Learn about pruning with expert advice from the RHS

Shrub pruning

Pruning late-summer and autumn flowering shrubs in spring will keep their growth in check and improve flowering.

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  • Buxus


    Box (Buxus) is commonly planted in gardens as a clipped, formal plant or hedge, although there are many types available that are ideal for naturalistic planting. While box has been a traditional stalwart in gardens, it is now proving more difficult to grow well due to disease and pests marring their neat appearance.

  • Crocus naturalised in grass

    Bulbs: naturalising

    Drifts of daffodils, snowdrops and crocus in open grass are one of the classic signs of spring. Although they look like the work of nature, they are simple to create and will last for many years.

  • Camellia


    Camellias are one of the most popular winter- and spring-flowering shrubs, providing a vivid splash of colour when little else is in bloom. Although they need acid soil, they are easy to grow in containers of ericaceous (acidic) potting compost.

  • Campsis x tagliabuana 'Madame Galen'. Image: Graham Titchmarsh/RHS


    Campsis, or trumpet vine as it is commonly known, is a self-clinging climber grown for its clusters of showy, exotic orange to red or yellow, trumpet-shaped flowers.

  • Ceanothus 'Cascade'. Image: RHS Herbarium


    Attractive blue, white or pink flowers make Ceanothus (or Californian lilac) a desirable shrub for a sunny, sheltered position.

  • Chelsea chop

    Chelsea chop

    The Chelsea chop (so called because it is usually carried out at the end of May, coinciding with the RHS Chelsea Flower Show) is a pruning method by which you limit the size and control the flowering season of many herbaceous plants.

  • Acid cherry. Image: RHS

    Cherries: acid

    Acid cherries tolerate some shade, so are a good choice for a north-facing site or wall. They are self-fertile and do not need another tree to act as a pollinator. The fruits are too acid to eat raw, but are excellent when cooked and make very good jam.

  • Sweet cherry. Image: RHS

    Cherries: sweet

    Sweet cherries are usually grown as small open trees or trained as fans against walls or fences. They are too vigorous to be trained as espaliers or cordons. They can be grown in large containers, and self-fertile cultivars will fruit without a pollination partner.

  • Fraser fir. Image: RHS/John Trenholm

    Christmas trees

    There are several types of conifer that can be brought indoors for decorating at Christmas. Most are available as cut trees, but container grown and containerised trees (dug up with roots and plunged into pots) are also available.

  • Citrus


    Oranges, lemons and limes are great container specimens, making it easy to enjoy the flavour and sweet scent of citrus in any garden. Overwintering them successfully is easy in a frost-free place, such as a greenhouse or conservatory.

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