Cutting back my Gartenmeisters

gardening_fool(9b San Juan Capistrano)October 6, 2004

I would like to cut back all of my Leggy Gartenmeisters! They all are 4 to 5 feet tall and very "Leggy" The hummingbirds love them but they are way too tall! How far can I cut them back and is now a good time? I live 2 miles from the coast and we will start to get frost as soon as November/December.

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tightathome(Yorks - UK)


Thats a good size for triphyllas, I assume these are in pots and not planted directly into the ground?

This is a timely reminder, especially to me as frost has been forcast for tonight and I need to make sure everything is under cover and covered with fleece.

One of the problems with triphyllas is that they do become very 'leggy' and have a lot of bare stems at the bottom, I am sure the forum can sort that problem out for you next season though.

To prepare the plants for cutting back it is a good idea to drench the soil to make sure there are no nasties like Vine Weevil grubs in the compost, I use Provado2 Vine Weevil Killer and this does the trick.

You need to reduce the watering a week or so before you intend to cut the plants back, this stops the flow of sap to the top of the stems. The cutting back can be fairly hard to about 10 inches from soil level (I cut my triphyllas back harder than that but they are for exhibiion), look for a 'node' (where the leaves come from the stem) and cut above one making sure that you are neither too close or too far away from the node. I like to 'seal' the wound made by cutting back and I use a PVA glue to do this, although this may not be necessary if the stems are not 'bleeding sap'.

Then you just need to put the plants away for the winter, making sure that;

a) the place where you keep them is frost free;

b) that it is not to warm (or they will start to grow)

c) that you don't allow them to dry out completely ( more plants are lost through dehydration in storage that any other problem)

The next year when the temperature rises give the forum a call and I am sure you will get all the information you need to ensure that your plants become 'bushy' and not 'leggy'.

Good luck and let the forum know how you get on.


    Bookmark   October 7, 2004 at 3:33AM
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desperationfalls(z5 MA)

My Gartenmeisters are well over 4 feet tall and I don't cut them back--they are a backdrop to other, shorter plants in
the planter--they come in and bloom in the kitchen (right next to the chinchilla cages) ALL winter--very dramatic
effect of hundreds of those orange-red blooms against a
window framing a 3 foot snowdrift (that is 1 meter to those
more cultured folk).. Then in the early summer, when outside, they kind of shut down, and just provide that beautiful dark green foliage and soak up the dappled sunshine. I guess that I've thrown them on a different schedule from other cousin fuchsias. But, they seem very happy!

    Bookmark   October 7, 2004 at 9:47AM
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tightathome(Yorks - UK)

Hi Desperation

Where I live the Triphyllas need to come indoors very early - in fact mine have been indoors for about 3 weeks now - the first frost is forecast for tonight (7th Oct).

Cutting the plants back encourages them to grow back from the base and helps to prevent the 'bare bottom' - if you pardon the expression !!!!

This is a plant i grew of a Triphylla variety called 'Insulinde that was about 18 months old and in a 7 inch pot. It had been growing in the greenhouse and then into the garden (in the pot holder it is in) without being cut back. It is now cut back hard to about 5 or 6 inches from the compost and waiting to start back into growth for next seasons shows.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2004 at 12:02PM
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desperationfalls(z5 MA)

That is one luscious plant!!!

Now all the tops of mine look like that, but they are also
trees in character. I think that it depends on what you need.
I understand that you 'show' yours and that determines a
bit about their structure and grooming (just like dogs!).

I kind of like being eye-to-eye with my blooms. (The
bare-legged look never presents itself, because I have
other low-growing plants in the same large container.--IT
also shares the container with a yellow abutilon which is
now climbing up to 8 feet tall and entwined in the bushes--
THAT one will have to be pruned to make it through the
front door.)

You should post more photos. They are eye-candy.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2004 at 1:04PM
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tightathome(Yorks - UK)

Hi Desperation

I am pleased that you like the photo, I took a lot of this particular plant as I use it in my PowerPoint presentation during my talk to local societies. I have photos of it through all stages of its growth and now even to it being cut back and 'put away' for the winter. I will look out some more photos and post them. I recently posted photos of a the class winners at the British Fuchsia Society Show at Harrogate, North Yorkshire, there are some nice plants photographed on there. I actually exhibited a Triphylla standard (Thalia) with a single stem of about 27 inches at this show, it didn't do anything in the show but it is only a year old and it has plenty of growing to do yet.

This is a photo of 'Insulinde' taken just before it went to one of the shows that I did - it won it's class and came runner-up to Best in Show - quite pleasing.


    Bookmark   October 7, 2004 at 1:59PM
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desperationfalls(z5 MA)


Photos of any stages of development will be enjoyed.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2004 at 10:18AM
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tightathome(Yorks - UK)

Thanks Desperation

Pleased that you like it ......

How far back would you like me to go with my plants....

I can even go back further than this ... Hahaha....


    Bookmark   October 8, 2004 at 11:54AM
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