Part of the Summerific series of hibiscus, “Cranberry Crush” (Hibiscus hybrid var. Cranberry Crush), was introduced to the market in 2009. A hardy hibiscus, it grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 through 9. “Cranberry Crush” will reach 3 to 4 feet in height at maturity and bears deep scarlet, 7-to 8-inch flowers with ruffled petals.
Use bypass pruners, or secateurs, for delicate pruning, and anvil pruning shears to remove dead or tougher wood. It’s important that the tools are clean and sharp to avoid transmitting disease or causing injury to the “Cranberry Crush.” Clean all the dirt off your pruning shears before sterilizing. Household disinfectants, rubbing alcohol and bleach make suitable disinfectants, although some are more corrosive than others. A general rule of thumb is to use 1 part of household bleach in 3 parts of water and allow the tools to soak for one or two minutes.
Spring is pruning time when it comes to “Cranberry Crush.” Hardy hibiscus plants tend to bloom later in spring, so don’t wait until you see buds; prune when you see new shoots growing from the soil. This typically occurs when air temperatures remain above 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Remove flowers as they fade during the growing season by snipping them off just behind the flower head. The amount of seasonal pruning you’ll need to do depends on how cold the winter was. If the “Cranberry Crush” is mostly dead wood in spring, wait until you see new growth sprouting from the crown and then cut each of the old stems to within 2 to 3 inches of the soil.
Pruning to Tree Form
“Cranberry Crush” makes a lovely standard, but it takes several seasons to create. The hibiscus needs a strong main stem with a growing tip. If you’re shopping for a new plant, avoid purchasing one without the growing tip.
Cut off all other stems and stake the main cane. Use plant ties to tie the “Cranberry Crush” to the stake as it grows. Cut off any shoots that develop until the main cane is to the desired height. At that point, allow shoots at the top of the plant to develop but keep removing new growth beneath this.
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