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Pruning Cotinus

KeenOnGreenKeenOnGreen Posts: 1,626

We have a Cotinus in a large pot.  We'd like it to have a compact rounded habit, rather than tall and rangy.  When would be the best time to prune, and should we hard prune it, or just do so selectively?  Should be prune more than once a year?


  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,374

    Some people prune these back to stumps every year just at growth starting time. You don't get flowers but great  leaves. I'm think of doing that with mine.

    I don't see it as a plant that could be trimmed to a rounded shape and kept like that without loosing its impact. Never seen that done though, maybe someone has.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 77,368

    Is it a clipped dome that you're looking for?  Don't think cotinus lends itself to close clipping like that - it's an airy rangy plant by nature. Even when coppiced it has airy branches rather than looking like a solid dome.

    If you want a clipped dome of that colour I'm sure there's something that would suit - possibly Hebe 'Mrs Winder'? 

    Last edited: 05 March 2017 12:55:16

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  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 18,444

    Or Pittosporum "Tom Thumb"?

    Dordogne and Norfolk
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 31,602

    In my experience, the harder they're cut, the longer the new shoots and the larger the leaves. I like it that way, but it sounds like that's not what you want.

  • KeenOnGreenKeenOnGreen Posts: 1,626

    Thanks all for the advice.  I'm not expecting a very tight, formal shape, like topiary, just a more compact and rounded shape.  Now I know what to do!

  • punkdocpunkdoc Sheffield, Derbyshire border.Posts: 11,269

    As others have said, you can prune hard, but don't forget to feed and mulch afterwards, if you want to keep it healthy.

    He calls her the chocolate girl
    Cause he thinks she melts when he touches her
    She knows she's the chocolate girl
    Cause she's broken up and swallowed
    And wrapped in bits of silver
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