Some people prune their plants every day, whilst others never even consider it! However, it doesn’t have to be difficult or complicated to reach that middle ground. That’s why we want to help you learn how to prune the two most common plants in your garden.
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To do the cuttings, you will need:
- Pruning shears (Remember to get a left-handed or ambidextrous pair if necessary!)
- Pruning shears for trees
- Pruning Paint
- Plant fertiliser
Which plants do I prune?
This can be difficult to answer because, as a rule, not all plants need pruned, and when they do, the time in the year varies depending on the plant. This is because the main reason to prune a plant is to control growth and define the shape for the following season.
For example, Hydrangeas bloom on the buds formed in the previous year. If you take their cuttings in winter then you will remove these buds, meaning that throughout the year you won’t see a single flower.
Spring-flowering shrubs should be pruned in late June, after they have flowered. We recommend pruning larger shrubs quite hard, whilst giving the younger plants just a small cut at the back.
How to prune roses
Roses are pruned in spring to rejuvenate the plant and stimulate its growth. Remove all of the dead or dying stems, as well as those with a brown interior as this implies that the winter cold has frozen them.
Always cut above a bud that is growing towards the outside of the plant, at a height of around 5cm or 6cm above. This allows the sap to reach the bud as normal, fostering growth.
It is also important to remove any stems or twigs growing at the base of the plant, sometimes known as suckers. It’s highly likely that your rose has been grafted, and allowing these branches to grow not only leaches nutrients from the rest of the plant, but can also eventually kill the grafted part.
How to prune geraniums
Geraniums are pruned in late winter or early spring. This will strengthen the plant and remove the thick, unproductive stems that tend to spoil them.
Pruning geraniums is much more drastic, as you are reducing the plant almost to ground level. This can be difficult to come to terms with at first, but, remember that for each stem you cut, more will appear!
Remove any stems that are diseased or weak, and any others that obstruct the shape you want to give the plant. The more compact geraniums are, the better they look and the more flowers will bloom.
Don’t forget that from all of the offshoots you remove, you can take cuttings for new plants. Cut the stem on an angle, apply rooting powder, and sow them in a pot with new soil.
During the blooming period, remove any flower heads the minute they begin to wither. This will allow the plant to produce new flowers instead of wasting its precious nutrients on the creation of new seeds. Cut the heads at their lowest point, right where they join the main stem. This will activate dormant buds, which will begin to grow and form new buds.
Top tips on how to prune
- Don’t forget that a cut is basically a small wound that we’re creating on the plant. To prevent it from becoming infected, we recommend you use pruning sealer any time the cut has a diameter greater than 5mm. To use, apply the sealant to the cut area then spread with your fingers around the sides of the stalk. It’s a good product to keep handy not only when you are pruning, but also as a preventative measure in case of accidental breakage of our plants, grafts, or any damage caused by frost or hail. If you don’t have access to pruning paint then just make sure that you prune at the correct time of the year, as this will leave the cut to naturally heal itself!
- You also need to keep your pruning tools sufficiently well maintained.
One of the most important things to do is disinfect them with alcohol any time you are working on a plant that may be diseased. This prevents disease from spreading from one flower to another.
- Quality pruning tools will provide many years of service. Make sure to clean them thoroughly after use, and oil them if you’re using them a lot. I personally recommend going for the well known brands, as you will also easily find spare parts or replacements if needed, saving yourself the price of new ones.
- Last but not least, don’t forget to feed your plants. Especially if they’ve just survived the winter cold and now we’ve subjected them to stressful pruning.
We hope you rose to this occasion and will now help your flowers bloom!