Hartley Magazine

All the latest news, hints, tips and advice from our experts

Rambling roses and wisterias ‘will need pruning’

In an article for UK national newspaper the Guardian, former presenter of the Gardeners World television show and garden writer Alys Fowler underlined just how important it is for green-fingered enthusiasts to take action to keep certain plants in shape.

She specified that pruning is particularly important in order to maintain the growths in their best possible health – adding that this particularly applies to species such as lavender, hebe, rambling rose and wisteria – all of which were said to brush up nicely after a gentle summer haircut.

The expert added that while many people expect rambling roses or wisteria to grow fast, the desire to allow them to clothe their support quickly generally turns out to work to the detriment of the flowers.

She emphasised the fact that if they are not kept in check with judicious use of pruners and shears, then flowering could be forgone.

Wisterias in particular need to be kept an eye on, partly due to their nature as popular ornamental plants. Unlike many plants – which have Latin binominal names – the wisteria species was named by the botanist Thomas Nuttall after Dr Caspar Wistar – although some sources have suggested the spelling was altered in name of Nuttall's friend Charles Jones Wister.

"If your wisteria is sprawling, now is your moment to whip it back into submission," Ms Fowler commented.

"First, tie in any main growth that is creating your framework," she continued, adding: "The rest – all those long, whippy green side shoots produced this year – needs chopping back to five or six leaves."

"This controls growth, saves your gutters and encourages flowers. In January, cut back this same growth again to two or three buds and, with luck, flowers won't be hidden behind lush growth," the expert added.

She recommended that rambling roses are left to continue growing without interference until they have finished flowering. When the time has come, any excessive growth can be cut back by about two-thirds – and one in three of the main stems will also need to be cut directly from the base of the plant.

Ms Fowler explained that ramblers – unlike their close relations of the climbing variety – have much more growth from their bases, so more radical reduction can be affected without concern.

It was suggested that the older stems should be removed first – and these will be characterised by a brown or grey and distinctly woody look. However, an entire stem does not need to be taken out through a thicket of growth, as this will make it look worse for wear.