March is When The Hibiscus Can Be Trimmed Back

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Two years ago I planted a little hibiscus plant out behind my house. It grew quickly and flowers all the time with double flowers. Double flowers means each bloom is more ruffled looking with layers of petals as opposed to flat, 5-petaled flowers.

double orangea hibiscus flower

Hibiscus grow very well here in Florida, and this past winter was quite mild without any overnight temperatures dropping below freezing. At least not where I live. I never had to cover any plants and everything looks great. The chances of having a freezing night now are slim, so it’s safe to cut back outdoor plants that need it.

Orange hibiscus plant reaching the rooftop
My little orange flowering hibiscus is reaching the roof and needs a trim.

The reason you wait over winter before trimming outdoor plants in Florida is that frosts can kill off the branches. A tall plant may be trimmed up this way by nature, so to speak. If this hibiscus had frost damage, I would still be trimming it back but the lower part of the bush would be safe and green. Because of the mild winter and the fact that it flowers nearly all the time, I had to cut off perfectly good flowering stems loaded with buds.

Cutting back the hibiscus plant in March
The hibiscus plant – trimmed

Because I hate throwing beautiful flowers away, I kept a few flowering stems. Hibiscus do not make good cut flowers because they last only a day. This little orange bouquet had to be thrown out the next day. All the stems wilted and died.

The bush looks scrawny now, but I know that the trim will help it to branch out and gain a better shape. I trimmed away the long branches near the house hoping to get better air flow and keep bugs to a minimum. Last year I had Giant Whiteflies and aphids all over this plant.

Milk jug vase with orange hibiscus flowers and cuttings

I have spread Blood Meal around the base and gave it a watering with Fish Emulsion fertilizer. Hibiscus are easy to grow but a little help with nutrients will keep the leaves nice and green and the flowers bright and big. A healthy plant can withstand bug infestations better too. And the bugs will be invading soon.

For tips on growing hibiscus plants indoors, read this article at Nursery Live.

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