You’re probably getting tired of hearing about my hibiscus — the one I found in a dumpster, the one that limped through the winter, the one that is my mascot for Lent. (Yes, those would all be the same plant.) I’m sorry. I just can’t help it.
I’ve been watching these tiny leaves emerging on the plant for weeks, and it’s been a slow process, like watching – er — grass grow… And then finally there were a few little buds. I’m still dying to know what color the flowers are. But looking at the plant from a distance a few days ago I suddenly realized that it was top-heavy, with big leaves at the end of almost spindly branches. And I knew. I knew I had to prune it.
Why hadn’t I seen it sooner? I was raised by a father with not one, but two whole green thumbs. It was a tradition for us to prune back the roses every New Year’s Day to a third of their size. Come spring they were bursting with new growth, and by summer the whole plant was sturdy, healthy, and full of perfect blooms. I know well the power of pruning, and yet I couldn’t stand the thought of taking a pair of shears to my beloved hibiscus.
After a few days I conceded to myself that there was no way around it. I was going to have to do it. Those buds that held the unknown petal color? Lopped. Gone. Nada mas. It was probably only six inches all around that I trimmed off. All the old leaves save one or two were nixed. In the end, the plant looked like some sticks in a pot with a few green polka dots on them. It was a bit pitiful looking, but I knew it was the right thing to do.
Only a few days later, and all those little green dots are actual leaves – and that’s even with it having spent a good chunk of time indoors due to all the thunderstorms we’ve been having. There are even more buds now than there were before and it is much more balanced. I wonder what it will look like next week.
Don’t fear the shears.