Plenty more plants to trim and cut back

CUT BACK: Now is the time to trim many plants.

THIS week we add to the advice given in our last two columns regarding the annual winter cutback.  If you missed the past two weeks have a look at the chapter in our book Your Garden in Spain.  From planning to planting and maintenance.  If you don’t have it you might just catch the post Christmas special offer of gardening books in the Bookworld Shops of 60 per cent off.

An A TO Z of more to cut back or not

Acanthus – These are getting ready to flower so just remove any brown misshaped leaves or excess growth or plants.

Bay – Trim to a neat shape and spray with five centilitres propolis in a litre of water against black sooty leaves.

Caesalpinia – Trim off dead flower stalks and trim to shape and size appropriate to its planting position, also cut out unsightly crossing branches.

Datura – Trim dead flowers and cut back 25 per cent to stimulate new flowering growth.

Ericas, heathers – Trim plants that have stopped flowering, trim winter flowering varieties when they stop.

Ferrocatus – Carefully clean any dead fallen leaves from the thorns plus any irregular unpleasing growth. The latter can be used to propagate new plants.

Geraniums – Cut out dead deceased and untidy straggly growth.

Hydrangeas – Cut out dead growth and trim back other stems to one or two buds.

 Irises – Clear/cut away dead leaves and any dead stems not cut out during the summer.

Jasmines – Cut back as necessary to have tidy tight growth, unless you want them to grow into trees.

Kalanchoas – Trim straggly and dead growth after flowering ends.

Lagerstromea – Trim out growth that has flowered and shape.

Musas, bananas – Cut back dead/dying growth and use the leaves as a valuable high in potassium mulch around the base of the plants.

Narcissus – Leave until they have flowered and leaves die back.

Polygala – Leave or trim to shape.

Querus ilex, holm oak – trim to a pleasing shape with an attractive trunk clear of side growth.

Raspberry – Cut out dead stems and trim tips of live stems to new buds.

Santolina – These can become woody and straggly after a few years so trim back to stimulate more tidy young growth.

Teucrium – Trim as you would a hedge whether single plants or an internal edge.

Ulex, gorse – Cut back hard after winter flowering finishes.  Remove plants you don’t want.

Verbena – Trim back 25 to 75 per cent to have a neat plant that will create  new creeping flowering growth in the spring.

Waterlillies – Clear out dead leaves and stems.  In small or medium sized ponds remove plants from water every two or three years and cut back plants to the heart or reject the thick old plant and pot up one or more of the new young plants that have formed.

Xanthostemon, myrtle – Trim to shape.

Yucas – Trim to shape and height.  Remove dead flowered stems and leaves from stems if you want to see the trunks.  Cut off the dangerous spiky leaf ends on the varieties that have hard tips versus soft floppy leaves.

Zantedeschia, water arum lily – Remove dead or dying leaves and brown flowered stems.

Having cut back plants strim them for the compost heap or bag up for the weekly garden collection or for taking to the nearest eco park or green bins. Where possible avoid the pollution of a bonfire. Much of the coastal plain has been an unsightly unhealthy continuous cloud from agricultural bonfires. It used to happen in urbanisations!


(c) Clodagh and Dick Handscombe January 2013


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