Pruning summer-flowering shrubs annually in spring gives a better flowering display that year. Pruning also keeps growth in check and improves overall plant health. Such plants fall into RHS Plant Selector pruning group 6.
This advice is suitable for any deciduous shrub that flowers from mid-summer onwards.
- Examples: Buddleja davidii, Caryopteris, Fuchsia, Perovskia, Spiraea japonica
When to prune summer-flowering shrubs
Shrubs that bloom after mid-summer usually produce flowers at the ends of the current season's growth, so pruning in early to mid-spring allows time for the new growth to mature and flower in the same year. Avoid pruning in winter, as it may lead to frost damage of new shoots.
How to prune summer-flowering shrubs
In early to mid-spring cut back the previous year's flowering stems to within one or two buds of the older woody framework. Also remove any thin, weak or dead growth.
Fuchsia may need cutting back to near ground level. This stimulates development of strong new growth on which flowers will be produced in late summer.
Pruning as early in spring as possible will give the maximum growing period for the young shoots. Evergreens require a slightly different approach.
After pruning, mulch and feed.
Overgrown shrubs may need renovation.