How to prune a heather bush

Updated February 21, 2017

Heather bushes produce long flowering stems with flowers in a variety of colours. The stems do not flower all the way to the ground. Without proper pruning, the stems will grow out and become woody in the centre. The weight of the flowers will cause the plant to flop open, revealing the bare and unattractive centre. Properly pruning a heather bush will keep the plant compact and encourage flowering.

Wait for the heather plant to finish flowering. Some varieties of heather bushes flower in the summer, and others finish flowering in the winter or early spring. When the bush has finished flowering, the blooms will fade, leaving the stems covered in dead flowers.

Cut off dead or damaged stems with pruning shears. Inspect the bush for insect infestation, removing any infested stems.

Cut off the dead flowering stems. Cut them off at the base of the flowering portion of the stem, just above the woody, lower portion of the stem. Do not cut into the woody portion of the stems or the bush may not generate new growth next season.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
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About the Author

Based in Richmond, Va., Dawn Gibbs writes about topics such as history, fashion, literature, crafts, alternative medicine and healthy living. Her work has appeared on and several style websites. Gibbs holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from Virginia Commonwealth University.