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How to prune potentilla bushes

Updated February 21, 2017

Potentillas (Potentilla spp.) are flowering bushes from the rose family. The group contains almost 500 different varieties, including some hard-to-get-rid-of weeds. In its native habitat, potentilla bushes grow in moist meadows, marshes and hills. The shrubs have a mature height of 2 to 4 feet with an equal spread, depending on species. The white or yellow flowers appear between May and June. Pruning is done to keep the plant in shape.

Watch for unkempt appearances and overgrown plants, as these often develop dead central areas that cease to bloom.

Prune potentilla regularly throughout the year to improve its appearance. Remove all floppy or overgrown stems to bring the shrub back to its natural form.

Avoid shaping the shrub specifically, such as rounding it. This is not recommended for a larger variety of blooming shrubs, including potentilla. Rounding off a potentilla will leave behind bunches of sticks that will produce a witch's broom type of growth.

Prune back the shrub severely during early spring before new growth begins. Cut off one-third to one-half of the larger stems to ground level or prune the entire plant to ground level. This will rejuvenate the plant. Conduct this severe pruning every second to third year to keep plant in good health.

Cut and divide the larger clumps into multiple smaller sections. Replant the smaller sections 1 foot apart in a prepared area if desired.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
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About the Author

Irum Sarfaraz is a freelance writer with over 20 years of nonfiction writing experience in newspaper op-eds and magazine writing, book editing, translating and research writing. Sarfaraz is originally from Pakistan and has been published in both American and Pakistani newspapers and magazines. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature, and diplomas in nonfiction writing.