Beauty Bush

(Question)

Partial sun – SW corner of yard which is fenced in. Topped up with compost annually. This year we had few blossoms but amazing growth of new wood so the shape is hidden with new growth. We usually prune after blooming but we are wondering how heavily to prune and what we can do to ensure we have more blossoms again next year. Your advice will be much appreciated.

(Answer)

The extra rain we’ve received this spring has caused an explosion of growth. Your method of pruning after blooming is spot on for beautybush (Kolkwitzia amabilis).  Yearly compost is good too. To prune after bloom, you don’t want to take more than about 1/3 of the growth. Selectively prune 1/3 of the shrub. You are not just pruning for size, but also thinning the shrub. Space out the cuts so that, as the new stem start to grow, your shrub maintains a good and natural shape. With beautybush, remove some old stems as part of the rejuvenation as well.  Repeat the process the following year until the desired size and shape is achieved.