Pruning dilemmas!

Hi there,


Two of my shrubs are in mixed borders. They're both getting too big and need pruning, BUT.....

One, Prunus Ko-jo no Mai, is beautiful in spring and autumn but not that interesting in summer. It's also outgrowing its space a little and beginning to cast too much shade. If I hard prune it now (can I safely do this? ) will I lose next year's flowers?


The other is a shrubby lilac with smallish fragrant pink flowers and it has a Clematis Betty Corning growing through it. Years ago I thought this was a brilliant idea. I would have the pink scented flowers of the lilac in spring, followed by pale blue scented bells in summer. What I didn't realise was a) how rampant Betty would become and b) how large the 'dwarf' lilac could grow - not huge but outgrowing my narrow bed and I want perennials to take centre stage at the moment.

So....can I hard prune the Shrubby lilac (syringa meyeri 'Palibin') and if so, when, without losing flowers next year?  Also, Betty's rampant nature means she will be too big for growing through a dwarfer shrub. I could cut her back now and lose everything this year, try and dig her out and risk killing her, or live with a tangle this year and try and put in an obelisk next to the lilac! 

Neither are next to a wall or fence, I should add.


What would YOU do?


Any advice, please? image Thanks in advance!




  • Thank you, Tetley! 

    Re the Prunus: if I prune this in the autumn, will I lose next spring's flowers?


    Re Betty: She, and the lilac, are in the middle of a narrow border so no arbour or seat is possible. Leaving them sounds good and I will certainly prune Betty in April but I do need to reduce the lilac's size considerably. When is the best time to do this without losing the lilac flowers for next year? Or is that already too late?

  • YviestevieYviestevie Kingswinford, West MidlandsPosts: 5,002

    Lilac should be pruned just after it has finished flowering.  Betty Corning is type 3 and should be pruned late winter/early spring which is before the Lilac flowers.

    Hi from Kingswinford in the West Midlands
  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 5,017

    Only remove the dead heads from lilac during the growing season. A little light pruning is ok, but wait until early spring if you want to do anything more drastic.

    You don't want to make the same mistake I did with my lovely 15yr old lilac... nuff said

    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • She's lovely, but how I wish I'd grown her against the fence and not through a compact shrub! She's making a tangle of growth which is encroaching on the border, and if I cut her back now I'll lose her flowers. My own silly fault. Should have planted something a bit more demure! Tempted to dig her up in the winter and replant her elsewhere, but I'd probably kill her in the process!


  • Just a thought: if I prune the Prunus hard now, won't it make some nice new growth which will flower next spring? Whereas if I prune in the dormant season, I'll get growth in the spring but no flowers. Am I missing something?image

Sign In or Register to comment.