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Shrubs Tips

Read these 63 Shrubs Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about English Garden tips and hundreds of other topics.

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How do I prune Kerria/


The Jew's Mallow is pruned during mid summer. Cut out the side shoots that have just finished flowering.

How do I prune my hardy Fuchsias?

Hardy Fuchsia.

Hardy Fuchsias, such as Fuchsia riccartonii, F gracillis versicolor, F. magellanica , F. "Genii",
F. "Mrs Popple"and F. "Phyllis" , to name but a few recognised hardy types are best pruned every year during early April by Simply cutting all the branches down to ground level.
The bushes will grow quickly from the base and flower at the normal time , but will be bushy and more compact.
Fuchsias , left to their own devices, can become overly large and flower at the tips of the branches. If you have such a plant do not hesitate to cut it back hard too, your reward is a rejuvenated bushy and more floriferous plant.

What are the best winter blooming hardy shrubs?

Mahonia "Charity"

Upright spikes of deep yellow, lily of the valley scented blooms during winter/ spring period. Good evergreen glossy foliage.
Will grow to 6 ft tall and will tolerate some shade. Plant in ordinary any garden soil in a position sheltered from cold winds.

How do I prune my honeysukcle vine?


The climbing Honeysuckles or Woodbines are best pruned after flowering. Prune out any branches that you do not require. Very old, neglected specimens can be heavily pruned during

How do I prune the Calico bush?


Kalmia latifolia, the Calico bush, does not respond well to pruning. All that is required is that the dead flowerheads be cut off in late June.

Which shrubs resist drought?

Carpentaria californica.

Carpentarias revel in full sun in any free draining soil. The white Rose of Sharon type flowers are borne en masse during June and July.
Grows to 10 feet is evergreen , does not require regular pruning and is easy to grow.
The downside is that Carpentarias are tender: they will take some frost, but not long periods of intense cold. Worth planting against a south facing wall.

How do Iprune Hibiscus?

Hibiscus syriacus.

Pruning is not really necessary, but overly- long, dead, diseased or damaged branches can be pruned off during spring.

What are the best winter blooming hardy shrubs?

Mahonia japonica.

Spreading spikes of lemon-yellow, sweetly fragrant blooms during winter/ spring period. Good evergreen glossy foliage.
Will grow to 6 ft tall and will tolerate some shade. Plant in ordinary any garden soil in a position sheltered from cold winds.

How do I Prune Cotton Lavender?

Cotton Lavender.

Cotton Lavender or Santolina, tends to become bare at the base after a few years. rejuvenate by cutting all the branches down to 3" in April. Prune this way every third year only, all other years trim off the faded flowers with hedge shears

When Do I Prune My Broom Shrub?


Cytisus are pruned immediately the blooms fade. Trim back the flowered stems by half using hedge shears. Do not cut back into the old woody stems as this can cause Premature death of the plant.
Prune Cytisus every year. This prevents them becoming overly tall and bare at the base.

How do I prune my Osmanthus bush?


Generally well behaved so other than removing dead branches in spring, pruning is not necessary.

How do I prune the red stemmed dogwood?

Cornus alba: The Red Stemmed Dogwood.

Only the young stems are brightly coloured so the shrubs are cut back to ground level each year in late March.

What are the best winter blooming hardy shrubs?

Hammemalis mollis "Pallida"

The Witch Hazel. Large growing shrub, good as a specimen. Spidery sulphur yellow flowers adorn the bare branches from December till March. Sweetly scented. Deciduous.
Plant in a sunny or semi-shaded position. Soil must be acid to neutral and well drained. 10 ft plus tall and wide.

When is the best time to move conifers?

Moving An Established Conifer.

If you need to relocate a conifer for whatever reason,the best times to do so are early fall and mid spring(April).
of the conifer, Make a vertical slit with a spade all the way round the conifer, about 18" from the trunk. Carefully lever the tree out, keeping the rootball intact.
Replant in the new location immediatly and water well.
If the conifer is quite tall, it is a good idea to stake it for the first year until it regrows anchoring new roots.
Water the transplanted tree during the first spring and summer, during dry spells.

How Do I Prune My Mock Orange?


Philadelphus or mock oranges are pruned immediately after blooming. Cut out about a third of the flowered branches.
Young Philadelphus often take a few years to settle down before blooming. Wait till they bloom before pruning and then do so every year.

When Do I prune Blue Spiraea?


Blue Spiraea or Caryopteris are best pruned every year in early April. Cut back all branches back to 2" from the base. This keeps the plants compact.

Which shrubs resist drought?

Romneya: The Tree Poppy.

The tree poppy has decorative blue/grey foliage and grows to around 5 ft tall. The outstanding feature is the large poppy-like white flowers that appear from mid July till October.
Buy a container grown specimen and plant during spring. Reasonable hardy but a cold winter will kill the stems down to ground level. New growth will appear from beneath ground level.

Prune during April by cutting all the stems down to 6".

How do I prune my Russian Sage?


The beautiful Russian Sage is pruned in April. Cut all the branches down to 6 inches.

My garden looks bare in winter, what plants should I add?

Plants To Add Year Round Structure to the Garden.

Your garden looks great in summer, fall and spring,but bare in winter.
The best gardens have a framework of evergreen architectural plants that look good all year, but especially in the bleak midwinter period.
Conifers are the obvious choice, but other great hardy shrubs that add maturity are:
Mahonia "Charity", Yucca filamentosa,Skimmia japonica"Rubella",Eleagnus pungens"Maculata",Prunus luscitanica,Prunus "Otto lukyen" Viburnum tinus, Fatsia japonica ,Arunindaria and Aucuba japonica "Crotonifolia"

Do I Prune Skimmia?


Skimmias are well behaved plants and pruning is not necessary

How do I prune winter Jasmine?

Jasminum nudiflorum.

Jasminum nudiflorum is pruned immediately after flowering.
Cut back all the side shoots during late March/early April.

What are the best berried shrubs to plant in the garden?

Berried Treasure.

Colorful berried shrubs add jewel like quality to the fall garden.Amongst the best are:
Aronia melanocarpa (the bear berry), beautiful shining black berries in September and October.
Pyracantha coccinea. Try the varieties Gold Charmer(yellow) and Mojave(orange )for a long lasting show.
Skimmia japonica"rubella" bright red fruits on an evergreen compact bush.
Leycesteria formosa, The patridge berry. Excellent drooping racemes of claret berries.
Berberis aggregata. Transluscent berries in orange shades.
Callicarpa bodieneri. The Beauty bush. Masses of violet colored berries.
Chaenomeles japonica.The japanese quince. Large longlasting perfumed golden fruits.
Cotoneasters:Many sorts try Cotoneaster bullatus for the large drooping bunches of red berriesor Cotoneaster lacteus for yellow berries that the birds don't touch.
Pernettya mucronata: Depending on the variety,large berries in shades iof pink and crimson.
Symphoricarpus albus:The snow berry. For a change try "Magic Berry" for purply pink berries.

How do I prune my tree peony?


Regular pruning is unnecessary for the beautiful Tree Peony. Cut out dead branches in April

What are the best winter blooming hardy shrubs?

Viburnum x bodnantense "Dawn"

Masses of tiny , pink tubular flowers in clusters along the bare branches. Blooms during mild spells all winter.Exquisitely scented. Deciduous.
Plant in full sun in ordinary garden soil . Up to 10 ft tall. Fully hardy.

How do I prune Erica carnea?

Erica carnea.

When flowering is over, usually by April/May, trim off the fading flowers.

How do I prune a Hydrangea?


Do not prune your Hydrangea until March and then only if you really need to.
Unlike many other shrubs,hydrangeas do not have to be pruned regularly,but if yours is old
You have two pruning options:
(1)Cut the entire bush down to around 6".....This will rejuvinate an old tired bush, but you will miss next summer's flowers.
(2) Prune one third of the bush down to 6", and another third in each of the following two springs.
by this method the result is the same but takes longer. The advantage to pruning over three springs is that you would not have a blank year with no flowers.

Until then, leave the old flowers on over the winter period , as they protect the dormant buds from frost damage.

The explanation for missing out on next summers flowers, if you use optin one is a simple one. the wood that your hydangea makes in the summer,flowers the following year, so basically you would be cutting off all the flowering wood.

Why does my Forsythia never flower?


We all love that golden flowered herald of the spring, the Forsythia, but many people have trouble getting them to flower at all.
If the bushes are very healthy , but never bloom, then the most likely cause is pruning at the wrong time.
Forsythias must only be pruned in April,thinning the bush by about one third.New branches then grow and ripen over the summer period. These flower the following spring.
If you prune Forsythias in winter, you effectively cut off the flowering wood and the end result is a non blooming bush.

How do I prune my pernettya shrub?


Generally no pruning is necessary., but you can shape the plant in June, by giving it a light trim with hedge shears.

What are the best winter blooming hardy shrubs?

Hammemalis mollis

The Witch Hazel. Large growing shrub, good as a specimen. Spidery, deep yellow flowers adorn the bare branches from December till March. Sweetly scented. Deciduous.
Plant in a sunny or semi-shaded position. Soil must be acid to neutral and well drained. 10 ft plus tall and wide.

Which shrubs resist drought?


Rosemary is the well known culinary herb that is at it's best in a hot sunny position.
The needle-thin silver foliage is adorned with tiny blue flowers in early summer.
As soon as flowering is finished, lightly shear over the shrub to keep it compact.

Do I Prune Pieris?


It is not necessary to prune Pieris , other than picking off faded flower heads

What are the best winter blooming hardy shrubs?

Viburnum farreri.

Clusters of small , fragrant, creamy -white flowers from late fall to spring. Deciduous.
Plant in full sun in ordinary garden soil . Will make 10 ft tall. Fully hardy.

Is there a silver foliage heather?

Silver Foliage.

Everyone knows the flames, yellows and oranges of the ornamental foliage heathers, but few are aware of the grey/silver forms. The flowers take second place to the foliage . Use as a contrast to the brightly coloured varieties. The best are:
Calluna vulgaris "Silver Knight" 12"tall. Upright growth. Pale mauve flowers.
Calluna vulgaris "Silver Queen" 18"tall. Spreading growth. Dark pink/mauve flowers.
Calluna vulgaris "Beoly Silver" 16"tall. White flowers.

Which shrubs resist drought?

Spartium: Spanish Broom

The Spanish broom grows to about 6 ft tall, has bright green rush-like stems and sweet smelling bright yellow pea-shaped blooms all summer.
Regular pruning is essential to keep this shrub in good shape. During March, cut all the whippy sidegrowths back to 1 " from the main stems and always remove the faded blooms.

When do I prune Lavender?


Lavenders are pruned in late summer. Simply trim off the faded blooms , being careful not to cut into the woody parts of the plant.
Prune Lavenders every year to prevent them becoming bare in the middle.

Which shrubs resist drought?

An Introduction To Shrubs that Enjoy Hot Dry Conditions..

In these days of global warming we are forever hearing of high summer temperatures being broken. If you have a hot,sunny border where nothing seems to survive unless you constantly use the hose, these shrubs may be the answer.
Plant during the spring and water well the first couple of summers to get them established, then forget and enjoy the display!
I have found all of these reasonable hardy here in the UK, which is equivalent to US zone 5.

How do I prune an old dogwood?

Cornus alba: Old Specimens.

Old neglected dogwoods tend only to have the top 12" or so coloured red. Not an impressive sight on a 7 ft. Shrub!
To rejuvenate, cut one third of the stems back to ground level each year over a three year period. At the end of this time all the old woody branches will have been replaced by young, well coloured branches. From the fourth year on cut all branches down to ground level

What is the best dogwood for my garden/

Cornus alba: The Red Stemmed Dogwood.

Cornus alba is a well known, indispensable, coloured bark shrub for winter display. It is not particular about soil type and will grow in sun or semi-shade. Unpruned it will grow to 7 ft tall, but annual pruning wil keep it at 5 ft.
The best varieties are:
Cornus alba "Aurea": Apart from red winter stems, this variety has golden foliage all summer.
Cornus alba "Elegantissima": Deep red winter stems and silver variegated foliage all summer.
Cornus alba "Sibirica": The best variety for stem colour; startling scarlet.
Cornus alba "Sibirica Variegata": Great winter colour. The best silver variegated Cornus. Cornus alba "Spaethii": Deep red winter stems. Marbled golden variegation in summer.
Cornus stolonifera "Flaviramea": Plant as a contrast to any of the above. Yellow/ lime green winter stems.

How do I prune my daisy bush?


Prune the Daisy Bush in midsummer. Trim off the faded flowers only. If winter damage or old age makes it necessary, the entire bush can be cut down in April but the shrub may take a couple of years to recover.

How do I prune my Lilac?


Lilacs are pruned immediately after flowering .Cut out weak and unwanted branches. Blooming is improved by cutting off the faded flowers (Or at least , those that you can reach).

Which shrubs resist drought?

Phormium tenax.

The New Zealand Flax is grown for it's sword-like evergreen foliage and triffid-like flower spikes. The ultimate height can be 8 ft. There are many coloured foliage varieties to be found, but none are hardy. The species survived minus 20 degrees centigrade with minimal damage.
Phormium tenax "Purpureum" comes through most winters unharmed. -20 degrees centigrade here left it badly damaged, but it recovrered in spring.

What are the best winter blooming hardy shrubs?

Hammemalis x intermedia "Jelena"

The Witch Hazel. Large growing shrub, good as a specimen. Spidery coppery-orange flowers adorn the bare branches from December till March. Sweetly scented. Deciduous.
Plant in a sunny or semi-shaded position. Soil must be acid to neutral and well drained. 10 ft plus tall and wide.

What are the best winter blooming hardy shrubs?

Lonicera fragrantissima.

Tiny white, fragrant blooms during mild spells late fall-spring. Deciduous.
Plant in full sun in ordinary garden soil.Up to 10 ft tall. Fully hardy.

How do I prune my smoke bush?

Cotinus: The Smoke Bush.

Cotinus coggygria, the smoke bush does not need to be regularly pruned. Unwanted or badly placed branches can be removed in Spring.

Which shrubs resist drought?


Genistas or Gorses make excellent plants for the hot dry garden border. Best in poor soil.
pruning is simply a case of trimming off the faded blooms.
Genista lydia: A wonderful spreading gorse that grows to 2 ft, but can be 5 ft across. Bright yellow flowers cover the arching branches in early summer.

Genista hispanica: The Spanish gorse makes a beautifully rounded shrub of around 3ft tall. the spiny growth is covered with sulphur yellow pea-like blooms during early summer.

How do I prune my tree Lupin?


The Tree Lupin is pruned during early April. Cut the entire plant back by one third of its height.

How do I prune Daphne?


Daphnes are best not pruned, but if you must remove oddly-placed branches, do it after the flowers have faded.

Which shrubs resist drought?

Santolina:The Cotton Lavender.

The cotton lavender is an attractive small, rounded grey foliage shrub which has small yellow button flowers during summer.
Old plants tend to flop over, but this can be overcome by pruning all stems down to ground level every third year.

How do I prune Lonicera tatarica?

Lonicera tatarica.

A summer blooming type of non-climbing Honeysuckle. Cut back side branches when flowers fade in midsummer.

Which shrubs resist drought?

The Hardy Yuccas

There are a few species of Yucca which are hardy down to minus 20 degrees centigrade. All revel in full sun and well drained soil.

Yucca filamentosa: A species that makes dense clumps of narrow foliage, which is edged witth curly white thread. The 6 ft flower spikes consisting of dozens of creamy white bell shaped flowers appear during late summer.
"Variegata" is equally hardy and has yellow striped leaves.
Yucca flaccida : Similar to the related filamentosa, however the leaf tips bend downwards.

What are the best winter blooming hardy shrubs?

An Introduction To The Best Winter shrubs..

Every garden should have at least one winter blooming shrub, preferably planted near to the house.
Most are surprisingly sweetly scented and will bloom during mild spells all winter.
During severe winters, the blooms open all at once in spring.
I have listed some of my favourites, that should do well in your home garden

How and when do I prune Kolkwitzia?


Prune the Beauty Bush during midsummer. As soon as the blooms have faded, cut back the side branches that have borne the flowers.

My Senecio "Sunshine" Is Very Straggly, When Do I Prune It?


Elderly Senecio often loose their shape and this is made worse by heavy snowfall. In April, cut all branches down to 6". Do this one year in three.

How do I prune my fire thorn?


Pyracantha, or Fire thorn bush can be pruned as soon as the flowers are over in early summer.
Trim off unwanted shoots, but be careful not to remove too much or you will spoil the autumn berry display.

How do I prune my Leycesteria bush?


Prune the Pheasant Berry during early April. Cut all the branches to ground level. (It will be 5/6 ft tall again by midsummer!)

How do I prune my Cornish heath.

Erica vagans: The Cornish Heath.

Erica vagans , the Cornish heath, blooms in summer. The russet coloured dead flowers look attractive over the winter months and can be sheared off in April. This keeps the plant compact.

How do I prune Mahonia?


The Oregon Grape (Mahonia aquifolium), and all the other types of Mahonia can be pruned during April. Simply remove badly placed branches and dead wood. Straggly old bushes can also be cut back hard at this time.

How do I prune my winter blooming honeysuckle?

Lonicera fragrantissima

A non-climbing winter flowering Honeysuckle. Cut back flowered side shoots early March.

What are the best winter blooming hardy shrubs?

Viburnum tinus.

Large clusters of fragrant, white blooms with pink flowerbuds. Late fall onwards. Evergreen
Best variety is "Eve Price"
Plant in full sun in ordinary garden soil . Will make 10 ft tall. Fully hardy.

Why are my Ericas, bare in the middle and what can I do?

Regenerating Old Ericas.

Young Ericas need to be lightly sheared over in late spring to keep them bushy and compact.
Old unpruned Ericas,often get bare from the center. How to regenerate? There are two good methods.

(1) During late spring, dig up that old plant, take out a new hole,twice as deep as the old one.Tie the branches together and replant your Erica deep enough to cover up the old , bare stems.
The old buried bare stems develop roots and the plant grows afresh.

(2) The other method is that, again in Spring, you make up a mix of peat and soil and fill up the bare centre of the plant.Place a brick on the mound and water the plant during dry spells.
The following spring you will find that the bare middle of the plant has rooted into the compost/soil mixture. The old Erica is now basically several new young plants , which you can sever and plant out in your heather garden.

Which shrubs resist drought?

Caryopteris clandonensis.

The blue spiraea is best planted in a position of full sun and in well drained soil. Clusters of fluffy blue flowers appear in late summer over the aromatic grey foliage.
Grows to 3 ft tall. Severe winters kill all the branches, but fresh shoots appear from below the ground. Pruning consists of cutting all the branches down to ground level each April.
"Arthur Simmonds" has lavender flowers. "Heavenly Blue" is deep violet.

How do I prune my Magnolia?


Other than removing dead wood, Magnolias are best not pruned. However, unwanted or badly placed branches can be removed as soon as the petals have dropped.

How do I prune Callunas?


Each year in early spring, trim off the previous years old flower stems. Do not prune into hard wood.

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Guru Spotlight
Heidi Splete