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Old 02-03-2020, 07:50 PM
 
Location: Florida
2,542 posts, read 1,103,561 times
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All of my Hibiscus shrubs are about 5-6 ft. tall but very spindly. They are not full or bushy like I think they should be. They have several canes with very small leaves, but still flower. When I lived up North and had a problem like this with a shrub, I would cut it back severely and it would fill in as it grew back. Can I do the same with Hibiscus? If so, how far should I cut them back? I’m tempted to cut them to within 6” of the ground.
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Old Yesterday, 09:52 AM
 
Location: Coastal Georgia
38,724 posts, read 47,606,974 times
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I would cut them back severely now...maybe not 6”, but 12-18”. Have you been fertilizing them regularly with a properly balanced fertilizer? If so, perhaps you will not get a better outcome this time. If not, they will benefit from better nutrients. Fertilize on the holidays..St Patrick’s, Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day. If you do not know what they need, get a soil analysis from your county extension service. It will tell you what is lacking. Hibiscus is considered an acid lover, so something like Hollytone would be good.

I guess you know that up north, the soil is more loamy than the sandy soil in FL, so make sure you are adding organic matter to your beds.
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Old Yesterday, 10:44 AM
 
Location: Boydton, VA
2,663 posts, read 3,361,670 times
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Continue to prune for shape during the growing season...you may sacrifice some flower buds in the process, but in order to get a full looking plant, it needs to be pinched back.

Pruning hardy hibiscus

Rather than growing the hardy type in Florida where there are only limited colors available, try growing tropical hibiscus if your climate allows...there are so many beautiful colors available. My tropicals have to spend the winter inside by a south facing window.

Tropical hibiscus

available here

and here

Regards
Gemstone1
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Old Yesterday, 02:56 PM
 
Location: Out there somewhere...a traveling man.
40,242 posts, read 49,591,537 times
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Spindly usually means insufficient sunlight. Not enough info from OP to actually determine the cause.
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Old Today, 11:25 AM
 
Location: Florida
2,542 posts, read 1,103,561 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gentlearts View Post
I would cut them back severely now...maybe not 6”, but 12-18”. Have you been fertilizing them regularly with a properly balanced fertilizer? If so, perhaps you will not get a better outcome this time. If not, they will benefit from better nutrients. Fertilize on the holidays..St Patrick’s, Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day. If you do not know what they need, get a soil analysis from your county extension service. It will tell you what is lacking. Hibiscus is considered an acid lover, so something like Hollytone would be good.

I guess you know that up north, the soil is more loamy than the sandy soil in FL, so make sure you are adding organic matter to your beds.

Thank you for your response. I must admit that I haven't given them the attention they need. When we moved in 3 1/2 years ago they were better looking than they are now, so no doubt they are suffering from neglect. I guess I've spent too much time on other ares of the landscape and now that everything else is looking better, the hibiscus really stand out. For the wrong reasons.


Everything else in the beds is growing and is full and lush, so I know the soil is good for those other plants. I'll look into some good quality fertilizer made specifically for Hibiscus.
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Old Today, 11:27 AM
 
Location: Florida
2,542 posts, read 1,103,561 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wit-nit View Post
Spindly usually means insufficient sunlight. Not enough info from OP to actually determine the cause.

I have two beds that contain Hibiscus. One faces West and the other faces North. No overhanging trees to block the sunlight.
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Old Today, 11:29 AM
 
Location: Florida
2,542 posts, read 1,103,561 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gemstone1 View Post
Continue to prune for shape during the growing season...you may sacrifice some flower buds in the process, but in order to get a full looking plant, it needs to be pinched back.

Pruning hardy hibiscus

Rather than growing the hardy type in Florida where there are only limited colors available, try growing tropical hibiscus if your climate allows...there are so many beautiful colors available. My tropicals have to spend the winter inside by a south facing window.

Tropical hibiscus

available here

and here

Regards
Gemstone1



Thank you for the post as well as the links. I'm in zone 10 so I'll see what else is available for my area should I need to replace the ones I currently have.
Thanks again.
Edit to say now that I think about it, I'm not sure if what I have are Hardy Hibiscus or Tropical Hibiscus. They were here when I bought the home. Is there a way to tell by looking at the plant?

Last edited by Ron61; Today at 11:32 AM.. Reason: Added info
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Old Today, 11:33 AM
 
Location: Coastal Georgia
38,724 posts, read 47,606,974 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron61 View Post
Thank you for your response. I must admit that I haven't given them the attention they need. When we moved in 3 1/2 years ago they were better looking than they are now, so no doubt they are suffering from neglect. I guess I've spent too much time on other ares of the landscape and now that everything else is looking better, the hibiscus really stand out. For the wrong reasons.


Everything else in the beds is growing and is full and lush, so I know the soil is good for those other plants. I'll look into some good quality fertilizer made specifically for Hibiscus.
Upon reflection, why don’t you just try fertilizing and mulching this year. Maybe you don’t need to cut them back.
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Old Today, 01:40 PM
 
Location: British Columbia ~🌄 ☀️ ♥ 🍁 ♥ ☀️🌄~
8,429 posts, read 7,261,312 times
Reputation: 17279
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron61 View Post


..... I'm in zone 10 ......


Edit to say now that I think about it, I'm not sure if what I have are Hardy Hibiscus or Tropical Hibiscus. They were here when I bought the home. Is there a way to tell by looking at the plant?

To ID them can you post some photos of the plants? Take some photos from a slight distance to show the whole forms of the plants from top to bottom as well as their distances from each other, and some from close up to show the size, shape, colour and condition of the leaves and flowers and the colour and condition of their bark.


.
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