Hibiscus is one of the most popular ornamental trees. If you keep it as a hedge, proper pruning is an important aspect of care. Here you can find out when and how to cut your hibiscus hedge for best results.


One of the most important points when cutting a hibiscus hedge is the right time. Please note the ban on pruning woody plants such as the garden marshmallow (Hibiscus syriacus) in Section 39 of the Federal Nature Conservation Act (BNatschG). For reasons of animal and bird protection, the radical pruning of hedges and bushes is prohibited from March to September.

For the (permissible) pruning, early spring is recommended, even before they discover the new shoots. This is usually an appointment in February. It is best to choose a day with the following characteristics so that the marshmallow hedge is not damaged by the weather:

  • Minimum temperature: -5°C
  • Weather: cloudy
  • ideally without precipitation
Note: You must keep to the same period if you decide to use an almond tree (Hibiscus mutabilis) as a hedge. This species also grows densely and can therefore be used as a fence or border.

tools and utensils

In order for you to succeed in the cut, it is important to use the right equipment. The following list provides you with a comprehensive overview:

  • Rose Scissors
  • hedge trimmer
  • optional: electric hedge trimmer (for large hedges)
  • garden gloves
  • stool or stepladder
  • bricklaying cord
  • Rechen
  • Roll size
Tip: Since hibiscus hedges can reach a height of up to two meters, the use of a telescopic handle is also recommended. This makes it easier to cut the top third.

make preparations

In order to be able to implement the hedge cut as effectively as possible, you must first mark out the height. With hibiscus hedges, the annual pruning amounts to a third. This means that not too much is removed and the marshmallow can then grow densely over the following months and form numerous flowers. To mark out the height, simply use the mason’s cord, which is stretched along the length. To do this, you must first measure the height of the hedge with a tape measure. The top third can then be staked out. The following is an example of a 1.5 meter high hedge:

  • Total height: 150 cm
  • one third is 50 cm
  • subtract from total height
  • Tension the cord at 100 cm
Note: Depending on the style you want (e.g. wild hedge), you do not have to keep the exact height with a hibiscus. The string is just a guide so you don’t cut too much.

Cutting the hibiscus hedge: instructions

Once the preparations are complete, you can start cutting. If you are the owner of a large or wide hedge, it is often worthwhile to do the pruning together with another person. The following steps will help you trim the hibiscus hedge properly:

  1. When pruning and maintaining a hibiscus hedge, start directly from above after staking out the height. If you cannot reach the top third of the hedge, use the telescopic handle.
  2. Always cut in small increments. That is, one layer at a time until you get just above the masonry line. This will prevent you from losing too much material, which could negatively affect the vitality and shape of the hedge.
  3. Once you’ve trimmed the height, now is a good time to start shaping. If you prefer a neatly trimmed hedge, shorten the width of the shoots a little. Make sure, however, that you only remove branches and twigs that protrude outwards. This gives the hedge an attractive look.
  4. If the hedge has been trimmed thoroughly, you should once again check the entire hedge for shoots and branches that need to be removed. This means above all sick, withered, broken or torn ones. These are cut off directly on the branch or trunk with rose scissors. This thins out the hedge more.
  5. Finally, rake up the green waste and dispose of it. Either organic waste (in small quantities) or a recycling center is suitable for this.

Radical pruning: how to

In addition to the annual care cut, a radical pruning is often necessary for old or neglected hibiscus hedges. This protects the marshmallow from permanent senescence or enables rejuvenation, which has a positive effect on the abundance of flowers. Bared hibiscus hedges suffer greatly from flower loss. Use the same tools for the radical back cut and taper cut. It is also cut in February. The following guide will walk you through the process:

  1. In contrast to the annual care cut, the hibiscus hedge is shortened by two thirds with a radical cut. A 1.5 meter high hedge is only 50 centimeters high after pruning. Here it is also helpful to use a mason’s cord.
  2. Start trimming the hedge from top to bottom. With radical pruning, you can proceed a little more roughly, as you have to remove a lot of plant material. Cut off all shoots and branches to stimulate growth.
  3. The aim of the radical cut is to shorten the hedge down to the main trunk. In this way, unnecessary and energy-sapping material is removed. Above all, the amount of dead wood is reduced, which has a positive effect on new growth and flowering.
  4. As soon as you have shortened the hibiscus hedge accordingly, you can also cut off diseased, broken or dried branches. Then dispose of the clippings and care for the hedge as usual from the new season.
Tip: If your marshmallow hedge suffers from a bad location, you should avoid the radical cut. As an alternative, you should instead carry out a thorough grooming cut annually.

frequently asked Questions

Yes. With a gentle trapezoidal cut you improve the vitality of hibiscus hedges, which often have to struggle with a lack of light. To do this, cut the top of the hedge downwards at a slight angle to remove extra plant material. As a result, the lower part of the hedge receives significantly more sun, which has a positive effect on growth.

Despite the restrictions on pruning trees, you can carefully remove individual shoots outside of the permitted period. These include, for example, sick or cross-growing. You just have to be careful not to disturb or injure nesting birds or resting animals.

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