Angelonia, Gardenia, and Blue Plumbago - pruning

LadyKayJanuary 30, 2013

Hello, I have a bit of a black thumb but I keep trying so that our front yard is not an embarrassment to our neighbors :)
Anyway, I planted a ton of purple angelonia last summer and it did awesome. I think it is supposed to be an annual but we have had a pretty mild winter here in Houston. Do you think it could come back this spring? Should I prune it now or wait till spring? How low would I need to cut it? If it's not the sort of plant to come back, do I just rip it all out and plant something else? I guess this gardening thing can get expensive - I should try to find one that comes back every year instead of just picking the prettiest ones huh?
Oh and also we have a few gardenia bushes. They have only produced a few flowers each year but last summer I found some acidifying fertilizer which I used a few times so I am hoping they do better this year. Do I need to cut those back at all? When would be the best time to do that?
Lastly I have three blue plumbagos that haven't died but aren't growing (I guess cause it's too cold now). Do I need to prune those to encourage them to grow? Or wait till it's warmer?
Thanks for any help! :)

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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Your thumb is the same color as everyone else's! Don't let anyone tell you anything different. Hopefully the plants you picked are ones YOU like, not just the neighbors.

Angelonia is a tender perennial, hardy to 9a. Unless we actually have winter down here, it will probably come back but I don't know if the above-ground part would keep growing, or if it would just grow new leaves from the ground. What's it doing now?

Of course you can remove any plant you no longer like, or move it if you decide it would be better somewhere else.

Gardenias can be pruned for shape, to remove dead material or excessive twigs, size reduction. Feel free to show a pic of it to get more specific trimming advice. Spring is the best time to trim, the shrub will be ready to explode with new growth.

I wouldn't mess with the Plumbago until you're sure winter is over.

Generally, trimming things makes plants want to grow quickly to replace the loss, so should be done at a time when plants are ready to grow quickly, in the spring usually (as long as that timing doesn't cause you to remove the buds for this year's flowers.)

The ones that come back are called perennials. When you plant these (that are hardy to your zone,) they are expected to come back (but no guarantees in gardening!) Some people prefer the all-summer blooming of annuals (that are killed by winter) since perennials tend to bloom for much shorter periods of time, generally. It's really a plant-by-plant thing though.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 9:48AM
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oops, i pruned my plumbago day before yesterday
at least it is coverable if it gets to freezing now

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 12:52PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

A plant pruned early probably isn't in added danger from cold, but could be inspired to grow new foliage a little too soon, which could get frozen. But still, that's only a problem if the plant then does not have the energy stored to grow foliage a 2nd time when it's a little warmer. Probably nothing to worry about.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 6:01PM
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Purp, a plant that's pruned too early can have problems if it freezes. The cut branches can freeze and you'll have to prune again, and may not want the branches to be that small. Since we have freezes until mid Feb or into March sometimes, it isn't recommended to prune before the end of feb. A lot of people do, including me sometimes, but you're taking a chance by doing it early.

Okok, I think your plumbago will be fine. It's pretty tough.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 7:10PM
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chickadee_42us(8a Tx)

Ooh, I trimmed my plumbago & lantana's Sunday, 2-24-2013 too! The plumbago was already setting new growth from the root stock. I also transplanted a rose & a large nandina bush!
I am praying I didn't do it at the wrong time. We've had such a mild January/February that I felt compelled to go ahead and beging the spring cleaning of beds especially since the daffodil's and jonquil's are already blooming!

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 9:20AM
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chickadee_42us(8a Tx)

Oh, and I love angelonia; it's great blooming for my dry sunny area.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 9:22AM
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