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How to prune spring-flowering plants


Spring-flowering shrubs, such as physocarpus, philadelphus, forsythia and weigela produce their blooms on the woody stems made in the previous year. Cut out these stems as soon as the flowers have faded (or by July at the latest) and leave the current season's new shoots to grow from the base. These are the stems that will carry the flowers next spring.

How to do it


Use secateurs to cut out all the woody, flowered stems. Prune back to just above vigorous green stems growing from low down on the plant.


For the thickest woody stems, or where shrubs have become very overgrown, use long-handled loppers or a garden saw to cut through the tough stems.

Our tip

Cutting back shrubs immediately after flowering spreads out the pruning so you don't have to do it all at once.

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Talkback: How to prune spring-flowering plants
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polly_tunnel 24/11/2011 at 15:28

Should I do this even if my shrub is young?
As all the stems seem green It flowered profusely this year and I don't want to do the wrong thing for next year.

ghepburnl 24/11/2011 at 15:28

This is the first time I have actually understood which stems I have to cut out - the WOODY ones! Previously, once the flowers had faded and disappeared, I didn't have a clue which ones I had to prune as there were no longer any flowers to guide me. Thanks.

catkins110 24/11/2011 at 15:29

i have a very over grown 'woody' Mexican orange blossom in my new inherited garden.. it really needs cutting back as it is starting to block my front door!! can i cut right back to bare wood? as it is only the outer part which is green as it has been very neglected!

MoJomi25 24/11/2011 at 15:29

What's the best way to prune an overgrown, neglected quince bush?
It is quite old, I think, but flowered beautifully these last few weeks.
Just moved into this garden and would love to give it a fresh start.

daryl fleming 22/02/2013 at 14:14

What season do i prune quince ? not pruned one before dont want to make a complete mess of it . Thanks

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