Prune hard after flowering

Many of our indigenous shrubs grow lank and unattractive after flowering and can be really messy if they are left alone to grow wild for a couple of years without attention.  There seems to be a definite correlation between the speed of growth and the degree of pruning.   I have found the faster a shrub grows, the more likely it will need to be cut back hard.

I do this annual pruning after flowering and seeding are over or, with species that seed a little too freely, after flowering but before the seeds ripen.  The result looks more like hacking than pruning, but it’s a great exercise for getting rid of negative energy. Remove long, woody or brittle branches right to the base and cut back young branches leaving no more than four or five healthy nodes. This will encourage plenty of fresh new growth and lots of flowers for the following season. As aftercare, visit the bush every few weeks to nip off the growing tips to forestall lanky re-growth and create a lush, leafy bush.  You could also add a dose of fertilizer or compost and a good layer of mulch – your grateful shrub will reward you well.

Shrubs that I have found that have responded well to this kind of treatment are Plectranthus,  Osteospermum, Euroyps, Hibiscus, Hypoestes, Artemesia, Barleria, Pelargonium, Leonotis, Salvia and Bauhinia.  Perhaps somebody will be able to add to this list.

Bauhinia galpinii pruned
Bauhinia galpinii regrowth
Barleria obtusa pruned
Barleria obtusa regrowth
Grewia occidentalis pruned
Grewia occidentalis regrowth
Osteospermum before pruning
Osteospermum pruned
Osteospermum regrowth
Leonotis leonorus pruned
Fresh stems and bushy form of Leonotis leonorus pruned annually.

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