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Cutting back Philadelphus

 This Philadelphus looks like it could do with being cut back quite hard to generate strong healthy growth. I inherited it last year with the garden and was mightily impressed with its summer scent. I would love it to prosper and grow large however, I think it looks a bit straggly at the moment. Some of the branches are thick and woody, but there are many which look thin and weak. 


Whens the best time to cut, and are they receptive to cutting hard back to low stems? Whats the best way of doing so? I was tempted with pulling it out and buying a new one, but I'm hopeful I can make this one look good again.....


  • Thanks Verdun, just what I wanted. Shame that its not tidier, but the scent is worth keeping it for! Am I right in thinking Choisya Ternata also has a similar scent? When trying to identify it I found it also listed as a mock orange?

  • although the perfume of choisya is very pleasant, I've never found it to be as good or carry on the air like that of philadelphus image

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 23,779

    Those two are so different, choisya is glossy and evergreen, the philadelphus looks messy at this time of year anyway as it will be preparing to lose it's leaves for winter. I think your philadelphus looks fine. They have a certain number of thin stems anyway. Prune after flowering, but it's the thicker, older stems you prune out. I agree with Dove about the perfume. Not all plants have tidy habits, adds to their charm.

    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • Hi, is there anything I can do to encourage flowering? I've got two shrubs which have never had more than a very few flowers. Just this week I've cut the older one (over ten years) down to the ground and am going to remove it. I think I've given it long enough to perform. I've never pruned them so have not cut next year's buds off but I've never fed them either.  I'm going to leave the other one to see if it will flower eventually but would like some ideas, please to help it.

  • Thanks Verdun,

    I've cut the older shrub right down and am now taking he roots out. I think I've been patient wth it long enough. I will follow your advice about the younger shrub and give it ome potash in the spring.


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