Prune shrubs for more flowers

Pruning a shrub stem on a slant, just above an outwards facing bud

Summer-flowering shrubs such as buddleja, hardy fuchsia, spiraea, lavatera, hibiscus, caryopteris, leycesteria and perovskia are best pruned in spring. They flower on the current season’s growth, so pruning them in early spring, when they come into growth, encourages vigorous shoots and abundant flowers later in the season.

Find out about the best tools for pruning.

Pruning in spring also opens up the plant and reinvigorates it, encouraging strong new shoots to grow from the base.  This prevents the plant from becoming old and woody and bare at the base. If left unpruned, plants will form a tangled mess of stems, and all the flowers will be concentrated at the top.

Follow our advice on pruning for in spring for maximum impact in summer.

Encourage more flowers

Use secateurs to remove the weak, overcrowded and damaged shoots first. This lets you see which strong shoots to keep to make up the main framework. Cut old, weak or dead stems down to ground level. This will stimulate the growth of vigorous new shoots from buds hidden at the base of the shrub.

Pruning the stem of a shrub down to ground level

Prune to an outward-facing bud

Prune strong stems to an outward facing bud. Cut just above the bud at an angle.

Pruning at a slant just above an outwards-facing bud

Pruning in spring will also help to shape your shrub. Aim to create an open framework of well-spaced stems to keep the shrub productive. Aim for a well-spaced network of stems.

A shrub shaped nicely by pruning to create an open framework of well-placed stems

Mulch around the base

After pruning, apply a generous layer (5-10cm) of mulch around the base. Use well-rotted manure or garden compost. This gives the plant a boost and promotes flowering.

Discover five types of plant to prune in spring.

Handfuls of well-rotted mulch

Exceptions to the rule

Exceptions to this rule are the taller spring- and early summer-flowering Spiraea thunbergii, Spiraea cinerea ‘Grefsheim’ and Spiraea nipponica ‘Snowmound’, which should all be pruned in midsummer, after flowering.

Carts

Accessories

Flower Seeds

Composting

Choosing the right fruit trees for your climate
How to harvest herbs: How and when to harvest homegrown herbs
what weed is it? putting names to pesky plants
Georgia’s Farming and Gardening Sector: Top 10 Easiest Veggies to Grow [Infographic]
15 Garden Trends To Avoid in 2024: Experts Warn Against These Outdated Designs
How To Overwinter Ollas For Years Of Use: Get More From Irrigation Pots
How To Grow An Indoor Lemon Tree
No-Till Cover Crops: How To Grow Healthier Soil Over Winter
How to grow a walnut tree
Win a garden makeover, worth up to £25,000!
How to grow and care for Leyland cypress
Win a £100 voucher for The Lawn Pack
Quick Tip: Save Your Seeds
Quick Tip: Plant Where You Can Easily Water
Quick Tip: Don’t Work Wet Soil
Quick Tip: Focus on Soil Drainage When Starting a Garden
Top 6 Struggles of Growing Herbs Indoors (w/ solutions)!!!??? // Garden Answer
Top 5 Beginner Tips For Apartment Gardeners Aja Dang Epic
How To Grow Tomatoes Indoors
How To Care For Indoor Plants + GREENIFY YOUR SPACE
How to Grow Vegetable Seedlings
Try it now | How to grow Bean Sprouts in the fastest and easiest
Try it now | How to grow Bean Sprouts in the fastest and easiest
Biggest & Thickest Buds on Cannabis using This Organic Hardener & Sugars
Biggest & Thickest Buds on Cannabis using This Organic Hardener & Sugars
MY SECRETS TO BIG MONEY PLANT (POTHOS) | MONEY PLANT CARE TIPS - COMPLETE GUIDE
MY SECRETS TO BIG MONEY PLANT (POTHOS) | MONEY PLANT CARE TIPS – COMPLETE GUIDE