Pruning Trumpet Vines: Learn When And How To Prune A Trumpet Vine
The trumpet vine (Viscum album) is one of the most common plants in your yard. You may have seen it before or not, but if you haven’t, then chances are you will soon!
It’s a small plant with long stems and leaves that grow from the ground up to form a large trumpet shape. Its flowers are white, pink, purple or red.
In its native habitat, the trumpet vine grows along roadsides and other open areas where there is a good soil moisture level. However, it can grow anywhere in your garden area as long as you provide the right conditions for growth.
If you live in an area with mild winters like I do here in Minnesota, then your chances of having a trumpet vine growing near you are higher than they would be elsewhere.
What Is A Trumpet Vine?
A trumpet vine is a perennial herbaceous plant that grows from the ground up to form a large trumpet shape. The stems are usually shorter than tall, but they can reach heights of several feet. They have slender, pointed leaves that grow from the stem at different times throughout their life cycle. The flowers are white, pink, purple or red and they last only one day.
The trumpet vine is native to North America and Europe. In its native habitat, it prefers to grow in open fields, riverbanks and other areas with rich soil.
It is not a picky about where it grows, however, as long as certain conditions are met.
You can identify the trumpet vine by its long green trumpet-shaped flowers and its slender green leaves. It can be found growing in clusters near homes, roads and other open areas.
It can also be found in rocky soil and dry areas with poor soil. It is a wildflower that prefers dry and rocky areas, but it will grow in other locations as well.
The flowers of the trumpet vine bloom during the summer and stay on the vine throughout the rest of the year. Its flowers are commonly white, pink or red and grow in clusters, but some also have yellowish-white blooms.
The trumpet vine is also known as the maypop, wild apricot, tollgate flower and prairie Ghost.
This plant is often confused with the moonflower, which has similar looking flowers and grows in clusters as well. The main difference between the two is the moonflower’s large yellow blossoms that grow at night and wilt by midday.
How To Care For A Trumpet Vine
Now that you know how to identify a trumpet vine, you probably want to know how to care for one. This plant is fairly easy to grow as long as you provide it with the right growing conditions.
The first thing you need to do is make sure your soil is rich, moist and well drained. If you’re planting it in the ground, prepare the soil by mixing in several inches of organic matter such as peat or compost.
Water the soil well and make sure the area is well drained.
If you’re growing your vine in a container, choose a large pot so that the roots have plenty of room to grow. Fill it with a soilless mix or potting soil and make sure it has a drainage hole at the bottom.
Water it often so that the soil is always moist, but never soggy.
If you live in an area that experiences cold weather, make sure you choose a hardy variety because most trumpet vines aren’t frost tolerant.
This plant prefers full sun, but can tolerate partial shade. If you want your plant to bloom, however, it needs at least six hours of direct sunlight each day.
How To Take Care Of A Trumpet Vine
Now that you know how to grow a trumpet vine, you also need to know how to take care of it. If you want your plant to grow and thrive, proper maintenance is essential.
The first step in caring for a trumpet vine is to plant it in the garden or in a large container. Choose a spot in full sun and add plenty of organic matter to the soil before placing your plant in the ground.
If you’re planting it in a container, make sure you choose a large enough container and that it has a drainage hole. Fill it with a soilless mix or potting soil and make sure the plant gets at least 1 inch of water each week.
Add more organic matter to the soil each year to keep it healthy. Water your plant whenever the soil starts to dry out.
Fertilize it in early spring using a water-soluble fertilizer.
During the growing season, your plant may start to flower and set fruit. The blossoms will last for a few weeks and then turn into green berries.
These berries are edible and can be used to make jellies, jams or wines.
Prune your plant each winter (before new growth starts) by removing damaged or diseased limbs and any dead wood. Also remove any weak, spindly limbs and any suckers that grow from the base of the plant.
This will encourage it to develop stronger, more viable limbs that will yield more fruit.
How To Care For A Trumpet Vine In A Container
If you’re growing a trumpet vine in a container, take care that it gets at least 1 inch of water each week. Water the soil, not the plant itself, and water it deeply so that water drips out of the bottom of the pot.
Allow the top layer of soil to dry out before watering it again. Fertilize with a water-soluble fertilizer each month during the growing season.
Prune as directed above. Also remove any blossoms or immature fruit that form during the growing season.
This will encourage the plant to develop a strong structure before setting fruit.
Take cuttings from your plant each spring to grow new plants. This is a simple process and will provide you with several new plants to share with family and friends.
When taking cuttings, select new, healthy growth that has at least two or three pairs of leaves. Cut the stem with a sharp knife or pruning shears just below a node and remove the lower leaves.
Plant the cutting in moist potting soil and place it in a plastic bag. Store it in the refrigerator until new roots start to form (about 6 to 10 weeks) and then transfer it to its own container or into the garden.
Common Problems With A Trumpet Vine
Your plant is likely to suffer from few problems if you grow it in rich soil, provide it with adequate moisture and prune it as needed. Here are some of the most common issues.
Mites are tiny, spider-like creatures that infest plants. They’re too small to see without a magnifying glass and can quickly infect a large plant.
They cause leaves to turn yellow and die and may also spread a fungal disease through the plant. Check your plant for symptoms of an infestation such as slow wilting of leaves or webbing on the undersides of the leaves. Treat infested plants with neem oil or a miticide.
All plants are at risk of fungal diseases, especially if they are grown in containers where moisture can linger. Fungi most commonly attack the weak or damaged parts of a plant such as broken or wounded stems or leaves.
Prevention is key to avoiding fungal infection on your plant. Always water from the bottom and make sure your pot has a drainage hole. Remove any foliage that touches the water surface to reduce the risk of disease. If your plant does fall ill, treat it with a fungicide according to the package directions.
A canker is a sunken area on the stem that often includes dark brown or black marks. It is caused by insects or injury and should be treated immediately to prevent the spread.
If cankers aren’t treated, the plant will quickly begin to die. Remove all damaged areas and apply a tree wound dressing. You can also paint the stem with Wilt-Pruf to help protect it from future insects and injury.
Blossom Drop: Sometimes flowers are partially or entirely dropped from the plant without forming into fruit. This is usually due to environmental stress such as extreme temperatures, incorrect light levels, incorrect humidity, or irregular water or fertilizer.
Move your plant to a more stable environment and keep the water and fertilizer consistent.
Fruit Rots: Several fungal and bacterial diseases can cause rotting of the fruit. These often appear as wet, mushy, or discolored areas on the exterior of the fruit and may cause a strong odor.
Check your plant daily and remove any rotten or diseased fruit as soon as you notice it. Also be sure to harvest all of your plant’s fruit before it over ripens.
MSAC: This is a virus that attacks the foliage of plants and causes the leaves to turn yellow and die. It affects all parts of the plant except the fruit.
There is no cure for MSAC, but keeping your plant healthy and free of stress will help prevent an attack. Move your plant away from any potential sources of extreme heat or cold, keep the soil consistently moist but not soggy and avoid fertilizing your plant.
How To Propagate Trumpet Vines
It is possible to grow your plant from seed though the process is long and tedious. It can take several months for the seed to germinate and for the seedling to mature into a plant that’s big enough for transplanting.
The best way to grow more trumpet vines is to take cuttings from an adult plant.
Take a cutting after the vine has reached its mature growth. This will be the point in the season where it begins to flower.
Clip a piece of vine about 6 inches long and remove the largest leaves from the bottom half of the cutting. Also remove any flowers from the cutting.
Carefully pot the cutting in a mix of perlite and peat moss. The perlite and peat moss will help the soil retain extra water while keeping the roots from rotting.
Place the cutting in a clear plastic container to protect it from rodents and moisture. Place the container in a bright area but out of direct sunlight.
Water as needed to keep the soil mixture lightly moist. Don’t let it get soggy though or fungus and rot may begin to form killing the cutting.
After a few weeks, tiny roots should start to form.
Once there is evidence of new root growth, transplant your new vine into any size pot or grower that contains a well-draining potting medium. You can plant the cutting outside after all danger of frost has past.
This will allow the vine to receive all the sunlight and room it needs to grow.
©2012 Off the Grid News
Sources & references used in this article:
How to Prune Trees & Shrubs: Easy Techniques for Timely Trimming. A Storey BASICS® Title by BW Ellis – 2016 – books.google.com
Tropical vines for Hawai ‘i landscapes by M Wong – University of Hawaii, Hawaii, 2007 – scholarspace.manoa.hawaii.edu
Pruning trees, shrubs & vines by KD Cutler – 2003 – books.google.com
Flowering Plants in the Landscape by FF Rockwell – 1917 – Peck, Stow & Wilcox Company
Trees, shrubs, and vines of the Texas Hill Country: a field guide by G Hayward, M Hayward – 2007 – WW Norton & Company
The shrubs and woody vines of Florida: a reference and field guide by ME Mathias – 1985 – books.google.com