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How hard can I prune back this (?)choisya?

zsedenyzsedeny SomersetPosts: 32
I’m a beginner gardener. I’ve inherited this choisya (I think that’s what it is) and it’s very bare/leggy at the base. I think I’m right in saying I should wait till the last frost and then I can prune it. My question is, can I cut it right down to the base so that I get rid of all that bare wood? It will that kill it? South is on the left beyond the fence and it looks like it’s reaching out for the sun ... Thanks in advance.


  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 SomersetPosts: 10,493
    Welcome to the forum. Your choisya does look a bit straggly and you're right, it's trying to lean out towards the sunshine. You could try putting up some wires on the fence and gently tie it back or prune by about one-third of the straggly growth straight after flowering or anytime between now and say mid-May. Then give it some slow release fertiliser pellets (according to the instructions) and keep it well watered if it doesn't rain much wherever you are.  Good luck!
  • zsedenyzsedeny SomersetPosts: 32
    Thanks very much Lizzie. I’ve tried trying it back but it doesn’t want to budge! If I cut back all branches by a third, I think I’ll lose most of the leaves. I’m happy to do this with the long term benefit in mind. Do you specify 1/3 because you would not recommend removing more than that for the health of the shrub? 
  • Tanty2Tanty2 Posts: 213
    Hi - I have lots of choisya (this one looks like ternata sundance, also knows as 'lich') and they are equally happy in the shade - my north facing ones are more lime green colour, the ones in full sun are more yellow.  I don't think serious pruning will kill it, but as Lizzie says, always water, feed and mulch after you do anything drastic :)  You could also try moving it - again, cut back about 1/3 then dig it up - choisya like to form a complete dome so it might do better once it's further away from the fence.  Alternatively, if you're feeling more patient, you could cut back a bit of the top growth and see if the plant sulks, and if it seems fine, cut back more or wait till next season to really go for it!   They're really lovely plants to have - the evergreen colour of them is a joy in dreary January, and have you had a good rub of the leaves yet?  Such a lovely orangey scent from them :)
  • zsedenyzsedeny SomersetPosts: 32
    Thanks for the advice. Can I use acer feed on it? (Sorry if that's a stupid question!) I'm finding it quite hard to source things at the moment so not sure where I'd buy feed from and I already have some acer feed.
    Thanks for identifying what type of choisya it is as I didn't know.
    I do really love it. I definitely want to look after it and make it look a bit happier!
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