By: Garden Gate staff
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Looking for an easy-care, reliable shrub? Japanese spirea’s (Spiraea japonica) pink or white blooms belong in your garden! From excess heat and cold to pests and poor soil, spirea handles it all. And when it comes to pruning, it’s not complicated to keep this shrub healthy and looking neat.
Just click ahead to find out three easy ways to prune summer-flowering cultivars and get helpful how-to illustrations, too.
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Encourage a rebloom
To get more flowers later into summer, snip off spent clusters as they fade. If you have only a few to cut, scissors are fine. But if there are a lot, use hedge shears.
As you can see at left, it doesn’t matter where you make the cuts, just remove as many flower heads as you can. This technique works with all of cultivars of spirea, except garland spirea.
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Make tight mounds
If you like a dense, structured look for your spirea, prune just as new leaves start to show. Use hedge clippers to shear off no more than half of the top growth, like in the illustration here. You’ll get a tight, habit with more, but smaller, flower clusters.
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Get big flower clusters
Spirea that’s not pruned or pruned to the ground each spring has a casual, loose habit. Early in spring, before leaf buds start to swell, cut all of the stems down so they’re 4 to 6 in. tall, just like you see here. You can use pruning shears and cut one at a time or hedge clippers and simply cut them all off at once — it won’t make a difference.
In a few weeks, new growth will sprout, creating a full, dense plant that will be about half to two-thirds its full height with lots of flowering stems.