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The Gardening Coach: January

PUBLISHED: 18:54 12 January 2015 | UPDATED: 18:54 12 January 2015

Wisteria should be pruned back now for abundant flowers in the summer

Wisteria should be pruned back now for abundant flowers in the summer

Archant

Judy Shardlow says now is the time to be thinking about glorious wisteria

It might seem strange to be thinking about wisteria in the dark winter months, but January is the perfect time for pruning this beautiful climbing plant.

Wisteria pruning is usually a two stage process. In the summer, around July, the long whippy green growth is shortened back to the older brown wood, so that about five or six flower buds are left on each green stem. Then in late January, those shortened stems are cut back again to just two or three flower buds. Don’t worry if you didn’t manage to get around to the summer pruning this year, you can just go straight to stage two, but ideally you should do the majority of pruning in summer after flowering.

Wisterias have the capacity to grow quickly and cover a large area. Regular pruning is important to keep them in check and to ensure that the climber puts energy into swelling buds for next year’s flowers. Wisteria sinensis (Chinese wisteria) and wisteria floribunda (Japanese wisteria) are the most commonly planted species. But there is also a smaller compact wisteria cultivar available; wisteria frutescens ‘Amethyst Falls’, which is very good for containers and has beautiful purple, compact clusters of flowers.

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Top Tips for January

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Tidy Hellebores

Remove the old, leathery leaves of Helleborus orientalis to show off beautiful emerging flowers and make way for new foliage.

Manage snowfalls

Heavy snowfalls can damage trees and shrubs, so act quickly and brush snow off of branches.

Enjoy champagne rhubarb

Who doesn’t love pink rhubarb? Place a terracotta pot or upturned dustbin to create dark, warm conditions and produce sweet, champagne-pink stems.

Order seeds

Seed catalogues are a great source of inspiration for vegetable and flower gardens and January is the perfect time to plan what you’re going to grow in the coming year.

Cut back grasses

Deciduous grasses that have been left over winter, such as Miscanthus, Pennisetum and Panicum, should be cut back to ground level now before new growth appears.

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