Monty Don shares three garden plants ‘best’ pruned in March

Monty Don shares three garden plants ‘best’ pruned in March

As spring approaches and the weather starts to warm up, now is the time to prune certain garden plants for a beautiful bloom come summer.

In his latest blog entry, Monty Don said: “The first half of March is the best time to prune any shrubs and climbers that will flower on new growth and in particular late flowering clematis, roses and buddleia.”


The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) said clematis is the “queen of climbers” that is suited to growing on walls, fences, up obelisks and pergolas, and into trees.

These “popular” garden plants “produce masses of flowers in a wide variety of shapes and colours”, which is why they make a beautiful addition to any garden.


The classic rose is an instantly recognisable plant that flowers in a range of colours, from pastel shades of pink, peach, cream, crimson and gold.


Known as the butterfly bush, buddleia is fragrant and undemanding and has a spectacular display of blooms.

Monty said he likes to prune clematis, roses and buddleia in March when he starts to see new shoots appearing.

“But resist the temptation to do so if there is a mild February as the subsequent regrowth can be nipped back by a late frost,” he cautioned.

Monty added: “Shrubs such as Cornus, Willow and Sambucus can also be cut back hard to encourage fresh shoots whose bark will glow with extra bright colour next winter.”

For those feeling a bit uneasy when it comes to pruning garden plants, Monty shared his words of wisdom.

“I know that pruning can be the cause of some anxiety but there is only one rule to follow which is always cut back to something, be it a side shoot or leaf bud,” said Monty.

“Other than that do not worry unduly about outward-facing buds or any such finessing.”

In the case of climbers, such as clematis, pruning also stops flowering from being produced ever higher, with less flowering at lower levels.

This means pruning encourages the climber to have beautiful blooms all over, rather than the flowers being limited to the top growth.

Monty noted that March is “often too early to plant out tender young seedlings”, so more active gardening will need to wait just a little bit longer.

However, the gardener encouraged nature lovers to continue feeding birds as many of them are now nesting and laying eggs in March.

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