Pruning

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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  • Camellia

    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

    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

    Ceanothus

    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

    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.

  • Clematis 'Helsingborg' can be pruned after flowering. Credit: RHS/John Trenholm.

    Clematis pruning: group one

    Regular pruning of clematis encourages strong growth and flowering and keeps the growth in check. Left unpruned, clematis can turn into a mass of tangled stems with a bare base and flowers well above eye level. Clematis in pruning group one flower early in the year and should be pruned after flowering in mid- to late spring.

  • Pruning a late-flowering clematis. RHS/Advisory.

    Clematis pruning: group three

    Regular pruning of clematis encourages strong growth and flowering and keeps the growth in check. If left unpruned, clematis can turn into a mass of tangled stems with a bare base and flowers well above eye level. Clematis in pruning group three flower in late summer on growth made in that season and should be pruned in late winter or early spring. This method is suitable for herbaceous clematis.

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