Purple and mauve buddleja blooms

What to prune in spring

Learn which plants should be pruned in spring, in our expert guide.

Spring can be the busiest time of year for gardeners. Once day length and temperatures increase, our plants surge into growth. In addition to soil preparation, seed sowing and planting, there is also plenty of pruning to be done. Dogwood, lavender and sea holly are just some of the plants that should be pruned in spring.

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Shrubs with colourful stems

Deciduous shrubs that benefit from hard pruning, include: Cornus alba, C. sericea and C.sanguinea; ornamental rubus; willows. Use a pruning saw to remove the previous year’s stems right down to the base. This will encourage strong, young growth that has the most vividly coloured bark.

Orange-red dormant stems
Orange-red dormant stems

Summer-flowering shrubs

Decidous shrubs that flower on new growth include: Buddleja davidii; French lavender; Lavatera; hebes. Use secateurs to cut back hard to reduce the size and tidy the shape. This will encourage vigorous, flowering shoots. Prune any shrubs that flower after July, in spring.

Purple and mauve buddleja blooms
Purple and mauve buddleja blooms

Herbaceous perennials

Plants with decorative winter seed heads or stems, include: deciduous grasses; sea hollies; sedums; thistles. Use secateurs to tidy perennials and ornamental grasses by removing seed heads and stems that were left for decorative purposes or as a winter habitat for insects.

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Spiky, blue thistle flowers
Spiky, blue thistle flowers

Winter-flowering shrubs

Evergreen and deciduous shrubs and climbers include: Lonicera x purpusii; Viburnum x bodnantense; winter jasmine. Use secateurs to deadhead and trim into shape. This will encourage new growth that will flower next year.

Yellow winter jasmine flowers
Yellow winter jasmine flowers