Gardening Articles: Landscaping :: Trees, Shrubs, & Vines

Trumpet Vine (page 3 of 3)

by Alain Charest

Pruning

Pruning trumpet vines is very straightforward and simple to do. Usually the plant is grown on a wall. You have a stem and some main branches that cling to the wall. Each spring, bunches of whips (3 to 4 feet long) grow out of these branches and away from the wall toward the sun. These are covered with leaves and, at their tips, a great many orange trumpets appear in early summer. In the first month, the quantity of bloom is quite spectacular, and contrary to, for instance, most reblooming roses, it remains impressive for most of the summer.

Once all the leaves have fallen after the first frost, you are left with "sticks" growing out of the main branches, away from the wall. You simply have to cut off all of these sticks at the base and the following year new ones will appear to once again produce a magnificent display. This pruning can be done any time from after the leaves have fallen until spring. It is an ideal job for the middle of winter when there are fewer things to do in the garden.

If the plant has been neglected for a few years, prune off everything that is not growing on the wall. This will ensure good blooms the next year. To give it the shape you want, you can also remove branches growing on the wall in inappropriate places (like at the top of the wall or under the eaves troughs).

After pruning, you are left with a bundle of woody but flexible whips that are 3 to 4 feet long. These are excellent to recycle as stakes for peas or for plants with heavy blooms such as double peonies. They can also be bent and used to support short plants such as dianthus. In this case, bend the stems and insert each end into the ground, making half loops through which your plants will grow and support themselves. You can also use these loops in pots.

Alain Charest, an avid home gardener and garden photographer, lives in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada.

Photography by Alain Charest

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