Question from Csaba:
I am totally confused about the time of pruning, advises from friends, nurseries, experts, gardening books are completely perplexing. Southern California, San Clemente area, half way between Los-Angeles and San Diego. 3 blocks from water (Pacific Ocean) zone 24. Mild winters, cool summers, much fog esp in the morning. No frost ever. A good part of the garden is in shade or gets only 4-5 hours of sunshine. Flowers among others: gardenia, camelia, jasmine, azalea, fuchsia, snail vine and roses. When should I prune? Fall or spring (or even winter)?
Answer from Pat:
Many years ago I realized that many people suffer from your problem, which usually comes from growing up in a cold-winter climate and then moving here. Thus 25 years ago I wrote a book called “Pat Welsh’s Southern California Gardening, A Month-by-Month Guide.” I have revised it several times and now with over 100,000 copies in print this much-beloved book is called, “Pat Welsh’s Southern California Organic Gardening, Month by Month.” Please get a copy since it will totally cure your problem and give you much pleasure besides.
If you will purchase a copy or go to your library once a month and simply read it chapter by chapter including the checklists at the end of each chapter throughout the year, you will know exactly what to grow and where to plant it, in sun or shade and when to prune, fertilize, water, mulch, manage pests and disease problems and all other garden tasks for all the plants we grow here including roses, geraniums, ornamental grasses, fruit trees (deciduous, mediterranean, tropical and semi-tropical), vegetables, gardenia, camellia, azalea, fuchsia, tropical vines, succulents and cacti, sub-tropical flowering trees, lawns, ground covers, native plants, herbs, pond plants, and much much more.
Snail vine (Vigna caracalla) is not specifically covered but you can prune it any time during or after the growing season to keep it in bounds. Otherwise it may scramble over other plants. It needs sun, not shade!
Many years ago your garden club used to have me as a speaker every year. Now they have forgotten me, and I only give talks for one month in spring and one in fall. (Currently March and September) But I am still out there giving those talks and enthusing gardeners on many plant topics including pruning.
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