Pruning Ixora

Location: Houston, TX

Question: How/when should I prune Ixora? They are in pots which I moved into the garage during our short winter and are in the form of small shrubs, with branches 2-3 feet long. On one shrub, each branch is bare except for 3-4 leaves at the end of each branch. Theother still has most of its leaves and has buds at the end of many branches. Will it set new buds if I prune the branches now, or should I wait until fall to prune it? I've heard these are hard to grow, and I want to prune them correctly.

Answer: I know it's hard to store potted shrubs in the home, but Ixora need sun and warmth (at least 60F) to stay healthy. The one that has lost leaves will probably bounce back once you put it outside, but next winter, see if you can provide them with more natural light, warmth and humidity. The best time to prune them is after they've bloomed. At that point, trim the shoots that have bloomed down to one bud, or to the degree that will maintain an attractive form. As for routine care, feed them every other week with a dilute fertilizer, and water liberally from spring through fall. Reduce watering for the brief winter period. Each spring, remove the top layer of soil, being careful not to disturb roots, and replace it with a fresh dose of compost. Hope this helps!

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