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Aromatic and pleasing to the eye, Choisya plants play an ornamental role in most gardens and there are many varieties to choose from. Choisya ternata with its green leaves and cream-white flowers to Choisya Goldfingers with its slimmer looking golden-yellow foliage.
They can grow up to two meters tall, producing large masses of beautiful flowers and foliage. While these plants look good in full bloom and really don’t require pruning, once in a while, it can help (to keep them looking their best) to give them a little prune to maintain their shape.
If you have never pruned Choisya plants, this article will be a good guide to follow. I will cover how and when to prune these plants so that they can maintain their abundant blossoms and neat appearance in the garden.
When is the best time to prune Choisya?
Choisya plants are evergreen and therefore, they present foliage throughout the year, which you probably already know if you have one in your garden. You want to prune these plants at the right time so that it does not affect the number of flowers in the following flowering season. Basically, you don’t want to remove the current season’s flower buds. It is best to prune these plants in late spring after the danger of frost damage has passed and after they have flowered.
You can also prune them as winter ends, if the temperatures are not too low or if the plants are kept indoors, for example, if you overwinter pot grown plants in a greenhouse.
Pruning aims to confine a Choisya’s growth to the space that you have. If you have limited space for the Choisya (as I do), pruning will be a necessary evil. Those with Choisya plants in pots will also have to prune occasionally to prevent the plant from outgrowing the pots or becoming woody and bare.
How to prune a Choisya
Because Choisya plants are evergreen, they are subject to the same pruning tactics. First things first, you need a sharp pair of pruning secateurs to cut through branches effectively. Be sure to sanitise the blades to avoid infecting your plants with unwanted diseases. Also, consider the ideal shape that you want before you start pruning so that you don’t go beyond your set limits.
Regardless of whether you prune at the end of winter, late spring or early summer, the good news is that Choisya plants can withstand hard pruning. The aim is to cut away any sick or dead branches, together with branches growing in a wayward manner. You can also just give them a light pruning to maintain the shape but they do respond well to hard pruning too.
They are low-maintenance plants that don’t require much to thrive. As you prune, make clean cuts. Using blunt pruning secateurs will cut the plants unevenly leaving behind hidden surfaces for bugs and diseases to thrive.
After pruning all the unwanted plant matter, feed the plants to help them in recovery by using a general fertiliser or good quality potting compost packed with nutrients. While it is not entirely necessary, it will boost the plant’s regrowth process and provide enough resources to heal the wounds incurred.
Common Choisya varieties in the UK
Choisya plants have around eight varieties that are sold at most garden centres and nurseries. Some of the varieties easily available in the UK include:
This common variety can thrive in different climates and is quite easy to grow. It produces an abundance of pure white blooms with green foliage. The variety thrives in semi-shaded areas and is resistant to drought.
Choisya x dewitteana ‘Aztec Pearl’
This is another great variety that looks like the Choisya ternata, but with darker green leaves. The leaves are also more pointed and the clusters of blooms appear in late spring or autumn. Choisya Aztec Pearl thrives in more sun compared to the other varieties that need semi-shaded areas.
Choisya ternata ‘Sundance’
Choisya Sundance is considered among the earliest varieties available and this variety blooms between April and May. It has stunning lime green foliage and the flowers are not as many as the original choisya ternata.
Choisya dewitteana ‘White Dazzler’
This short variety has very slim and pointed leaves with massive bloom clusters just like ‘Aztec Pearl’. This variety is hardy and the citrus-scented flowers are dazzling white with golden stamen. Those who need very low-maintenance Choisya varieties will be appeased by the Choisya White Dazzler.