Renovating a daisy bush (Olearia macrodonta)

Last winter’s and this spring’s storms and hard frosts left one of my daisy bushes (Olearia macrodonta) looking a little the worse for wear. It was also getting a bit leggy. So, back at the end of March I gave it a bit of a chop.

I couldn’t find much information on just how hard to cut it back – my books all said “little pruning is necessary” and “remove dead or diseased branches in spring”. Not so helpful, really.

The branches I wanted to take out were about five or six years old and just over an inch in diameter. Apart from the leaves at their tips they were bare all the way down their stems.

I took about four feet off; leaving about two feet of bare branch. And then I waited. And waited. By the middle of May I was becoming a bit worried that the branches wouldn’t revive. But scraping their bark showed they were still green and vital. So, I waited some more.

Olearia macrodonta buds bursting

Happily, in the last couple of days the branches have started to throw buds up all along their length, right up to the cut ends.

Daisy bush buds springing up along a cut branch (nb the glossy green leaves are of a Choisya growing behind the Olearia – the Olearia buds have the reddish leaf stalks)

I have heard that you can cut a daisy bush right down to the ground and it will resprout. But I’ve also heard that they might just give up and die. So, I prefer a more gradual approach to rejuvenation, and hope that this bush will be back to its full flowering beauty next summer.

Flowers on a neighbouring, unpruned, Olearia macrodonta

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