Terrified to prune philadelphus

theluciblacktheluciblack GuildfordPosts: 38
Hi! I have a Philadelphus Virginal. I know I need to prune it once it’s done flowering (a whole 5 flowers...) but I’m scared shitless. Thanks to my ineptitude it’s already missed one flowering season completely (last year) and barely flowered at all this year.

I’ve seen more than one article mentioning that council gardeners just trim them with shears like any other hedge and they flower fine.

I rather fancy this method cos it doesn’t require me making decisions. 

Thoughts?

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  • dappledshadedappledshade Top of the Hill, North London Posts: 402
    Philadelphus flower on the previous season's wood, which may be why you didn't get flowers if you (possibly) pruned out its flowering wood too late.
    Its going to flower until about July, I think, so maybe give it a trim immediately  after that, as well as a good feed. And then wait! If it's quite a new plant chances are it may need some time to settle in, before being productive (some plants are like that) but I'm sure that others on here will know more 😁
    🎼"I've been driving in my car, it don't look much but I've been far, I drive up to Muswell Hill, I've even been to Selsey Bill..."🎹
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 14,262
    As long as you prune straight after flowering it will give the new growth a chance to grow, so you will get flowers next year.  Be brave, you can do it, if you’ve not done it for years you may need big loppers. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 15,061
    PruningMock orange blooms on the prior year's growth. Therefore, to avoid missing out on flowering next year, prune the shrubs immediately after the blooming period. On stems that have just finished flowering, prune off growth above where you see outer-facing buds.

    Simples!😊
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • theluciblacktheluciblack GuildfordPosts: 38
    Fast responses as always, I love it!

    I should have said it’s only about 2 years old. 
  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 1,485
    edited 12 June
    The trick is to prune it as soon as the flowers fade.  It makes next year's flowers on new growth so it needs plenty of time to make that new growth after you prune it.
    The key points are:
    • Cut back flowered growth to strong young shoots lower down.
    • Each year cut out up to 20 percent of ageing stems to near the base
    If clipped like a hedge (at the right time) it should put on new growth and flower next year, but will have a blobby "lollipop" shape which not everyone likes (I don't, but it's a matter of personal taste).

  • theluciblacktheluciblack GuildfordPosts: 38
    pansyface said:
    PruningMock orange blooms on the prior year's growth. Therefore, to avoid missing out on flowering next year, prune the shrubs immediately after the blooming period. On stems that have just finished flowering, prune off growth above where you see outer-facing buds.

    Simples!😊
    Sorry I’m quite a noob to all this. What do you mean “outward-facing buds”?
  • theluciblacktheluciblack GuildfordPosts: 38
    Philadelphus flower on the previous season's wood, which may be why you didn't get flowers if you (possibly) pruned out its flowering wood too late.
    Its going to flower until about July, I think, so maybe give it a trim immediately  after that, as well as a good feed. And then wait! If it's quite a new plant chances are it may need some time to settle in, before being productive (some plants are like that) but I'm sure that others on here will know more 😁
    I do wonder about the time to settle in thing. But I know I screwed it by panic-pruning it last year. 
  • theluciblacktheluciblack GuildfordPosts: 38
    Lyn said:
    As long as you prune straight after flowering it will give the new growth a chance to grow, so you will get flowers next year.  Be brave, you can do it, if you’ve not done it for years you may need big loppers. 
    Haha, “be brave” is what I needed to hear!! 😆
  • theluciblacktheluciblack GuildfordPosts: 38
    JennyJ said:
    The trick is to prune it as soon as the flowers fade.  It makes next year's flowers on new growth so it needs plenty of time to make that new growth after you prune it.
    The key points are:
    • Cut back flowered growth to strong young shoots lower down.
    • Each year cut out up to 20 percent of ageing stems to near the base
    If clipped like a hedge (at the right time) it should put on new growth and flower next year, but will have a blobby "lollipop" shape which not everyone likes (I don't, but it's a matter of personal taste).

    This is helpful! I should just bite the damn bullet. 
  • Joy*Joy* Posts: 338
    Outward facing buds..... If you look at a branch there will be little buds which eventually will grow to make more branches.You need to trim the branch just above where the buds face away from the plant (outwards) so that new growth grows into the space around it. The inward facing buds will just make the plant congested. Plants should normally have an open shape so usually you prune to outward buds. Some plants such as Roses produce buds where the leaf joins the stem. My Philadelphus is putting on new growth where the stems are bare. I hope that this helps and is not too confusing. Perhaps if you Google outward facing buds there might be some pictures to explain it better! If your plant is only 2 years old and isn't too big, I would be tempted to leave it to itself this year.
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