Pruning Potentilla

Potentilla is an easy-care perennial that is not fussy, but with some basic care and maintenance, this plant will thrive. Cutting back or trimming Potentilla will keep this flowering shrub healthy, lush, and full of lovely blooms. Pruning is an effective method for maintaining a full and healthy plant. Learning how and where to trim the plant is essential and will encourage new growth.

Potentilla naturally maintains a compact form, but shaping the plant can make this shrub more visually appealing and help the branches grow more evenly. Maintenance pruning will help your landscape look neat and tidy and ensure your Potentilla continues to bloom all summer.


When to Prune Potentilla

The best time of year to prune Potentilla is spring before the leaves start to emerge. Cut back the top and old branches to encourage more full and dense growth. Shaping the plant in the spring will ensure the shrub looks good and has a rounded, consistent appearance. Trimming the plant early before it sets buds enables the shrub to put all of its energy into new growth.

Potentilla can be trimmed again during the mid-summer if the shrub starts to look unkempt or straggly. Pruning the plant a second time will clean it up and again promote more new growth. Shrubs grown in low light may have long stems with extended spaces between the foliage, so giving the Potentilla a trim will help the plant look neat.  


Why Prune Potentilla

Plants that are not trimmed may look overgrown and not have many flowers. Potentilla blooms on new growth, so removing old growth forces the plant to produce new, healthier branching. New branches create a more full and dense look and create more opportunities for flowers. Potentilla is self-cleaning, and deadheading is unnecessary.      

How to Prune Potentilla

Step 1 - Observe the plant

Look for old or dead growth. Old or dead branches can be cut back as far as possible.

Step 2 - Look for branches that extend beyond the general shape of the shrub

Potentilla naturally has a compact, mounded shape, and any longer branches that extend beyond the plant can be cut back to align with the general shape. Cut branches back to growth nodes to encourage healthier branching.

Step 3 - Rejuvenating pruning

Trim crossed branches or any branches that look straggly. Cutting stems back will allow the plant to redirect its energy into new stems and flowers, creating a full shrub and abundant blooms.


Potentilla Pruning Tips

  • Shape the plant to keep a neat and consistent appearance.
  • Remove damaged or dead growth as necessary.
  • Trim branches right after a node to encourage more branching.


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 Author Alison Cotsonas - Published 07-12-2022