Plant pruning tips
How to best prune strappy leaf plants
By Todd Layt
Pruning is inevitable, even with this selection of extremely low maintenance plants. These tips give some often eye catching pruning techniques that will make sure your landscape will not look like it has been hacked at.
TANIKA® Lomandra longifolia 'LM300' PBR
Tanika is one of the most reliable and best landscape plants for all over
Australia(excluding alpine regions and high humidity areas).
• Evergreen winter and drought
• No irrigation needed
• Trim each 4 to 7 years
• One of the most reliable and best landscape plants for Australia
• Low fertiliser requirements
Trim in ball shape if needed, usually about half way. Preferably trim each 3 to 7 years. Will live and prosper without pruning for more than a decade, but will look better with pruning after 3 to 7 years. If in high profile area, use slow release fertiliser each 1 to 2 years; 8 to 12 month preferably. Will survive and prosper for more than a decade without fertiliser, but will look more dark green with fertiliser. Fertilising yearly will result in pruning being required after about 3 to 4 years. Thus if it is on a high profile site, use fertiliser, if a roadside, fertilise at time of planting only.
With fertiliser it usually stays evergreen down to -8 to -10°c. Has survived in the past down to -12°c. Avoid use in regions that have many days below -8°c in a row (eg alpine regions).
TASRED® Dianella tasmanica 'TR20' PBR
Performs well in many conditions in Perth, South Australia, Victoria, Tasmania, ACT and in NSW.
• Nice flowers and berries
• Has been grown with no known reseeding issues
• In colder parts it gets winter red growth on foliage
• Wide leaf looks like a compact wide leaf Phormium, but with really nice flowers
Prune back half way when needed each 3 to 7 years. It is more important to have a sharp implement for wider leaf plants. Sharp shears work well. Fertilise with 8 to 12 month slow release fertiliser if darker green foliage is desired.
LITTLE JESS™ Dianella caerulea 'DCMP01' PBR
Little Jess is a great compact low maintenance plant for humid areas, and moderately cold areas.
• Mass purple flowers
• Architectural shape
• Drought and moderately frost tolerant
• Non invasive
Prune every 2 to 3 years in gardens, and every 4 to 6 years on roadsides. Trim to half height. Avoid pruning in winter if possible. Slow release fertiliser is recommended for gardens every couple of years. Roadsides generally do OK without it, but for a darker foliage colour apply as for the garden.
BABY BLISS® Dianella revoluta 'DTN03' PBR
An excellent garden or mass planting choice for low blue foliage. Works well all over Australia, but avoid using in depressed areas that get extra wet. It does well in dry situations. Further south where humidity is lower, it can work in depressed spots as long as they are not permanently wet.
• Mass spring flowers
• Vivid blue foliage
• Tough little plant
• Very frost tolerant
• Non invasive
Prune back every 2 to 3 years. Cut back to half way on mass planting areas. For gardens older leaves can be removed if that is preferable. For a more vivid blue colour use 8 to 12 months slow release fertiliser.
FLAMIN’® Phormium tenax 'PHOS3' PBR
A vibrant and midsized Phormium.
• More vibrant colour than other single colour Phormiums
• Mid sized
• Tougher than other purperea types
• Grows as well as green Phormiums
In gardens remove older leaves if ever needed. On roadsides, prune after 4 to 5 years if it gets too high for line of sight reasons or if it needs rejuvenating. It works well with out fertiliser, but will look more vibrant if 8 to 12 month slow release fertiliser is used.
SWEET MIST® Phormium tenax 'PHOS2' PBR
The richest colour and most dense, compact Phormium in Australia.
• Rich colour
• Stronger grower than Elfin
For gardens, if Sweet Mist ever gets discoloured foliage simply pull out dry looking bits. For mass planting like roadsides, the new foliage will after a period grow over the older looking foliage, so pruning should only be needed after 5 to 7 years. For a richer colour fertilise with an 8 to 12 month slow release fertiliser.
CASSA BLUE® Dianella caerulea 'DBB03' PBR
It performs extremely well in less humid regions.
• Blue foliage
• Very low seed set, so a safe environmental choice
• Mass flowering
• Excellent drought, frost and cold tolerance
• Good salt spray tolerance
Prune back half way every 3 to 5 years or alternatively, pull out older leaves. Performs better with 8 to 12 slow release fertiliser every 2 years.
LITTLE REV™ Dianella revoluta 'DR5000' PBR
Performs well all over Australia, but in humid areas like Queensland, avoid using it in depressed areas that may get periodic wet feet. For humid climates it is best used in raised areas or flat areas that do not get water runoff from paths or roads. Further south in non humid regions, this is not as much of an issue.
• Compact blue architectural foliage
• Tidy looking plant
• Excellent drought, cold and frost tolerance
• Rarely, if ever, produces seed; safe for the environment
It will eventually need pruning when it starts to go untidy, but this can be after 3 years on some sites, and up to 5 years on others. If the plant is reasonably healthy, trim back to about 1 third the height, but if it has lots of brown (usually because it has not been pruned for half a decade), trim down to 15cm and rake out dormant foliage (or just rake out dormant foliage without trimming).
After pruning apply 8 to 12 month slow release fertiliser.
BREEZE® Dianella caerulea 'DCN0' PBR
Works all over New Zealand, but will go dormant in colder regions after a cold winter. It shoots well after winter.
• Excellent flowers
• Grows very dense and out competes weeds well
• Green foliage
• Non invasive
Prune each year if possible in cold regions where the plant goes dormant. In regions where the plant stays evergreen (most of North Island, and some parts of the South Island), prune back to about a third of the height every 3 years.
Lomandra longifolia 'KATRINUS DELUXE' PBR
Has the best winter colour of all Ozbreed plants. It works well all over Australia. Katrinus Deluxe has stayed evergreen when the temperature has reached -12°c, but it was only that cold once in the year. It does very well in the humidity.
• Very reliable
• Nice big yellow flowers
• Ultra low maintenance.
• Only slightly bigger than Tanika
• Broader leaf than Tanika, but still fine compared to most Lomandra longifolia types
This plant can go for many years before it needs pruning. It is usually a height issue that may require it to be pruned. After 7 years it may reach 800mm on average. If it does ever need pruning, simply prune to a ball at about half its height. Use sharp shears. The ball shape is very attractive.
Use 8 to 12 month slow release at planting. Will only need slow release fertiliser after that if dark green plants are desired.
AMETHYST™ Liriope muscari 'LIRTP' PBR
A compact Liriope with dark green foliage and bold, tall purple flowers. It works all over Australia.
• Tallest purple flowers
• Great foliage
• Super cold and heat tolerant
It is best to prune back to the ground each year around August if possible. If it cannot be pruned the new growth will cover discoloured growth by October or November. Amethyst has reasonably good winter colour compared to other Liriopes. For darker green foliage use 8 to 12 months Slow
ISABELLA® Lirope muscari 'LIRF' PBR
Isabella is a spreading, low growing lawn alternative fine leaf Liriope. It can be used all over Australia, even very cold places. It will discolour in winter in climates that regularly get -8°c, but it will survive in climates down to -15°c.
• Lawn alternative for sun or shade
• Mow once a year
• Masses of pink flowers
• Unlike Mondo it is sun tough
• Very, very low seed set
Mow in August every year. Collect clippings with a catcher. For darker green foliage use 8 to 12 months Slow Release fertiliser.
NYALLA® Lomandra longifolia 'LM400' PBR
Works well all over Australia except for alpine regions.
• Excellent salt spray tolerance
• More upright and 20% bigger than Tanika
• Slightly more glaucous
• Highly drought and frost tolerant
CARE Trim in ball shape if needed, usually about half way. Preferably trim each 3 to 7 years. Will live and prosper without pruning for more than a decade, but will look better with pruning after 3 to 7 years. If in high profile area, use slow release fertiliser each 1 to 2 years; 8 to 12 month preferably. Will survive and prosper for more than a decade without fertiliser, but will look more dark green with. Fertilising yearly will result in pruning being required after about 3 to 4 years. Thus if it is on a high profile site use fertiliser, if a roadside, fertilise at time of planting
Isabella | Nyalla