Magnolias are one of those luxurious plants that you may fear ever going near with a pair of loppers.
Pompoms and privacy: this is why you want to cut your kerria back every year.
Kerria’s a great plant for the garden, especially if you want to screen off an area and get some privacy. This tall plant develops pompoms of orange flowers in the spring, covering its vivid green leaves and stalks with puffs of colour. Mature specimens can easily become a thick mass of stems, which hinders flowering and gradually grows out of its allotted space. This means that yearly pruning is essential to maintain your kerria’s shape and size.
Cut down flowering stalks in spring
Kerria flowers in the spring and should be cut back immediately after flowering to give shoots as long as possible to regenerate for the following year.
Use sharp secateurs to cut all flowering stalks back to strong side shoots. These side shoots will become next year’s flowering stems. For older and multi-branched stems, you can prune right back to ground level.
Remove one third of all vertical stems
Stems can become very dense, limiting light towards the centre of the plant and reducing the number of flowers that develop each year. This means that kerria needs an annual thinning out.
Take each old flower in your hand and pull the stem taut to making pruning easier. Follow stems all the way back to ground level, before cutting them off with sharp secateurs. Cut stems into shorter sections before composting.
You should aim to remove about one third of all vertical stems, cutting them back to ground level, allowing new growth to spring up, and provide fresh new flowers and foliage the following season.