Pruning Wormwood
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: David Cordts
Posted on: June 2, 1999

I purchased 3 wormwood plants from Richter’s last year. After over-wintering, the plants have grown to almost 3 feet in height here in Northern Virginia, USA – very beautiful, although they are much more vigorous than I expected. It’s only Memorial Day (end of May) and I’m concerned that the plants may be too big. Can I prune them back at this point and still see growth for the remainder of the summer including possible flowering late in the season? Or is it best just to let them continue growing without trimming?

The plant has probably grown as tall as it is going to get, since the literature gives its height as 80 to 120 centimeters (under 3 feet to 4 feet). Your soil is probably quite rich and evenly moist resulting in plants that reach their genetic potential. The flowers will not be very showy in this species- panicles of insignificant, yellow, globose flowers are produced during the summer. You can certainly prune your plants, but it will cut down on the number of flowers produced later on. The plants usually make a few sideshoots and thus hide the chopped off tops after about a month. If you do it early enough, it will make the plants bushier. Do not chop them late in the year, because it could weaken the plants to the extent that they overwinter poorly.

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