Pruning Lobelia

Jerry71(6a)January 30, 2011

I am not sure if this question belongs here but here it goes.

Last fall we have decided to overwinter our cascading lobelia because it was such a beautiful and fairly compact plant. We are in zone 6b in Ontario. It is doing quite well in our sunroom that has a day temperature of 21�C and 16�C at night.

My question is do I prune the plant before I take it out in spring? If so, how much, when and do I prune roots as well? Any advice will be appreciated.


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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Hi, Jerry - I would cut it back nearly to the ground (work around any short new shoots, cut the bottom half of the roots off & remove most/all of the soil from the root mass and further prune back the roots, then repot in a fast draining soil in the same pot or a size larger, if you prefer.

This sounds drastic, but plant tissues retain their juvenile ontogenetic vigor. W/o having to go look it up, this means that the tissues closest to the union between the stem(s) and roots are going to retain the highest level of genetic vigor. Cutting the plant back hard, as described, is very invigorating for the plant because it forces growth from the most vigorous part of the plant. Note the 'juv' in the terms 'rejuvenation pruning' and 'juvenile tissue'. It's not a coincidence. ;o)


    Bookmark   January 31, 2011 at 4:22PM
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Thank you Al, I was leaning towards drastic pruning. I have done similar "operation" on our bougainvillea that just got way too big. I used to take it out in summer and eventually I couldn�t get it through big sliding door. I just yanked it out of a 16" pot, trimmed roots by more then half and removed almost all branches. What I got was a bonsai so I did plant it in my own bonsai pot (pottery is one of my many hobbies for my retirement). You can check what the plant looks like now at:
BTW, would you do it now and would you fertilize it right away? In spring it will go on south-east facing porch. We live just south of London, Ontario. You are not that far away, I think.
Thanks again, Jerry

Here is a link that might be useful: Pruning job 2009

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 12:23PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I would wait until after the spring equinox to cut it back, maybe the first part of Apr. If you cut it back too soon, the new growth that occurs will be lanky and unattractive due to the long internodes resultant of short days & reduced light.


    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 8:26PM
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Thanks, I have entered reminderin my Outlook.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 1:17PM
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