Prune a hibiscus plant by choosing the right time of the year, removing broken and damaged branches, cutting limbs at the growth nodules and nodes, and trimming the branch at an angle. Thoroughly clean and sterilize all equipment before and after pruning the plant to prevent the spread of disease.
First, sterilize the pruning shears with bleach and rubbing alcohol. Prune the hibiscus plant in the winter or early spring by cutting it down nearly to the ground or at least trimming off any broken or damaged branches. Only hard prune a hardy hibiscus plant. For a tropical hibiscus, trim or shape the plant by removing awkward, long or broken branches. Cut the problem limb down to and just above the second or third node at a slant.
You can prune the plant again in late summer by snipping off any faded blooms and seed pods. Trim one-third of the branches down to the ground or to a node that is within 24 inches from the ground. Once the plant reaches 16 inches tall, prune it by half to encourage the growth of additional stems and fuller development. After pruning a plant, feed it with a 20-20-20 balanced, water-soluble fertilizer.