Pruning Vines & Removing Spent Amaryllis Flowers

Question:

 I planted several trumpet vines three years ago to cover a very long fence. I recently cut it back to remove all the dead undergrowth of twigs, stems, leaves, and other debris. Now, all that is left is bare stems and trunks. What can be done to improve its looks, or is it dead?

Answer:

  • Trumpet Vines are aggressive growers,
  • So, it common for them to grow on top of themselves.
    • When this occurs, all the undergrowth turns brown from the dark shady conditions; however, this doesn't mean that the plants are dead.
    • If you scratch the stems with your fingernail, you will notice that the tissue underneath is green or a yellow/cream color.
    • If the branches are brittle and snap off when bent, then they are dead. New growth should develop off the bare stems. How much depends on how soon winter arrives. Usually, I'd suggest feeding to encourage the new growth but not at this junction of the year. Unfortunately, the timing of your pruning was poor. The growing season concludes with the first Sunday in November when Daylight Saving ends.
    • Hence, the vines are going to look unattractive until the spring. The plants are very slow in producing a new set of leaves, with the days getting shorter and the night's cooler. Late spring-early summer is the ideal time to prune Trumpet Vines severely. This gives you a much longer growing season for the vines to re-establish themselves.
  •  My other concern is the new growth may not be mature enough to survive cold temperatures. Trumpet Vines are a tropical plant and suffer damage when the temperatures drop below forty degrees, much like Bougainvilleas, Hibiscus, Mandeville's, and others. In past years, the mature leaves acted as an umbrella protecting the plant from the cold, but that is not the case this year. The plant's basic structure is now exposed and could suffer severe damage depending on how cold it gets. An application of Wilt Stop could help, but that's about all you can do other than crossing your fingers and wait until the spring to see what happens.

Question:

After my Naked Ladies, Amaryllis belladonna, have finished blooming, are you supposed to cut the stalk or do you leave it on until it dries like the leaves? Also, when is the best time to transplant Amaryllis bulbs?

Answer:

The only purpose of the flower stalk is to support the flower. You can remove it anytime after the bloom is spent or with the flowers when used as a cut flower. I prefer to do it soon after the flower fades. Amaryllis is best transplanted after the flowering and foliage have turned yellow. This is when they go dormant.  

NOTE: Amaryllis belladonna is known as Belladonna Lily. They produce rosy pink fragrant flowers in the summer without any foliage; hence, the other name Naked Lady. This bulb is drought tolerant with strap-like leaves grows in any of soil and is long-lived.