Cameo japanese flowering quince

Flowering Quince Pruning: Tips On Pruning A Flowering Quince

Flowering quince offer colorful blossoms in springtime. However, most gardeners plant flowering quince for the fruit that develops from the flowers. Although this shrub generally requires little maintenance, pruning a flowering quince is essential to helping the plant develop a framework that allows ample flowering and fruiting. Read on for more information about flowering quince pruning.

Flowering Quince Pruning

You’ll need to trim flowering quince back between autumn and before leaf break-in in springtime. This is the case with most other bushes that flower in spring. Most light pruning is generally undertaken just after flowering. Heavy structural pruning is done in winter while the plant is dormant.

Failure to trim flowering quince can result in leggy, overgrown plants. Pruning a flowering quince encourages the tree to produce vigorous new growth. Since the shrub flowers and fruits only on new wood, new growth is important. Look for the small, lateral branches;

those are the ones that produce flowers and fruits.

When you are cutting back flowering quince correctly, you are ensuring that the plant has an open framework that allows generous fruit production.

Tips on Cutting Back Flowering Quince

One goal of cutting back flowering quince is to open up the center of the plant. To that end, inspect growth on the inside of the tree and trim flowering quince growth in this area. If you do this during winter dormancy, it is easiest on the tree. However, since the shrub produces flowers on one-year-old wood, trimming in winter removes flower buds.

Prune out up to one-quarter of the oldest branches that are close to the ground. Prune back the longest branches to lateral buds. While you are pruning a flowering quince, trim off all dead, damaged or crowded branches. Remove these completely and close to the trunk. Always use sharp pruners disinfected with a solution of bleach and water.

How to Prune an Overgrown Flowering Quince

If your flowering quince has not been trimmed in years, you may wonder how to prune an overgrown flowering quince. The easiest way to rejuvenate these shrubs is to cut them all the way to the ground in early spring. The flowering quince regrows from its roots into a shorter plant with lots of flowers.

Only renew a flowering quince in this fashion once every three to five years, and don’t do it if the shrub has more than one dead branch to begin with. Consider rejuvenation if the shrub looks woody and produces little fruit. Note that your flowering quince will not bloom at all the first year after it is cut back.

Pruning Flowering Shrubs

Figure 1.

Why Prune?

Pruning is the selective removal of specific plant parts for the benefit of the whole plant. Some reasons to prune are to train a plant, maintain plant health, improve the quality of flowers, fruits and stems, restrict growth, remove damaged and diseased branches, and to increase air circulation that can decrease specific plant diseases.

When to Prune

Spring-flowering shrubs bloom on one-year-old wood that grew the previous summer. They generally bloom before the end of June and should be pruned immediately after flowering. If these shrubs are pruned before flowering, the flower buds that developed last year will be removed, reducing or eliminating flowering.

Summer-flowering shrubs bloom from buds that developed on new wood that grew in the spring of the current year. These species should be pruned in late winter or early spring to promote vigorous growth early in the summer.

Figure 2.

DO NOT prune spring- or summer-flowering shrubs in late summer or early fall (after mid-August through leaf fall). Pruning is an invigorating process that stimulates new growth which may not “harden off” by winter. This may lead to cold damage or winter injury. The EXCEPTION is dead, diseased, damaged or doublecrossed limbs (the Four D’s) that should be pruned out at any time. DO NOT prune newly-planted shrubs unless limbs are damaged. Newly-planted shrubs need all the leaves possible to encourage root regeneration.

What to Prune

Observe the plant. The first consideration for removal should be wood that is dead, diseased, damaged or double-crossed as mentioned above. Then remove suckers (found at the base of the plant) and water sprouts (growing thick and straight up through the plant). Older wood that has ceased to flower should also be removed.

The object of pruning is to open up the top of the plant to permit light and air to reach the interior. This aids in flower bud formation and reduced disease incidents. Consider the “one-third rule”: remove about one-third of the oldest wood at the ground level and cut back one-third of the younger, newer canes about one-third of their height per season. This also results in the continuous renewal of the plant.

Figure 3.

How to Prune

There are two basic types of pruning cuts: heading cuts and thinning cuts. Heading cuts remove part of a branch back to a bud. The direction in which the top remaining bud is pointed will determine the direction of new growth. Selective heading cuts will reduce the shrub’s height and retain its natural form.

Thinning cuts remove an entire limb to the point where it originates. This opens up the canopy and increases light penetration and air circulation. Thinning cuts can be used to reduce the overall size of the plant without significantly changing its natural form. When one-third of the plant’s oldest stems are cut to the ground, it is called renovation or renewal pruning. This can be done in spring or summer.

Figure 4.

When all the stems are cut within six inches from the ground in the early spring before growth starts, it is called rejuvenation pruning. Rejuvenation is typically done no more than every three to five years. It works well on multi-stemmed, twiggy shrubs such as Berberis, Buddleia, Chaenomeles, red-twig dogwood (Cornus), Cotinus, Forsythia, Hydrangea, Kolkwitzia, Ligustrum, Lonicera, Philadelphus, Potentilla, Rhus, Spirea and Weigela.

Shearing is a quick, easy and common pruning technique. However, frequent shearing does not encourage new growth from the base of the plant, which is needed to promote flowering. Shearing removes most of the flower buds and encourages thick outer foliage growth that shades out the interior and bottom of the plant. Shearing destroys the natural appearance of the plant. Over time, the shrub becomes woody with lots of dead branches and few flowers. Replacement is the best option to refresh the landscape.

Make pruning cuts correctly. For heading cuts, prune 1/4 inch above the bud, sloping down and away from it at a 45 degree angle. Avoid cutting too close or steep, or the bud may die. Make thinning cuts just above the side branches and roughly parallel to them. Keep in mind the direction that you want the new stem to grow and select for a bud that faces in that direction.

DO NOT use wound dressing or paint on pruning cuts. These materials do not prevent decay or aid in healing. When pruning dead and diseased branches, make thinning cuts into healthy wood. Disinfect tools between each cut with rubbing alcohol (a small spray bottle works well).

Formal hedges should be pruned to allow sunlight to reach all parts of the canopy, including the base of the plant. A properly pruned hedge has a wide base and narrower top, like a modified pyramid. A hedge with a narrow base and wide top will have little foliage or flowers at the bottom due to the lack of light.

Some roses bloom on current season’s growth and tend to be repeat bloomers and will flower almost continuously from early summer until frost (hybrid tea, grandiflora, floribunda, some ramblers and climbers, depending on variety/cultivars). These roses should be pruned in the spring after winter protection is removed. Some roses bloom on the previous season’s growth and are once-blooming types that have a single flush of flowers in early summer (Albas, Damask, Gallica, moss, some ramblers and climbers, depending on variety/cultivar). Spring pruning should be limited to removing dead or diseased canes. Summer pruning (after bloom and before mid-August) can be done to shape up these roses.

Spring-flowering shrubs (prune after flowering)

Botanical Name Common Name
Amelanchier shadblow
Berberis barberry
Calycanthus sweetshrub
Chaenomeles flowering quince
Cornus spp. dogwood
Cotinus smokebush
Cotoneaster cotoneaster
Daphne daphne
Deutzia deutzia
Euonymus euonymus
Forsythia forsythia
Fothergilla fothergilla
Hamamelis witch-hazel
Hydrangea arborescens smooth hydrangea
Hydrangea paniculata Pee-gee hydrangea
Kerria kerria
Kolkwitzia beautybush
Laburnum laburnum
Ligustrum privet
Lindera spicebush
Lonicera honeysuckle
Philadelphus mock orange
Physocarpus ninebark
Pieris andromeda
Pyracantha firethorn
Rhododendron rhododendron and azalea
Ribes currant
Rosa spp. roses
Spiraea spp. bridal wreath spirea
Syringa lilac
Viburnum viburnum
Weigela weigela
Wisteria wisteria

Summer-flowering shrubs (prune before spring growth begins)

Botanical Name Common Name
Abelia glossy abelia
Buddleia butterfly bush
Callicarpa beautyberry
Caryopteris bluebeard
Ceanothus Jersey tea
Clethra summersweet
Hibiscus rose of Sharon
Hydrangea macropylla bigleaf hydrangea
Hypericum St. Johnswort
Itea sweetspire
Potentilla cinquefoil
Rhus sumac
Rosa spp. rose
Spiraea x bumalda Waterer spirea
Symphoricarpos /coralberry
Vitex chaste tree

Illustrations used with permission. VanDerZanden, Ann Marie and Diane Nelson. 2004. Pruning Ornamental Shrubs, PM 1958, Iowa State University Extension, 8 pp.

December 2013

Copyright © 2020 Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. All rights reserved.

For more information:

Cooperating Agencies: Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and County Boards of Chosen Freeholders. Rutgers Cooperative Extension, a unit of the Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, is an equal opportunity program provider and employer.

Texas Scarlet Flowering Quince – Chaenomeles – 3 Pack

Tne look at ‘Texas Scarlet’ flowering quince in bloom and most gardeners are sold! Scarlet flowers emerge in early spring before the emerging young foliage which is also red and matures into glossy green foliage.

It is a dense, broad-rounded, deciduous shrub with often-tangled, occasionally spiny-tipped twigs. Flowers are followed by hard, yellowish-green fruits (2.5″ quinces) that may acquire red tinges as they mature in autumn. Quinces are edible, but usually are considered too bitter to be eaten directly from the shrub. Quinces are sometimes used in preserves and jellies. Oval to oblong, glossy dark green leaves (to 3.5″ long). No fall color.


  • You are purchasing a 3 pack of Texas Scarlet Flowering Quince – 4″ Pots
  • Profusion of Scarlet Flowers in early Spring
  • Foliage emerges red and matures to green
  • Fruit is edible or left for wildlife
  • Easy care
  • Flowers for cutting
  • Plants bloom on old growth
  • Avoid heavy pruning. Prune to shape as needed in spring after flowering to stimulate growth of flowering spurs which will improve bloom for the following year (although such pruning will reduce fruit production for the current year)
  • Note: Images are of mature plants
  • Family: Chaenomeles japonica ‘Texas Scarlet’
  • Mature Size: 6′ x 6′
  • Soil: Average, well-drained
  • Hardiness Zone: 5-9
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun/Part Shade
  • Characteristics: Deciduous, spreading, spring flowering, blooms on old growth
  • Growth Rate: Moderate
  • Bloom: Tomato Red
  • Tolerance: Drought, poor soil
  • Suggested Uses: Beds & Borders, Ground Covers, Barrier, Hedge, Cut Flowers, Attracts Wildlife

Forsythia, flowering quince call for annual pruning


Question: I have forsythia and flowering quince. When and how to I prune these? They have rampant growth, but I don’t want to accidentally prune so much that I don’t get any flowers next year.

Answer: I’ll assume that your shrubs are mature, as you called them “rampant.” Yes, these shrubs grow really fast, and it is good to know how to keep them from taking over your yard. The best time to prune is right after flowering.

Make it a habit to prune part of each bush back each year. This practice promotes new fresh growth, which flowers more than old, tired growth. Cut back about a third of the the oldest branches all the way to the base. Remove weak, spindly or overly crowded branches as well. When new growth sprouts out later in the season, you can pinch the ends of it off to stimulate branching and encourage more flowering next spring.

If you have a hopelessly overgrown forsythia bush, you can cut the whole shrub back to within a foot of the ground surface. Then new branches will grow back. Remove all that are crowded. This drastic pruning regime will mean that you won’t have any flowers on it next spring. But the year after next, you’ll get a nice bloom.

With flowering quince, you can prune it some when it is blooming, as its coral-colored flowers are lovely to bring inside. Remove any crossing branches, thin or weak wood and about a third of the really old branches each year. Flowering quince bushes tend to send out underground shoots each year. Remove these as well. Quince can get really think and tangled, so don’t be shy with the pruning tools.

Why twine beats out fences when it comes to hops

Q: I am planning on buying and planting hops this month for an ornamental and the hops. Can you recommend where I might buy hops rhizomes? Can I grow them on my 9-foot-high woven wire deer fence? Are there any other uses for them besides beer?

A: Hops are tall perennial twining vines, so if you are going for flower production, you’ll do best with a support system that lets the stems grow tall and wind around something. This gives them the most light.

But if you want them along a tall wire fence, they’ll wind around the fence. There’s one drawback to growing them on a fence rather than strings or twine. The vines are super tough. They die back each year but don’t really decompose quickly. Several years of scratchy tough vines will wind around your fence and be hard to remove.

If they are not removed each year, they become a tough, unsightly mess after a few years. Instead of a fence, grow them up string, paper, sisal, coir twine or anything else slightly rough that the elongating stems can grip well. Then you can cut the support twine down after the year is over and cut the vines off at ground level each fall after die back.

I know what a pain hops on fences are because I planted hop vines around my tall deer fence about 18 years ago. One of my hop vines planted along my tall wire deer fence has taken over and shaded out about 25 feet of my flower bed. And I pull out lots of the shoots each spring.

Hop “bines,” the name for the elongated stems of the hop vine, can really scratch and give you a rash if you scrape against them. Wear gloves and a long-sleeve shirt when working around them.

If I were you, I’d plant them on twine or something you can take down, cut and pull the vines off each year. This is what hop growers do.

An easy way to get a new hops plant is to find a friend with a plant and dig up a rhizome now (in February) from the soil, while the plant is still dormant. Get a 3- to 4-inch section with roots with pinkish-white stem buds. Plant it in a pot. Put it in a sunny window, and it will soon start to grow. Plant it out in the late spring after danger of frost has passed.

When buying hops plants, whole female plants or rhizomes are available for sale. The rhizome is the underground stem of the hop that produces growing buds and roots.

Many local nurseries and catalogs now sell hops rhizomes and plants, including The Thyme Garden in Alsea,; Nichol’s Garden Nursery in Albany,; and Weeks Berry Nursery in Keizer,

I don’t make beer, but I harvest my hop cones and dry them and make “dream pillows,” little sachets for my friends. They are supposed to induce sleep and bring good dreams. The shoots can be eaten like asparagus as well.

How to Prune Flowering Quince

Flowering quinces are charming shrubs that are often found planted near old homesteads. There are two types of flowering quince. One is chaenomeles japonica, which is a compact shrub reaching 3 feet high with bright reddish orange flowers. The other is chaenomeles speciosa or common flowering quince, which can reach 10 feet high with a spread of 10 to 15 feet. The flowers of the common flowering quince will vary with cultivar and can be red, white, pink or apricot. Both quinces flower in late winter to early spring on old wood. Flowering on old wood means the plant develops the buds that turn into flowers in mid to late summer. These plants need to be pruned after they have flowered.

Prune both chaenomeles japonica and chaenomeles speciosa in mid to late spring after they have finished flowering and the flowers have faded.

Remove the flower clusters, cutting back to a strong outward-facing bud.

Prune off broken, diseased or dead branches at ground level or back to live wood. Make cuts in live woods a half to 1 inch above an outward facing (facing away from the interior of the shrub) bud or branch. Pruning to an outward facing bud opens the interior of the shrub to light and air, which can increase the amount of flower buds produced while decreasing the chances of insect or disease pests.

Cut back older branches (branches 5 years old or older or more than 4 inches in diameter) back to the ground. Make the cut as close to the soil line as you can to prevent unattractive stubs. You don’t have to cut back all of the older branches in one year because removing more than a third of the shrub in a year may harm the plant.

Trim back 2-year-old stems to outward facing buds or branches.

Prune off lanky stems with few branches and awkwardly positioned branches.

Walk around your flowering quince. Look at the shape and the position of the branches. If you like how it looks, stop. If there are branches at odd angles prune those off until the shrub takes the desired shape.

Cameo Flowering Quince – Chaenomeles – 1 Gallon

I hope you can find room in your garden for this flowering quince! Among the first flowers to appear each year, for three luxurious weeks each May, it adorns itself in hundreds of delightful soft apricot-pink blooms, fully-double, antique rose-type flowers.

Lovely flowers aren’t Cameo’s only value. When the stems drop their leaves in autumn, a vast quantity of edible fruit becomes apparent and the birds will love it!

  • You are purchasing Cameo Japanese Flowering Quince – 1 Gallon Pot
  • Early flowering shrub
  • Attracts birds
  • Easy Care
  • Flowers for cutting
  • Year-round interest
  • Plants bloom on old growth
  • Avoid heavy pruning. Prune to shape as needed in spring after flowering to stimulate growth of flowering spurs which will improve bloom for the following year (although such pruning will reduce fruit production for the current year)
  • Note: Images are of mature plants
  • Family: Chaenomeles japonica ‘Cameo’
  • Mature Size: 4′ x 5′
  • Soil: Average, well-drained
  • Hardiness Zone: 5-9
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun/Part Shade
  • Characteristics: Deciduous, spreading, spring flowering, blooms on old growth
  • Growth Rate: Moderate
  • Bloom: Peach/Pink
  • Tolerance: Drought, poor soil
  • Suggested Uses: Hedge, specimen or group border/cottage garden

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *