How to pinch a hibiscus

Discussion in 'Woody Plants' started by lily, Jul 27, 2003.

  1. lily

    lily Active Member 10 Years

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    I have a tropical hibiscus given to me for my birthday last November. I've kept it indoors throughout the winter months. It is now on my balcony and has produced several buds. I would like to encourage it to become a little bushier and shape it a bit. I would like to knowif it can be pinched, if so how would you pinch a hibiscus as they are quite woody? Thank you for your help.
     
  2. HortLine

    HortLine Active Member 10 Years

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    Hello!

    Hibiscus actually isn't shaped by pinching, but by pruning. As a woody shrub, the hibiscus is pruned in the late spring, cutting main shoots back by about 1/3 and shortening the laterals to 2-3 buds (which is usually the equivalent number of leaves on the shoot). You did say that you have yours out on a balcony, so I'm not sure exactly how big it is, or how big you want to let it get. As a houseplant, it is recommended that you prune it severely each spring, to about 15 cm tall, shaping at the same time, of course. It should grow well after each pruning, regardless of which option you choose to take. In any case, be sure to remove all dead wood when you prune.

    Hope that helps!

    Regards,
    UBC Hortline
     
  3. lily

    lily Active Member 10 Years

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    Pinching Hibiscus

    Thank you very much. I'm happy to hear that I don't have to "pinch" that wood. LOL - My hibiscus is about 2 ft tall and is in a 10 inch pot. I intend to bring it indoors in the fall and put it outside each spring. I have no idea how tall they can get - do you? I would also like to ask what kind of soil and fertilizer is best for hibiscus. I love this plant and would like to get more. - I really appreciate all your help.
     
  4. HortLine

    HortLine Active Member 10 Years

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    Hello Lily,

    Hibiscus rosa-sinensis (Chinese or tropical hibiscus) can get to be 8 to 15 ft tall and 5 to 8 feet wide... which says to me that you are definitely going to be doing some heavy pruning! Hibiscus like to have good drainage... if you are looking to replant, I would recommend finding a medium that contains vermiculite and/or perlite, and doesn't contain too large a percentage of peat. I make sure that I don't water mine too often - let it dry out so that you need to dig your finger in about one joint (2-3 cms?) before it feels damp and then water. They don't really need anything special in terms of fertilizer... a general indoor plant food should be just fine. Incidentally, if you do just pinch out the tips of the stems in the spring and summer, while it is flowering, that should encourage more flower production.

    Please don't hesitate to give us any further questions!

    Regards,
    UBC Hortline
     
  5. lily

    lily Active Member 10 Years

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    I never imagined that hibiscus could get so big. Yes, I believe I'll be doing a lot of pruning. I love the big red blooms, even if they fall off in a day or so. I appreciate your tips on how to care for my hibiscus and have printed out so that I can refer to it. Thank you once again, for all your help. Just a thought... Are there any kinds of hibiscus that you would recommend that would be more adaptable to growing in Abbotsford, BC? zone 8b than in other geographical locations?
     
  6. Chris Klapwijk

    Chris Klapwijk Active Member 10 Years

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    Hibiscus syriacus (Rose of Sharon) would do well where you live with a number of cultivars to choose from.
     
  7. lily

    lily Active Member 10 Years

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    Thank you Chris, Rose of Sharon? Wonderful - I have heard of them and I'll see if I can get one. Thanks again.
     
  8. neilm

    neilm Member

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    Hello to all of you Hibiscus lovers:

    Well after having read some of the comments on repotting, pruning, I got up this am and took the bull by the horns, spoke to my hibiscus as to what I was about to do, it had grown out in the wrong direction, so while repotting it, I set it straigt up, cut a lot of it off, will probably play Bach all day to soothe it.!!!
    In any case I took the cuttings , dipped them in a hormone compound and put them in very damp soil,perhaps someone has tried this, and could tell me is this worthwhile?? no doubt time will tell!!
    I live in T.O. and will wait until the hibiscus is settled in its new state, then take it out on the balcony.
    Would appreciate any comments which may be helpful to me.
    Thanks!
    neilm
     
  9. Chuck White

    Chuck White Active Member

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    Neilm: Hi, To quote from L.H. Bailey,"The Nursery Manual", "Cuttings of green wood are commonly used, made in summer for hardy species or in early spring for tender ones. Cuttings of ripened wood may be taken in fall, and stored until spring in a rather dry place. Also increased by seeds, divisions, and layers. The variegated sorts do better if grafted on strong stocks". This was written in the original printing in 1896. Nothing has changed.
    I find I have greater success with "summer wood", (that older, less green wood just below the lighter green , newer wood). And yes, they root fairly easily. If you cut today, don't plant until tommorow. Let them calcify. Take most of the leaves off and if you leave a couple, cut them back to 1/4 of the original size. There are no roots to supply the leaves with food. The use of a rooting powder is good, tho' not too much. Tap the cutting to remove any surplus hormone.( They CAN have too much of a good thing).
    Hibiscus flowers are great on the table for a special decoration. Hibiscus flowers last one (1) day, in water or out of it,or on the plant. Take the flowers, stem and all, and just lay them on the table. No water needed. They will last all evening. And, this allows them to be 'casually strewn' on the table for a nice effect.
    Any hibiscus seeds planted today, with the myriad crossbred cultivars, will probably never give you what you planted the seeds to get. There are too many hybrids. Most likely, you would get an earlier variety,(Grandfather), if anything came up at all.
    It stands to reason that if you jamb your cutting into the potting soil, your rootig hormone will be scraped off. ALways use a dibble (a poke stick) to create a planting hole, then gently firm the soil around the cutting.
    Playing with plants IS exciting, isn't it? Good Luck, and enjoy!
     
  10. neilm

    neilm Member

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    Thanks Chuck:
    I had the good fortune of spending a weekend on the UBC Campus and stayed at the Gage Residence, great accomodations!, but the grounds were just awesome, such flowers rhodendenderons (sp) I had never seen such variety of colour!!
    Re Hibiscus it is doing very well, I cut, two of the cuttings have taken, the plant itself is going full blast leaf wise, and I await some buds/blooms, I have been removing "suckers" all the new growth starting hither an yon on the branches, and trust this is the proper procedure??
    Thank you for taking the time.
    neilm
     
  11. Chuck White

    Chuck White Active Member

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    Neilm; As long as the leaves are not wilting at the end of each day, the cutting is developing enough roots fast enough to cover itself. I wouldn't worry about 'suckers' until the plant is more well defined. Good Going!! ps. As with any new growth on a hibiscus, each new stemlet you take off takes that stems blossoms with it.
     
  12. neilm

    neilm Member

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    Never thought of that!!that's why I asked, thanks again Chuck!, by the way I live in Toronto, so the hibiscus is now out on the balcony in the sweltering heat I may ad, so I bring it inside, and baby it during the winter,with less sun exposure, however I is looking great and I believe it will do well.....!
     
  13. neilm

    neilm Member

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    Hey Chuck I just noted the dateline Florida, sorry I assumed you were at UBC,well if you have never been to Vancouver it is certainly worthwhile! Have a great Summer!
    neilm
     

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