Six plants and shrubs to prune in April to ‘stimulate healthy growth’

Pruning plants is important because it removes dead, diseased and damaged parts of the plant and makes them less vulnerable to pest infestations.

Pruning also stimulates more growth and encourages plants to produce more flowers later on.

With the beginning of a new month and a new season, many gardeners will be looking to get their outdoor spaces in shape before summer begins which includes pruning.

What to prune in April:

1. Camellia

According to Hillier, camellias can only be pruned if they are at least three years old and only after the flowers have faded.

To prune, remove any congested stems from the middle of the plant before shaping.

Only prune after the flowers have faded and on plants that are at least three years old. Remove any congested stems from the centre and shape to your liking.

Jen Stark, master gardener and founder of Happy DIY Home told Homes & Gardens: “Camellias can benefit from you pruning them every few years to stimulate healthy growth and thin out the more twiggy branches.

“You should prune them in the late spring months to allow sunlight to get to the shrub’s interior.”

2. Evergreen shrubs

Evergreen shrubs such as Euonymus, fatsia, hebe and Nandina can all be pruned in April.

When pruning, remove any diseased, damaged or dead shoots along with overcrowded ones aiming to remove about a third of the old growth.

3. Penstemon

Also known as beardtongues, these pretty bushy plants, need to have their old flower stems removed from April to May.

But only prune these once the risk of frost has passed.

4. Salvias

When pruning salvias, cut back dead and diseased stems by a third to half. However, this will depend on whether you have a deciduous or herbaceous variety.

If you have a deciduous variety, these need cutting back to their lowest node, which is around 40cm from the ground. This should only be done once fresh growth appears.

If you have a herbaceous variety, simply cut off all of the previous year’s growth.

5. Witch Hazel

According to Hillier, these plants need to be pruned minimally from mid to late spring. Simply remove dead or damaged wood and prune back branches to healthy growth.

6. Skimmia

These only need trimming and shaping to stay neat and tidy and to encourage more flowers.

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