Prune your plants in spring: find out which species require cutting

Ah, spring! This season of rebirth where nature seems to awaken from a long winter sleep. You are there, hands in the earth, nose to the wind, ready to take care of your garden. But before you dance the shears and play Edward Scissorhands, do you know which plants really need spring pruning?

In this seasonal horticultural guide, we’ll delve roots and souls into the art and science of spring pruning. Don’t forget, dear gardeners, a well-made cut is the promise of brilliant flowering and healthy garden throughout the year. So, sharpen your blades and get ready to discover the secrets to successful pruning!

The right tools for effective spring pruning

To get started, equip yourself with the essential tools. A voucher shears will be your companion for the majority of tasks, while hedge shears will allow you to overcome tougher branches. Don’t forget one rack pruner for thick branches, and perhaps a pruning saw if trees are on the agenda for your spring pruning.

It is crucial that your tools are clean and sharp to avoid damaging your precious plants. Clean, precise cuts will ensure rapid healing and reduce the risk of disease and infestation.

Prune summer flowering shrubs

THE summer flowering shrubs such as buddleia (butterfly shrub), hardy fuchsia, spirea, perovskia, hibiscus, cottoneaster, Indian lilac, cinquefoil and caryopteris, adorn themselves with their most beautiful flowers on the shoots of the ‘year. By pruning them early in spring, you encourage the growth of new stems that will bear the season’s flowers. Pruning just before their active growth resumes will give them plenty of time to develop vigorously and offer you spectacular flowering in summer.

Freshen up woody herbs

Herbs like lavender, THE thyme, THE rosemary, there sage, L’oregano and theartemisia can, without proper pruning, take on a lanky and shabby appearance. Once the risk of frost has passed, observe the appearance of new shoots to intervene with your secateurs. This annual pruning is the key to maintaining an herb garden that is as pleasing to the eye as it is to the puck.

Watch out for herbaceous perennials

The cut of herbaceous perennials is often subject to debate. Some gardeners opt for fall pruning for a neater garden, but leaving plants in place over winter provides food and habitat for wildlife. If you didn’t prune in the fall, do it in the spring so that new growth isn’t hindered by last year’s debris. Sedum, aster, rudbeckia, heuchera, echinops, foxglove, perennial geranium and penstemon are examples of perennials to prune back in spring.

Spring flowering shrubs

THE spring flowering shrubs such as honeysuckle, forsythia, weigela, witch hazel, kerria, flowering gooseberry and lilacs, flower on the previous year’s wood. Prune them after flowering to stimulate the development of new shoots which will bear flowers the following year. This is also an opportunity to remove dead, diseased or damaged branches and restore a harmonious shape to the shrub.

Deciduous grasses and rose bushes

THE deciduous grasses such as miscanthus, pennisetum, calamagrostis and panicum provide texture and visual interest in winter, but require good pruning in early spring for a fresh start. Cut them about 15-30cm from the ground, being careful not to damage their crowns.

For the rose bushes and the hydrangeas, you have to pay attention to the type. Prune shrub roses in spring, but not climbers or trailing ones. Concerning hydrangeas, the large-headed (mophead) and lacecap (lacecap) varieties are pruned in spring, while the climbers wait until summer.

And after the cut, room for growth

By pruning, you not only give your plants an aesthetic shape, you also encourage their growth and flowering. From shrubs to herbs, from perennials to grasses, each stroke of the pruning shears is a promise of renewal for your garden. So, put on your boots, put on your gloves and make your green space a living work of art. Good pruning and your gardens!


Which summer flowering shrubs should I prune in spring?

Shrubs that flower in summer should be pruned in spring. This stimulates the production of new shoots which will bear the season’s flowers. Examples include buddleia (butterfly tree), hardy fuchsia, spirea, perovskia, hibiscus, cotinus (wig tree), crepe myrtle, cinquefoil and caryopteris.

How to prune woody grasses in spring?

Woody herbs such as lavender, thyme, rosemary, sage, oregano and artemisia should be pruned in spring after the last frost, once new growth begins to appear. This helps rejuvenate the plant and encourage the production of new, productive shoots.

Should I prune herbaceous perennials in spring or fall?

Herbaceous perennials can be pruned in the fall for a tidy garden or left in place to benefit wildlife in winter. Those not pruned in the fall should be cut back in the spring to allow new growth to develop unhindered. Examples include sedum, aster, rudbeckia, heuchera, echinops, foxglove, perennial geranium and penstemon.

When should you prune spring flowering shrubs?

Shrubs that bloom in spring, such as lonicera, forsythia, weigela, witch hazel, kerria, flowering currants and lilacs, should be pruned just after they finish flowering. This allows them to develop new shoots which will bear flowers the following year.

How to prune deciduous ornamental grasses?

Deciduous ornamental grasses such as miscanthus, fountain grass (Pennisetum), calamagrostis and panicum should be pruned in spring, after the risk of frost but before new shoots emerge. Simply cut them back about 15 to 30 cm from the ground, being careful not to damage the crown of the plant.

Which rose bushes and hydrangeas should I prune in spring?

For roses, shrub varieties should be pruned in spring, while climbing roses and lianas should be avoided. Concerning hydrangeas, mophead and lacecaps are pruned in spring, while climbing varieties are pruned in summer. It is important to know the specific type before pruning.