Texas Agrilife Extension Service
Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas

March, 2009

When to Prune Flowering Shrubs

by Dr. Douglas F. Welsh, Landscape Horticulturist
Texas AgriLife Extension Service

If a shrub is grown for its flowers, time the pruning to minimize disruption of blooming. Spring-flowering shrubs bloom on last season's growth and should be pruned soon after they bloom. This allows for vigorous summertime growth and results in plenty of flower buds the following year.

Erythrina bidwilli, Coral Bean Tree
Some examples of shrubs that bloom on last seasons's growth are:

  • Cercis canadensis - Redbud
  • Chaenomeles japonica
  • - Japanese Quince
  • Chionanthus virginicus
  • - Fringe Tree
  • Forsythia
  • spp. - all Forsythia species
  • Lonicera
  • spp. - Honeysuckle
  • Raphiolepis indica
  • - Indian Hawthorn
  • Rhododendron
  • spp. - Azaleas & Rhododendrons
  • Rosa spp.
  • - Rambling Rose species
  • Spiraea
  • spp. - early white Spirea species
  • Viburnum
  • spp. - Viburnum species

    Some shrubs that bloom after June usually do so from buds which are formed on shoots that grow the same spring. These shrubs should be pruned in late winter to promote vigorous shoot growth in spring.

    Examples of shrubs that bloom on current season's growth include:

  • Abelia X. grandiflora
  • - glossy Abelia
  • Buddleia davidii
  • or B. globose - Butterfly Bush
  • Hibiscus syriacus
  • - Shrub Althea
  • Hydrangea arborescens
  • - Hills of Snow
  • Hypericum
  • spp. - Saint-Johns-wort
  • Lagerstroemia indica
  • - Crape Myrtle
  • Rosa spp. - Bush Rose
  • Vitex agnus-castus
  • - Chaste Tree

    For complete information on pruning shrubs, consult our website at https://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu

    Earth Kind uses research-proven techniques to provide maximum gardening and landscape performance while preserving and protecting the environment. For more information on Earth Kind Landscape Management Practices see our web site: https://earthkind.tamu.edu