Two plants that will ‘fail to bloom’ or face ‘stunted’ growth if pruned now

Two plants that will ‘fail to bloom’ or face ‘stunted’ growth if pruned now


Pruning is an essential aspect of plant care since it helps plants grow more vigorously by removing old or diseased stems and branches. 

Pruning encourages new growth, but “timing is the key” when it comes to pruning, according to Vladan Nikolic, plant expert and founder of the houseplant care blog Mr. Houseplant.

He claimed that while summer may appear to be an ideal time for pruning, there are some plants that “should not be pruned” during this season. 

The expert said: “Deciduous plants shed their leaves and send food reserves to their roots during the winter. 

“If you prune them in winter or spring, they will have plenty of resources to regrow and establish a healthy and sturdy root system.

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“However, if you prune these plants in summer, you are removing these food reserves, which will have a negative impact on the plant’s health. 

“The plants won’t store enough nutrients for the next season, and as a consequence, they may fail to bloom or their growth will be stunted.”

Vladan claimed that shrubs that flower from June to October generally shouldn’t be pruned during the summer. 

Instead, their “optimal time for pruning” is from late winter to mid-spring, before flowering. Here are two plants that gardeners shouldn’t prune during the summer.

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1. Shrubby cinquefoil (potentilla fruticosa)

Potentilla, commonly known as shrubby cinquefoil, is a low-maintenance ornamental flowering shrub that stays compact and blooms throughout the summer. 

There are many different variants of the species, which come in many bright colours, including orange, red, and white. Potentilla is known for its hardness and adaptability to different types of soil.

For “optimal growth and flowering”, gardeners should prune one-third of the plant back, but only in late winter. 

The expert noted: “Pruning at this time will also help with shaping the shrub. You should avoid pruning once the flower buds start to form, or you risk losing flowers.”

2. Hydrangeas 

Hydrangeas are well-liked flowering shrubs with big vibrant blooms and lush foliage. It has a wide range of flower colours to choose from, including white, blue, pink, purple, and green. The majority of hydrangeas bloom from June until the first frost.

Determining when to prune a hydrangea depends on whether it is flowering on old wood (growth from the previous season) or new wood (growth from the current season). With hydrangeas, some species bloom on old wood while others bloom on new wood.

Hydrangeas blooming on new wood (panicle and smooth hydrangeas) should be pruned in late winter or early spring just before new growth begins. 

Whereas, hydrangeas blooming on old wood (bigleaf, oakleaf, mountain, and climbing hydrangeas) should be pruned “as soon as the flowers fade”.

Vladan warned: “Pruning new wood hydrangeas in the summer can reduce flower production for that year. So it’s best to prune them in late winter or early spring for optimal flowering.”

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