Blooms on new wood in summer? Cut away in spring!

Photos to speak for or enlarge on what we've written elsewhere.

Butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii)
Climbing rose
Shrub type "groundcover" roses ('Knockout'): Don't be shy when pruning roses!
Panicle Hydrangea (such as 'Tardiva', 'PeeGee', 'Limelight', 'Pinkie Winkie', 'Little Lamb')

Butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii)


Above: They were cut to the ground last spring, grew to 5' and bloomed from August 1 to the end of September on attractive straight stems.

Below: New branches came from 'way low on the plant. Stubs (arrows) just clutter the base and make the next year's cut harder.


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Climbing rose: Be tough when your prune a rose

We demonstrate on the miniature 'Red Cascade'. (Miniature means it has small flowers and leaves and is about 6' overall rather than 12'.)

We leave it with just a few well positioned, vigorous young canes. Blooms will come this summer on the side branches that sprout from these canes. Throughout the summer we'll keep those side branches deadheaded and they'll keep producing more blooms.

Below: Before the cut, after one cut to remove the oldest cane, the one-cut base with an arrow marking the stub left from that cut, and after final cuts to shorten and train remaining, young vigorous canes.

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Above, left: When the rose leafs out the horizontal orientation causes it to break -- develop side branches -- even low on the cane (arrows). So there will be bloom all along this cane, not only at the top.
Above, right: Snap off or rub out new canes to thin or eliminate excess new growth.

Shrub type "groundcover" roses: Pruning roses 101

We demonstrate on two individuals of the variety 'Knockout.'

Below: We first cut out the oldest canes and weak canes right at their base, then cut the remaining canes to remove the twiggy tips (we don't want thin, weak stems to be the lead growth since the bloom-bearing side branches they would produce would be even thinner).

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This planting of 'Knockout' had been pruned previously only to shear the tops. As a result, unproductive old wood had built up, crowding the center and shading new growth. In the future on this pruning regimen, husky new wood will be more plentiful. There may be eight canes remaining on each shrub after its spring cut, rather than only four or five.

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Below: Don't worry. They grow back. This is the same planting later that spring.


More: Pruning other "shrub" type roses and old roses, in What's Coming Up 88 .

Panicle Hydrangea (H. paniculata)

You may know this plant by a variety name, such as 'Tardiva', 'PeeGee', 'Limelight', 'Pinkie Winkie', 'Little Lamb'. These shrubs have conical clusters of white flowers after mid-July; the flowers may age to pink.

Below, left: Length of stem between the arrows is all new wood. That much grew after last spring's cut-back.
Complete cutback is not a necessity for these shrubs; we cut some individuals only to remove old wood. However, this individual does need a hard cut. That's because its species has the potential to reach 10-12 feet. We can't enjoy it in this spot unless we cut it hard.

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This shrub's bloom was not heavy last year, probably because spring came very early and stayed far ahead of all of us: By the time we got to this shrub per our normal schedule on April 1, it was not only not dormant but had been growing for almost a month. What grew back after our cut developed a little more slowly than usual, and was not so ready to bloom by summer's end.

This year the shrub and we are in synch. We expect it will not only grow back to its usual height from its stubs, but have more flowers.