Pruning Philadelphus – Part 2

Last year, following Great Uncle Hamish’s principles (or rather, not following them), I hacked back an overgrown philadelphus, as described in this post. Recently I took up the secateurs again to do a bit more work on the same bush. Once you start pruning philadelphus, it is as well to continue from year to year, or else your good work goes for nothing as new shoots rapidly fill in the gaps you have made. Since it is yet another garden task to add to the list, it may be as well to leave your shrub alone unless it has outgrown its welcome or is looking constipated. But if you are going to prune it, soon after it has finished flowering is a good time to do it.

I started by cutting out weak new shoots from the middle of the bush, to make room for light and air to get in. Pruning usually has the effect of stimulating the shrub to produce new shoots from the base of the plant, and it is as well to leave these unless they are going to get in the way.

Some of the old wood I had shortened last summer had only produced feeble new growth. These I cut right back, being careful not to destroy any good growth higher up as I pulled the branches out.

Branches that had produced flowers this year, I shortened to where new shoots had broken from the wood. Sometimes this is quite low down; at other times it is just below the old flowers.

There is plenty of new growth coming away from the wood I cut back last year. This will flower over the next two years.

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2 thoughts on “Pruning Philadelphus – Part 2

  1. Thanks for the timely reminder– must prune those philadelphuses– but then I’m getting out the ouija board and telling Great Uncle Hamish what you did.

  2. My Philadelphus are ok at the moment, but I gave your treatment earlier to Sambucus Black Lace which had grown far too much. Last year we cut away 1/3 of the old wood and this year another 1/3 so by next year the bush should be rejuvinated. This way means that we still have flowers in the early summer for the bees and in the autumn, berries for the birds, hopefully then, everyone’s happy!

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