Most, if not all, of the ornamental vines we grow in the landscape form woody stems as they mature. Generally, the pruning rule about cutting off dead, diseased or damaged parts of the vine applies to all types of vines. Individual species of vine have their own requirements when it comes to pruning.


Perhaps the most common type of ornamental vine in the landscape are the various species and hybrid cultivars of clematis. Before removing dead or damage vine parts in the spring, wait until the leaves totally emerge. Sometimes a branch will look dead but suddenly new leaves will emerge.

There is some confusion about how to prune the different types of clematis. For more details...


This tends to be a mysterious plant for the landscape. Some wisteria will bloom from the first season after it is planted while others may grow for many years without a single bloom. Gardeners have tried many different techniques to try to stimulate flower production and pruning is one of them.

There are two species of this vine that are grown including the Japanese wisteria (Wisteria floribunda) and Chinese wisteria (Wisteria sinensis). Both types bloom before the leaves emerge in the spring. Some people claim that pruning is the answer to making the vines bloom.

If wisteria vines are pruned extensively during the dormant season, they tend to produce a lot of foliage but few flowers. The recommendation is to prune the long, leggy vine sections in July. Cut the shoots back about one third to one half of their length to encourage the production of short spurs to bear the following year's blooms.

Wisterias can also be trained into a tree or free standing form. Choose a single vine trunk and support it on a post. Then cut off everything while allowing the vine to form an "umbrella" canopy over the top of the trunk.

Other Vines

Some vines like honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica), trumpetvine (Campsis radicans) and silverlace vine (Polygonum aubertii) grow rapidly and may need routine pruning just to keep them in bounds. Silver lace can be cut to the ground every spring to encourage all new growth.

Note: We have provided some general information and observations on this topic aimed at the home gardener. Before you take any serious action in your landscape, check with your state's land grant university's Cooperative Extension Service for the most current, appropriate, localized recommendations.


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