Woody plants, such as buddleia, that flower on the current season’s growth need to be pruned in early spring, when they’re coming into growth. This will encourage vigorous shoots and maximum flowers later in the season.
They’re not the only plants to prune for better flowers. Left unpruned, flower quantity will decrease, with blooms concentrated at the top of the plant. Cut these shrubs back every year to reinvigorate them, prevent them from becoming old and woody and to promote flowering at head height and below. It will also stop the plant becoming bare at the base, and create more space in your borders.
Discover seven plants to prune for better flowers and a more floriferous display, below.
Caryopteris bloom on the current year’s growth, so are well-suited to some hard pruning in spring, to encourage vigorous new growth and keep them looking tidy, for masses of autumn flowers. Do this by cutting down last year’s growth, to buds held on the old, woody growth. Also, don’t forget to remove any weak or diseased stems.
Blue blooms of caryopteris
Hardy fuchsias, including ‘Army Nurse’ and ‘Lady Boothby’, can be relied on to retain a framework of branches through winter. Prune them in early spring as new shoots are appearing, by cutting back each branch to a pair of buds, 7-10cm from the ground. Don’t grow fuchsias? Here are 10 varieties of fuchsia to consider.
A fuchsia in bloom
Despite their tropical associations, there are many varieties of hardy hibiscus that can be grown in the UK, such as Hibiscus sinosyriacum ‘Lilac Queen’. While they can be left to grow to the size of a small tree, you can prune them each spring in the same way you would rose bushes, to keep them compact and encourage them to produce more flowers.
A pale-pink hibiscus flower
With their large, open flowers, it’s no wonder lavatera are such good plants for bees. Some annual spring pruning helps to keep their shape compact and produce the best blooms. They flower on new growth, so all old growth should be cut down to around 30cm from the ground.
Mauve flowers of lavatera
A vigorous and easy-to-grow shrub, the pheasant berry (Leycesteria formosa) should be kept in check by hard pruning it in spring. Reduce all of the previous year’s growth to a framework of branches, close to the base of the plant. This will encourage strong new growth and produce a more attractive shape. Birds will love the berries, too.
A bee on the dark purple-red and cream flowers of pheasant berry
Perovskia, commonly known as Russian sage, are beautiful sub-shrubs that release a pleasant aromatic fragrance when brushed past. To keep them tidy and ensure masses of flowers, wait until the buds are coming into leaf, then prune right back to create a woody framework around 5cm from the ground.
Masses of stalks of Russian sage flowers
If you’re growing Spiraea japonica, you can encourage a compact, flower-packed shape by hard pruning it at the beginning of spring. Do this by cutting all old growth to create a woody framework, 10-15cm from the ground.
White blossom of Spiraea japonica