Trees, Shrubs, Flowers: 10 Plants Not to Prune in Winter to Avoid Damaging Them

by Kremy

In late fall and early winter, many of us try to prepare our gardens for the months of plant dormancy. Yes, there are plenty of tasks that need to be done at this time of year, including pruning perennials. However, among the plants whose pruning during the cold season is essential, there are also certain plants that should not be pruned in winter so as not to compromise their development. But do you know what plants not to prune in winter and why the cold season is not the time to do so?

Plants Not to Prune in Winter, What Are They?

what plants not to prune in winter shrubs flowers trees

Pruning the plants in our gardens is a major part of their annual maintenance. And while some plants do require trimming when it’s cold, you need to know that there are many plants not to prune in winter, or even during fall. Typically, these plants include:

  • Trees that bleed (birches, Japanese maples or elms) and which produce a lot of sap when pruned.
  • Rose bushes that bloom once a year, which must be pruned after flowering in summer.
  • Trees and shrubs that flower in winter should be pruned after flowering. Pruning in winter will hinder their growth.

Here’s a more precise list of species that should be allowed to overwinter without being pruned:

Clematis: Among the Plants Not to Prune in Winter

plants not to prune in winter shrubs flowers trees clematis

Clematis is a very beautiful shrub, but pruning it at the wrong time can really damage it and hinder its flowering the next growing season. But when is the best time to do it then? It will all depend on the variety you have in your garden: generally, these shrubs need light pruning just after the end of flowering. And for species that flower in winter: it’s best to leave pruning for early spring.

Also read: Frost Resistant Evergreen Shrubs: 4 Plants That Will Brighten Up the Garden in Winter


plants not to prune in winter shrubs flowers trees jasmine

This divine-smelling shrub is also one of the plants not prune in winter so as not to damage its flowering. The exception to the rule is winter jasmine, which blooms during the cold season.


shrubs not to prune in winter rosemary

Rosemary is one of the main plants in our herb gardens! However, if you decide to prune it on old wood, it can absolutely kill this plant. In fall you can prune it slightly to improve its shape, but this must be done at least 4 weeks before the first frost. Leave heavy pruning for spring.


when to prune rhododendron

Rhododendron is a low maintenance shrub that generally does not need heavy pruning. However, if you decide to prune this spectacular flowering plant, don’t do it during winter! They on old wood and should be pruned in early fall or summer.

Also read: Expert Opinion: Can You Prune Rhododendron in Fall? When? How to Prepare It for Winter?


trees not to prune in winter honeysuckle

Honeysuckle is a beautiful, strong-smelling climber that tolerates heat very well. However, as it is a plant that flowers in spring, its pruning should be left for the period just after flowering.

Japanese Maple

when to prune japanese maple fall winter

As mentioned earlier in the article, the Japanese maple, like birches and elms, is a plant not to prune in winter, because it produces a lot of sap. The pruning must be done in spring.

Cherry and Pear Trees

trees not to prune in winter cherry pear

Cherry and pear trees are among our favorite fruit trees for their delicious fruit. However, if you do not want to reduce your harvest, it’s essential to avoid cutting them when it’s cold.

Also read: Prune and Overwinter Eucalyptus: What Should You Pay Attention to in Fall?


can we prune rosebushes in winter fall

There are many varieties of rose bushes and some of these varieties are among the plants not to prune in winter. Damask and moss roses, for example, can be lightly pruned in late fall, but heavy pruning should be left until early spring. Otherwise, the plants may be damaged.

Also read: How to Prune Bush Roses – Take Care of the Queen of Flowers

Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia)

when to prune sage winter fall

This beautiful ornamental plant with many benefits definitely should not be cut in fall or winter. This makes it much more susceptible to the cold. Instead, to protect it, use a layer of mulch to cover it until spring.

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