Many people ask when is the best time to prune shrubs? A good rule to follow is to prune shrubs after their bloom cycle. Shrubs are chosen for their colorful addition to the landscape as accents or foundation plants and to prune them while flowering defeats the purpose of the original design intent.
A few shrubs getting ready to be pruned in the next month are Brittle Bush, Valentine Bush and Lantana species. Here are the ways to rejuvenate these shrub species after blooming is complete.
Brittle Bush – in late spring, the yellow blooms will dry and drop seeds for the next growing cycle. The best way to prune this plant is to cut very low to the ground and rake up all trimmings to avoid having a breakout of too many plants of this species in your landscape. Left unchecked, Brittle Bush have been known to dominate landscapes by their prolific development of seed.
Valentine Bush – in late spring, the beautiful red blooms will dry and become unsightly. The best way to prune this tight growing shrub is to selectively open the plant with hand pruners and remove old wood within the plant to allow more sunlight to penetrate the interior of the plant. Do not shear into a ball as this plant will grow that way naturally and repetitive shearing will produce more damaged wood within the plant.
Lantana species – all species of Lantana are susceptible to frost damage. After the danger of frost has passed in mid-February, look for new leaf growth on the plant and trim just above the new growth. This will remove the dieback from frost and rejuvenate the plant for new emerging growth and blooms during the summer.
Remember to prune after bloom and your plants will thrive and produce wonderful color throughout their growing cycles.