Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

In the Garden:
Coastal and Tropical South
July, 2007
Regional Report

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Regular pruning keeps fragrant jasmine in place and in bloom.

Vine Care

Loving vines is easy when you know what each sort needs. Some need frequent tending to keep them from getting out of bounds and flowering their best -- good for those who like to putter in the garden. Others need little maintenance. Be realistic about the time you have, and choose accordingly.

Leading Ladies
If you like the idea of shaping a plant's growth, try vines that are in bloom much of the year, such as vanilla trumpet vine (Distictis), with its showy, pale purple, scented flowers. Consistent deadheading keeps it and other vines blooming, including blackeyed Susan vine, clock vine (Thunbergia), and firecracker vine (Manettia).

Growing vines on structures large and small can be a clever way to show them to best advantage. Creeping fig vine readily climbs up and around obelisks and columns, as will star jasmine if you lead it. Tie the first runners if needed, then let the fig creep and the jasmine twine. When the form is covered, keep the excess clipped off to maintain the shape and keep the new growth coming.

Mandevilla vines, pink or white, are often sold on small trellises that they soon outgrow. Transplant them, trellis and all, into their place at the base of a larger trellis to steady the transition. Wisteria, that rampant import, can be kept in check with pruning in summer and winter. At this time of year, cut back the vines that cannot be kept on the arbor, pergola, or old tree. In January, clip each side branch along the main canes to encourage flowering.

Better Left Alone
Those who love vines but don't want to prune them, take heart! The native, lovely, yellow Carolina Jessamine and both trumpet vines (Bignonia and Campsis) need only space to climb and trail. The antique roses 'Mermaid' and 'Red Cascade' count their growth in yards, not feet, and they bloom for years with little pruning. Most often it's only necessary to keep their vigorous canes growing in the direction of your choice.

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