Prune ornamental vines

Encourage strong new growth with a chop now.

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Ornamental vines such as Vitis ‘Purpurea’ and Vitis cognetiae make good climbing plants in the garden. They are related to vines grown for their fruits, but with ornamental varieties, it’s the foliage we want. They look good all though the summer but come autumn the leaf colours intensify and put on a wonderful show.

Despite they exotic appearance, vines are totally hardy and are not harmed by heavy frosts. They are also very tolerant of different soil types and will grow on well drained and clay soils alike. To establish any vine the soil need improving by working in plenty of organic matter at planting time, but once they get their roots down into the soil, they are very easy to grow.

They make excellent climbing plants on walls, fences, up and over a pergola or even scrambling up trees. Some types can be vigorous, but they are easily contained by pruning and the main prune is done in winter when the vines are dormant.  If pruned in spring as the buds are swelling, the cuts bleed sap, so ideally prune after leaf fall up until late January. The annual winter prune keeps the vine under control and will encourage strong new growth next year with good leaf colour. It also allows you to train it as you want.