Now that we have reached the end of spring, it is a great time to prune your Leucadendrons, Leucospermums and Proteas and get them ready for next year. Pruning of these varieties is not difficult, does not have to take too much time, and the rewards you will get for doing it will make it all worthwhile.
Pruning allows you to shape the plant and encourage new growth and flowers for the following year. In the case of Leucadendrons, these are some of the easiest and most forgiving varieties in terms of time of pruning and how heavily you can cut them back. Late spring, or after flowering has finished, is the best time to prune. This is because the weather is still fairly cool and it is optimal to cut everything back before new shoots begin to form too high up the stems. The plant will grow on through summer and be flowering again for next year.
Below you will see the plant we are going to prune, in this case it’s a Safari Sunset. On the left is the unpruned plant and on the right once pruning has been completed.
Firstly, we will start with the branch in the front (Picture 1). Looking closely, you can see where the new growth has started (Picture 2). The most common mistake is pruning these new shoots (View Picture 3). You do not want to prune like this as it encourages the plant to stretch rather than filling out in shape.
Instead, you want to prune as below – approximately 10cm from the base of the stem (Picture 4). If you’re worried about getting the length right your secateurs handle are a great guide for the length (Picture 5).
New growth is encouraged from this point (Picture 6) which means the plant will become a nicer shape and fill out more.
Make sure you measure from where there are healthy leaves and growth. If you cut where there are no healthy leaves, the plant will not re-shoot.
Tip: Ensure your secateurs are clean of disease and are sharp. Prune all stems to the same height and remove any thin stems that may be crowding or misshapen.
The end result
By following these easy steps you can create a lovely shaped, healthy plant which produces fantastic colour and flowers for years to come.