Tuesday, March 10, 2009

How and When to Prune Caryopteris, Spirea, Butterfly Bush, Pee Gee Hydrangea, Annabelle Hydrangea, Smokebush, Elderberry

After the "in like a lion" March first snow, we were blessed with "out like a lamb" seventy-degree spring weather this weekend. The whole family spent every waking minute outside and I took the opportunity to do some of my late winter shrub pruning. In my zone (6b), early March is the perfect time to prune the shrubs that are grown either for (i) flowers that bloom on new wood or (ii) foliage that is more vibrant on new wood.
Some of the shrubs that I grow for flowers that bloom on new wood include caryopteris, spirea (pictured below), butterfly bush, pee gee hydrangea (pictured below) and annabelle hydrgangea. Some of the shrubs that I grow for foliage that is more vibrant on new wood includes smokebush (pictured below) and elderberry (or sambucas). As you can see in the pictures below, you can really cut these shrubs back significantly and by doing so, you will be rewarded with a greater number of blooms on your flowering shrubs and more vibrant color for your foliage shrubs.
Does pruning these shrubs really make a difference? Yes! Last year, I cut back only some of the spirea and the difference between the pruned and unpruned was quite noticeable.

Spirea before pruning
Spirea after pruning
Pee gee hydrangea after pruning
Smokebush after pruning


Shady Gardener said...

I can see I need to do a little work on my bushes! :-) Thanks.

RainGardener said...

This is good to know. We have Hydrangeas and Spireas too. My husband does prune them but I'll let him know he can do more.

Jake said...

Hello, just looking around, nice blog! I was so confused last year in KY if my Hydranga needed to be pruned or not, lol. I let it be and it grew new leaves on the old stems.


Anonymous said...

Thanks, for the info. I noticed your garden, rocks and plants look very similar to mine...that's because I live in Short Hills. I may start pruning today, before the rain starts! Congratulations on your webpage!


heirloomgardener said...


That's so funny! It's a small world.

-Heirloom Gardener

Search Heirloom Gardener



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