How to Prune Sericea Lespedeza

Lespedeza sericea foliage. image by


A perennial flowering sub-shrub with both herbaceous and woody branches, lespedeza sericea is widely grown as hedging, privacy screens and as specimen plants in bed and borders. It is a low maintenance plant that requires minimal pruning on a regular basis but can tolerate and quickly recover from it if necessary. Hardy in USDA zones 6a to 8b, lespdeza sericea produces white or cream colored blooms in late summer and early fall.

Step 1

Tidy up and maintenance-prune your lespedeza sericea throughout the growing season. Inspect the shrub periodically when watering looking for damaged or diseased foliage and branches cutting them away as come across them. Prune away any browned, dry or dead leaves and branches. Also pick off any spent blooms or dead leaves caught in shrub canopy or that may have fallen down onto the soil.

Step 2

Conduct annual pruning for shape and size and interior air flow in the early spring. Complete this annual pruning at the tail end of the dormant period before any new growth emerges. Cut off the tops of the branches to establish the desired top shape and height of the shrub. Prune the circumference to establish the desired spread and shape. Thin the interior if needed to allow more sunlight penetration and air flow by cutting the branches at their base and pulling the cuttings from the canopy. Evenly distribute the cuts throughout the interior of the plant to maintain a balanced looking shrub and encourage even regrowth.

Step 3

Hard prune down to 1 foot in branch height when you need to rejuvenate or entirely re-size or re-shape the shrub. Hard pruning can be necessary after long periods of neglect and overgrowth, after disease or physical damage to the branching structure of the shrub. Use loppers to cut back all foliage leaving roughly a foots length of core branches.

Tips and Warnings

  • Lespedeza sericea is considered an invasive species in some states and regions and once well established proves challenging to eradicate even with chemical intervention. Consider these issues when electing to plant this shrub and select a planting location carefully.

Things You'll Need

  • Long-handled loppers or shears
  • Secateurs
  • Garden gloves
  • Water


  • Cornell University
  • Missouri Department of Conservation
  • North Carolina State University
Keywords: lespedeza sericea cuneata, prune cut back shape, flowering evergreen shrub

About this Author

A communications professional, D.C. Winston has more than 17 years of experience writing and editing content for online publications, corporate communications, business clients, industry journals and film/broadcast media. Winston studied political science at the University of California, San Diego.

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