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Cutting flannel shrubs - tips on timing, technique and tools


If you want to have a properly growing and bushy flannel shrub in your garden, you have to cut it regularly. The right time is just as important as the technology.

The flannel shrub is relatively easy to care for and undemanding, but you still cannot avoid the annual pruning. After all, you want the plant, which comes from North and Central America, to develop splendidly and grow beautifully here. And you can only achieve this by using the scissors.

But be careful: In order not to damage the plant, it is important to find the optimal time and use the right technique.

Time for the pruning

The pruning of the flannel shrub should take place at the end of the winter resting period. The best time to go from mid-February to early March is at most locations in Germany.

Cut back on a frost-free and dry day. The cuts can heal faster in dry air and the risk of pathogens penetrating is significantly reduced. You do not have to fear a weakening of the flannel shrub by a strong pruning.

Cutback technique

In the early growth phase, you lay the foundation for the later shape of the flannel shrub. Many hobby gardeners appreciate a strongly branched, bushy growth of rather low height. You can do this by regularly relaxing the shrub. This stimulates the plant to develop new branches.

You should remove recognizable dead wood and cut it directly at the base of the branch. When trimming long branches, be careful not to shorten them by more than two thirds. Make the cut above a knot that points outwards from the middle of the shrub.

Make sure there is sufficient light. Each branch should get as much sunlight as possible. When clearing, cut branches that grow inwards or downwards and leave branches that grow outwards and upwards untouched. This creates a harmonious overall picture of growth over time.

Cut back tool

Depending on the thickness of the branches, you will need a sharp saw or strong rose shears (such as this one) to cut back. The cutting surfaces must be rust-free and clean. By using a strong disinfectant, you also ensure that no pathogens adhere to the devices.

Always wear long-sleeved outerwear and gloves while pruning. The hair on the leaves of the flannel bush is poisonous. Skin contact may cause an uncomfortable itch. Be sure to avoid hair contact with the eyes, for example by wiping your face with your sleeve.