The Q&A Archives: Trim a Perennial

Question: My Heather (ERICA SP.)plant is growing wild. when can it be trimed down it's bushie.

Answer: Heather, or Erica, can grow to very large proportions if not pruned back after it has finished flowering. Mine flower 3 times a year and when the flowers are spent I prune it back by cutting just below the spent flowers. Pruning each time the flowers are spent keeps the shrubs looking neat and trim, and encourages more flowering. If your plant is very overgrown you may need to trim it back gradually. I've found that if it is pruned back to bare wood, it doesn't green up again. So start by pruning off about 6 inches all around, wait until it develops new growth and then trim it back by about 6 inches again. Next spring you can trim it back again. Reducing the plant's size gradually will keep it green throughout the growing season. Best wishes with your heather.

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