Pruning Heather

Pruning Heather is a simple task that helps that bush grow dense and full. This easy-care evergreen perennial does not require much trimming, but a well-timed cut in the spring to remove overgrowth will promote more branching. Cutting a plant back to rejuvenate growth seems counterintuitive, but it helps the plant push out new growth. Learn what you need to know about pruning Heather.

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When to Prune Heather

Prune Heather after blooming to refresh this shrub. Pruning at a different time may reduce flower production or reduce the striking fall foliage. Some heathers bloom in the winter and others bloom in the summer, so the timing will vary depending on the cultivar.  Do not cut into bare wood because heather will not re-sprout from old wood.

Dead or damaged growth can be removed from a Heather anytime. Deadheading is unnecessary and does not extend the blooming season, so additional pruning is not needed.

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Why Prune Heather

Some gardeners choose to prune Heather to maintain a rounded look and neat appearance. Established Heather plants can become woody or leggy, and trimming back this excess growth will force the plant to redirect energy into new growth. The new growth will create a full, dense shrub.

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How to Prune Heather

Step 1 - Inspect the plant

Remove dead or damaged growth at any time.

Step 2 - Look at the overall shape of the plant

Cut back overgrowth or uneven branches during the spring

Step 3 - Trim just below the spent flowers

Cut branches right below the spent blooms and not into bare wood.

Heather Pruning Tips

  • Cut back damaged or dead growth
  • Trim back leggy growth and shape the plant during the spring
  • Do not cut into bare wood

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Author Alison Cotsonas - Published 08-15-2022