Advice on Old Woody Hibiscus

Foreverlad(9b - Tampa Bay)March 17, 2013

Hey all. Forgive me if I come off sounding really ignorant, I'm only just now studying up on Hibiscus and I don't have a lot of personal experience (yet) to work from.

On the border of my property, I have an old Hibiscus, President, as best I can tell. It had to be 5+ years old when I moved in. (all photos were taken this morning, 5/17/13)

Around Sept/Oct I pruned it back some, taking off most in-growing branches, cutting back on the legginess, and trying to promote some additional growth, but I wasn't sure how hard to prune, or how successful I would be, thanks to things like this:

Now spring is in the air, and I came back for a second look, and I don't like what i see.

The old girl still has life in her, but I was hoping for some advice.

  1. Is it worth hard pruning back to a foot or so in height and starting fresh?
  2. If so, how do I deal with horizontal stems growing from the ground?
  3. The bug situation, will it get better or worse if I cut back severely?
  4. I know it would be easier to start over with a fresh plant, but is there any benefit to trying to salvage this one?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.


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I do think hibiscus can take a hard pruning, being zone 6 I dont have much experience with outdoor tropical hibiscus, but I do have them indoors and out, when weather permits. I cut my rose of sharon (hardy hibiscus) really hard back anytime I don't like the growth trend or its all over the place. I do this also with my tropical hibiscus as it gets leggy and all over the place. Shape it into a couple main stems into the overall shape you want it to be. They can definitely take a pruning, also your hibiscus looks beautiful!

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 11:23PM
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Foreverlad(9b - Tampa Bay)

Thanks Delrey. I'm probably going to give the hibiscus a decent 1/3 trim and see how thick and lush it grows. It's about time to start fertilizing again, so the combination of a haircut and good meal should help determine how necessary a hard pruning will be. I'll give it a month or two before I do anything 'drastic'.

Thanks again


    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 9:52PM
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I do hope you use the cuttings to start new plants.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 9:26PM
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