Some shrubs are better pruned this way: Remove a portion of the oldest stems all the way at the base, to allow younger wood to develop fully. Weigela look a mess when cut back at the midpoint, as do Buddleia. With Buddleia (assuming it’s the davidii kind that die way back each year anyhow and grow to a gangly mess), cut them down virtually to the bottom as they start to regrow in earliest spring. Let them start over, essentially. You can also then shear a little selectively in summer to reduce the gangliness sort of a deadheading-plus. With the Weigela, I’d either selectively take out some of the oldest stems, or better yet cut the thing down after it flowers in spring to mike 12 inches, maybe lower, and let it spend the season growing up nicely again. You’ll have to do the latter next year to reshape the plant now. And by the way: We have all done this! Live and learn (prune and learn?).
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Welcome! I’m Margaret Roach, a leading garden writer for 25 years—at ‘Martha Stewart Living,’ ‘Newsday,’ and in three books. I host a public-radio podcast; I also lecture, plus hold tours at my 2.3-acre Hudson Valley (NY) Zone 5B garden, and always say no to chemicals and yes to great plants.