
- Deadhead the flowers
Remove the flowers of the plant once they begin to fade. Instead of producing seeds, the plant instead puts its energy into blooming some more.
- Do maintenance pruning
Remove any dead, dried up or brown foliage regularly.
- Prune the plant
Once the hibiscus reaches 16 inches tall, cut the plant down by 8 inches. This not only delays blooming for later in the summer, but it also prevents the plant from blooming in the height of the Japanese beetle season and minimizes the risk of infestation.