Shrubs You Shouldn't Prune: A Guide For 2023

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LowMaintenance Shrubs You Shouldn't Prune


Pruning is an essential part of maintaining the health and beauty of your shrubs. However, not all shrubs require regular pruning. In fact, there are certain shrubs that should be left unpruned to thrive and reach their full potential. In this article, we will explore some of the shrubs you shouldn’t prune in 2023.

1. Rhododendron

Rhododendrons are beautiful flowering shrubs that require minimal pruning. They have a natural shape and pruning them extensively can lead to stunted growth and reduced blooming. It is best to only remove dead or damaged branches to maintain the plant’s health.

2. Hydrangea

Hydrangeas are known for their stunning and abundant flowers. Pruning them at the wrong time or too heavily can result in fewer blooms. It is recommended to prune hydrangeas right after they finish flowering in order to maintain their shape and encourage new growth.

3. Lilac

Lilacs are beloved for their fragrant flowers and should be pruned with caution. Pruning them too late in the season can remove next year’s flower buds. It is best to prune lilacs immediately after they finish blooming to maximize flowering for the following year.

4. Boxwood

Boxwoods are popular evergreen shrubs that can be easily shaped and pruned. However, excessive pruning can result in bare patches and weaken the plant’s structure. It is advisable to only lightly prune boxwoods to maintain their natural form and density.

5. Butterfly Bush

Butterfly bushes are known for attracting butterflies with their vibrant flowers. While they can tolerate heavy pruning, it is recommended to only prune them in early spring to promote new growth and maintain their shape. Pruning them too late in the season can remove flower buds.

6. Witch Hazel

Witch hazels are unique shrubs that produce delicate, fragrant flowers in late winter or early spring. They should be left unpruned to allow their graceful branches to develop naturally. Pruning them can reduce flowering and spoil their beautiful form.

7. Juniper

Junipers are low-maintenance shrubs that rarely require pruning. They have a naturally dense and compact form. Excessive pruning can result in thinning and an unnatural appearance. It is best to only trim junipers to remove dead branches or to shape them minimally.

8. Beautyberry

Beautyberries are shrubs that are prized for their vibrant purple berries. Pruning them heavily can reduce berry production. It is recommended to only prune beautyberries in early spring to remove dead wood and encourage new growth.

9. Cotoneaster

Cotoneasters are versatile shrubs that can be used for ground cover or as hedges. They require minimal pruning and should be left unpruned as much as possible to maintain their natural shape. Only remove dead or damaged branches to keep the shrub healthy.


While pruning is important for the overall health and appearance of shrubs, there are certain varieties that are best left unpruned. Rhododendrons, hydrangeas, lilacs, boxwoods, butterfly bushes, witch hazels, junipers, beautyberries, and cotoneasters all fall into this category. By understanding the specific needs of these shrubs and avoiding excessive pruning, you can enjoy their natural beauty and maximize their growth and blooming potential in the year 2023 and beyond.

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