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When to prune overgrown Hebe and Cistus rock rose.

GraysGrays Posts: 167
Hello all,
We have an area of the garden we inherited that has two large Cistus and I think some Hebes, they are all overgrown and I would like to prune them back quite a bit. I have read that you can prune Hebe back immediately after flowering but only by a third, as you can see in the photo it is very woody and I would like to prune it right back below the green foliage, would this damage it? When would be the best time to do this, also the same for the Cistus.
Many thanks.


  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 53,924
    The problem you have there is that there's not really enough room for all of those. It's a common occurrence!
    Many hebes don't appreciate being cut back hard, and often don't survive. There are some people on the forum who claim that's not true, but they obviously don't live in a colder, wetter part of the country.  :)
    Normally, you'd trim back hebes lightly after flowering, just to prevent them getting too big and sprawling - for exactly that reason aforementioned. You may want to experiment a bit, as long as you don't mind if some don't make it. Variegated forms [of lots of shrubs] can also be less tough, so if you like that one, you may want to be gentler with it.
    I don't grow Cistus, so can't advise on that. Sorry.  
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • GraysGrays Posts: 167
    Many thanks for the reply.
    Yes, it is a bit of a dilemma, it has completely overgrown now and only has foliage and flowers on I would say roughly a 1/5 of the bush, so a decent prune would remove all that leaving no green whatsoever.
    I suppose if I was to try to cut it right back, immediately after the flowering has gone would be the time to take the "gamble"?
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 53,924
    Yes - probably best, although you could just do it now, to give it more time to get new growth and have it hardened off well enough before autumn/winter. 
    As Mr Eastwood once said 'do I feel lucky?' ....   ;)

    Is that all one Hebe in the first pic? Variegated ones often revert. I wasn't sure if it  was two different varieties. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • GraysGrays Posts: 167
    edited July 2021
    There's actually 3 different types in there, the two smaller ones (one not shown in the photo) are getting completely swamped by the main large one in the centre.
    BTW, I don't know what it is that I am doing wrong, but everytime I post a photo it posts it the wrong way round???
    Hopefully someone will have some advice for the Cistus too, as these now are really overgrow and are covering parts of the patio.
    Edit to say - I will probably wait to prune it till after flowering as they are currently totally covered in bees all day which is quite nice.
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 53,924
    There's a serious glitch with photo uploading just now, so don't worry - it isn't you. It helps if you can make the pix smaller  :)
    Yes - I just wasn't sure how many you had, and if they were all in the same location. It could even be worth considering moving one , or two, depending on how confident you are. They'd just need really thorough watering first to make it easier. You could wait until you prune, see how they look, and estimate if it was easy enough to get in to the base of them. You could then move them to another site in early autumn, and they would re establish before winter. Or pot them up for replanting next year. 
    Only you can decide if you want to do that though   :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • PianoplayerPianoplayer Posts: 624
    Hi - Cistus has the same problem as Hebe in that it doesn't grow back from woody stems, so hard pruning doesn't work. What I do with mine is a) give it a hair cut after flowering (just done it) trimming back to just above leaf nodes to encourage branching and b) take out whole stems down to the bottom which are hanging over or crowding neighbouring plants.

    You could do the same thing with the hebes as well ie taking out whole stems rather than cutting them back.

    You could take cuttings as a safety net!
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