Your Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) has the potential to turn into a beautiful and full shrub for your home. The only problem is making sure you prune it correctly so it can reach this stage.
Rose of Sharon is a hardy shrub that will come back year after year if you take care of it properly.
By trimming the branches the right way, you can get your Rose of Sharon into any shape you want and have a full shrub of flowers when spring rolls around.
Here’s how you can have healthy shrubs lining your home with color by pruning your Rose of Sharon.
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How to Prune Rose of Sharon
You can prune a Rose of Sharon shrub by cutting away the damaged or dead branches first, then any crossing branches. If there are any weeds at the base of the plant, cut those away as well. You can also prune the shrub to any shape you’d like.
Start Pruning with Dead or Damaged Wood
Before the start of a new season, your first step is getting rid of the dead or damaged branches. These branches are sucking nutrients away from the healthy parts of your Rose of Sharon.
Any branches that are suffering from discoloration, rotting, or appear brittle should be removed.
In order to have the healthiest Rose of Sharon shrub you can, you need to eliminate the pieces that are holding it back.
To do this properly, you’ll want to cut the dead or damaged branch as close to the larger connecting branch as possible. Try not to cut directly into the larger connecting branch to avoid causing damage to the rest of the shrub.
A pair of pruning scissors should be enough to cut most of the branches but the hardy ones will need a small pruning saw.
Also, you’ll need a pair of thick outdoor gloves. You’ll need protection against the thorns and thinner gloves will easily puncture.
Cross-branches are when one of the Rose of Sharon branches ends up overlapping another branch. Sometimes this can happen at the base of your shrub, but other times, this will happen to the branches in the outer layer.
These types of patterns in your shrub could cause a couple of problems. For starters, your shrub won’t look nearly as aesthetically pleasing as other shrubs in the neighborhood.
The other problem is there won’t be enough air flowing through the middle of the plant. Pests and diseases can thrive in plants that aren’t getting enough airflow.
In order to prevent your Rose of Sharon from getting too wrapped up in itself, you will need to cut the branches that are tangled.
You’ll want to choose the branch that is more twisted than the one that is more straight.
Cut the branch as close to the base as possible. For branches that are at the outer level of your Rose of Sharon, you want to cut the branches that are sticking inward.
Keeping the branches that are growing away from the plant will ultimately look nicer.
Get Rid of Stray Weeds
The more you prune your shrub, the more you’ll notice little stray weeds that grow near the base of your plant. These little “suckers” might not seem like they present a major issue but they can suck away any nutrients from your shrub.
The suckers are feeding off the roots of your shrub and cannot be dug out properly. Instead, you’ll need to maintain them throughout the growing season. Luckily, you’ll only have to cut them 2-3 times a year.
By cutting the suckers close to the base, you will give yourself a couple of months before you need to worry about cutting them again.
These little stays will grow primarily in the soil near the base of the plant but they can also grow near the soil on the main branches.
Reduce the Size
Rose of Sharon plants can continue to grow new branches and flowers every single year. The longer you leave Rose of Sharon to itself, it becomes more unruly.
That’s why it’s recommended to trim down your Rose of Sharon after each season. You don’t have to trim too much because the more branches you cut, the fewer flowers you’ll receive next season.
But you do want to shape the plant into your preference and promote the healthiest branches to keep growing.
You can prune a Rose of Sharon up to 1/3 its original size, but this is only recommended if your plant isn’t doing so well.
Usually, Rose of Sharon plants that have been growing for several seasons needs a good cut back to allow healthier growth.
Throughout the flowering season, you can continue to prune the size and shape of your rose shrub as you see fit. You can cut tall branches that need to be lowered in height or shape the shrub to fit its environment.
Frequently Asked Questions about How to Prune Rose of Sharon
What Time of Year Should You Prune Rose of Sharon?
The best time is between March and early May when the shrub is still dormant. If you prune too early, the plant could go into shock and its growth could be stunted.
Can You Overprune Your Rose of Sharon?
You cannot technically over prune your Rose of Sharon since it will recover when pruned to small sizes. The more you prune your shrub the longer it will take to reach large sizes and the plant will not produce as many flowers.
Is It Possible to Prune To The Ground Your Rose of Sharon?
You can cut a Rose of Sharon close to the ground, but it should only be done in early spring and if the plant has grown to unruly sizes. If you haven’t pruned your Rose of Sharon in several years, you will want to cut it down to 1/3 its original size within several inches off the ground.
Pruning Your Rose of Sharon
Prune your Rose of Sharon in early spring before the next blooming season. Cutaway dead or damaged branches, twisted branches, and any stray weeds.
You can even maintain your Rose of Sharon throughout the growing season so it fits your exact needs.
Daniel has been a plant enthusiast for over 20 years. He owns hundreds of houseplants and prepares for the chili growing seasons yearly with great anticipation. His favorite plants are plant species in the Araceae family, such as Monstera, Philodendron, and Anthurium. He also loves gardening and is growing hot peppers, tomatoes, and many more vegetables.