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My "ceanothus"  flowers profusely in May & part June.  Healthy, sturdy, we've had it 3/4 years, grown in a pot (next to a jasmine idea on the one side & hydrangea the other (all in pots) It now looks like there anything I should be doIng to it, like pruning?  or do I just leave it like this & when do I prune it?   Does anyone know if any "special care" is required when pruning?(like where NOT to prune)  

sori don't know which variety it is......thankyou  



please, I need to know how & when to prune my rhododendron?  Can anyone out there please advise me?   It flowers "profusely" & has done for 5 years now, in its pot, giving us a fantastic & fabulous display of pale pink flowers.  It's now very very big, & needs a prune - I have never pruned it!  No idea how to go about it, and when & by how much?  Would really appreciate some advice & any tips.  thankyou  

Tads, as far as the ceonothus goes, if your'e happy with it's size then just cut off the flowered tips and let it get on with it, if not prune back to about 6 inches from the tip. As for the rhododendron, see the link below to the rhs, it's not difficult and they don't mind a hard prune. 


thankyou Dave.  One thing, on the ceanothus, lots of the leaves have turned crispy & brown & fallen off. It's only July, so am not sure this should be happening ? That's why I posted a closeup photo as well.....any ideas ? 

I'd repot it tads, sounds like it's pot bound and starving, pot into a third size larger pot or put it in the garden.

mmmn, thanx, think u r right... 


I have a ceanothus tree in my garden, last autumn I gave it a much needed thin out, mostly dead wood... Thinking I'd re shape it this year after flowering, then lost the main branch in a storm last winter... It seems to have coped surprisingly well and has new growth form the trunks that remain, but it needs the canopy taking back now to reshape it as quite leggy without the main canopy branch... When and how is the best time to do this please? 

Do it now Emma, there is still time for it to recover, I'd take a few cuttings as well, they root very easily, feed and mulch it as well, it will be fine. They are fairly tough although not very long lived, about 8 - 10 years is average.

Wow I must ha a record then, I've lived here 4 years and my neighbour reckons it's at least 20 years old! I will do it this week then, thanks for the advice Dave  

Ceanothus do not like being pruned yet they need to be in most gardens to keep them compact. They can suddenly give,up the ghost and die for no apparent reason.  Yep, they are usually a short to very short lived plant.  

Take too much off a ceanothus and it is likely to suffer die back. Better to prune annually removing flower stems on young wood.  

There is likely to be a difference of opinion re ceanothus .......I guess personal experience and successes/failures determine what advice is given.

Down here ceanothus grow well and big if they are allowed to.  But even these suddenly disappear after a few years.  

My feeling is they prefer slightly acidic soil, good drainage, sun and shelter from the coldest winds and frosts.  For me they are a temporary planting preferring varieties with smaller leaves like Concha.  Grown for 4 or 5 years and then discarded at first signs of die back

Agree cuttings are easy......taken from the host ASAP they will be nice size shrubs by the time the host is past it's best.

Thanks Verdun, what's the best way to root the cuttings and what sort of after care do they need Please? 

Woodgreen wonderboy

Oh good, they are short lived. I thought it was my incompetence!


I thought they didn't like being pruned but when I had some die back my neighbour suggested cutting it right back. So I did and it grew back. It was fine for a few years but now I've let it get swamped by bindweed so that's probably the end for it



I've never managed to keep one more than four years, except the deciduous one, Gloire de Versailles, which can be pruned. Mine always went crispy leaved then died, whether I pruned them or not. I always thought Dordogne winters are too cold for them.

Woodgreen wonderboy

The only one that has survived for me is deciduous. Last year I cut it back by 3/4's. Doing fine.

Hiya Woody

Funny isn't it?  A few years ago I helped a mate sort his little garden and he had a ceanothus ....  thyrsiflorus repens....that was growing into another plant.  It had grown into an odd shape amd he demamded it be tidied up. I warned him he could lose it if I cut it back.  However it responded  well and now looks fine. You can't always know but I think usually such a pruning would be disastrous for ceanothus 


Woodgreen wonderboy

It's also in a most unpromising position alongside a garage brick wall. 

My garden is 15 years old now and quite a lot of shrubs have need heavy duty treatment this year. Some are too big for their space. Some have disease or die back. etc, etc. So it's time for a big chop.

Emma just take a leading shoot and nip it off, about 6 inches, dip in hormone rooting powder and pop it into some compost. It will do equally as well if put straight into the ground, put it aside and almost ignore it apart from watering. Yes there is a difference of opinion re pruning, but all your'e doing is reshaping of the top. 

As for soil I've seen them do well in all types of soil, but sun is best. I've also seen them in very windy places and they still survive.

All I can say is if it's doing well where it is then just be happy for it. A happy plant is a healthy plant and age makes no difference if your'e happy.