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General pruning advice please

ShennyShenny Posts: 127
Please can I have some advice on pruning the plants in my garden. What I should do and when I should do it. 
1. The hydrangea is still very small but the flower heads are all brown. I think I need to cut these off but when and how?
2. many but not all of the leaves on the DA roses have gone brown. Should I start removing these? 
3. Is it time to hard prune my group 3 clematis as they have started growing new buds?
4. Should I prune my lavender Hidcote now?
I have read loads on the internet but I still lack confidence. Scared that I will ruin the plants. So any advice would be really appreciated. 


  • K67K67 Posts: 2,507
    edited February 2021

    It does depend on weather conditions during March, if they are bad it's better to wait even if it's until April.
    1. Usually leave mine until I see new growth, so March sometime.
    2 I take off the leaves when I prune, feed and mulch in March but take them off now if they annoy you.
    3 March again, but I do cut them down by half in the autumn
    4 have you still got the flower stalks on? 
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 30,011
    Hydrangea - depends on type. 

    If they're mop head or lace cap you just pinch out the old flower head because the new flower buds are hiding  just behind them and they flower on wood produced the year before so get that wrong and you lose a season of flowers.

    If they're paniculata - large cone shaped flower heads that usually start white or lime green and fade to pink thru the season - then they flower on new wood so can be pruned back to healthy buds in spring when there is no fear of a heavy frost for a few days.

    In either case, a good feed and/or a mulch of something to nourish teh soil and retain moisture will be of benefit.

    Roses - assuming they're shrub roses and not climbers or ramblers then you need to choose a frost free few days and cut out every dead, damaged or diseased stem to the base or back to a healthy bud.   Then step back and take a look and shorten every other stem back to a healthy outward facing bud doing a diagonal cut just above to direct rain water drops away from the bud.   Feed and mulch as above.

    Group 3 clematis - cut back to about 9" above the ground or take each stem back to one or two buds and pull away all the top growth.   Feed and mulch.

    Roses and clematis are hungry, thirsty plants and hydrangeas don't like to be dry at their feet so be sure to help them retain moisture with an annual mulch of well-rotted garden compost or manure -  this can be bought in bags at good DIY and GC - and water generously in dry spells.  Not just a dribble that will bring roots to teh surface but a good 10 to 15 litres at a time, poured slowly so it soaks down.
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • ShennyShenny Posts: 127
    Thank you K67
    4. Yes lavender still has flower stalks on. I did do some pruning after flowering but was not brutal. 

    Thank you Obelixx also. 
    Sorry I should have been more specific. 
    Hydrangea are lacecap, roses are climbing roses. 
    I will start the pruning, mulching, feeding from next weekend so no doubt will be asking for more help in the near future. 
    Thanks so far...
  • K67K67 Posts: 2,507
    There was a discussion on here when yo prune lavender but we all seemed to do it at different times but I prefer to cut off all the fliwer stalks and a bit of the years growth when the fliwers look awful.
    Then in spring when there is a few inches of new growth I give them a light trim to keep them shapely and tidy.
    Climbers are treated differently so I suggest you look up pruning climbers on YouTube by Paul Zimmerman or look on David Austin website.
  • There is a lot of pruning advice in the GW mag and the website.
    The only thing I would add to what has been said is  do not cut into the old,  brown wood on the lavender it will not regrow from it.  You can go as close as you dare as long as it is green.
    AB Still learning

  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 30,011
    Have a look a this link to the RHS website page on pruning roses -

    It covers all types.  Just click on the link to climbers.
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
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