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Garden Maintenance Tips - 2

Jeff Howes

Pruning - Timing Matters!

All the hakeas and melaleucas that I am growing flower on old wood. This is a factor that needs to be considered when pruning because cutting into old wood will reduce flowering. One Hakea that I needed to prune was H.bakeriana - it was getting too tall. H.bakerana is a plant with very attractive new foliage and lovely pink flowers many times a year, usually after some water.

The two photos below show what happened when I cut into old wood. Photo 1 (left) shows were I pruned the branch and the flowering just below it. Photo 2 shows flower buds developing on the old wood below where I cut.

Hakea bakeriana     Hakea bakeriana
Photos: Jeff Howes

Correct pruning of bottlebrushes (Callistemon species) can increase next year's flowers.

When flowering has finished, and before new growth has commenced, cut the top two-thirds off the flower. This will encourage multiple shoots from the remaining one third of the flower, each of which will produce a flower for next year. This is well worth the effort to increase next years' flowering display .

The photos below show (on the left) the bottlebrush flower just about finished and ready to be pruned, while the right-hand photo shows the same flower cut back by two-thirds.

Callistemon pruning Callistemon pruning
Photos: Jeff Howes

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Australian Plants online - 2009
Australian Native Plants Society (Australia)