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Glasnevin Pruning for lower growth


i have a couple of mature glasnevin which were planted about 5 years ago.  I haven’t done much with them and I noticed last year that the lower growth had stopped with all energy going to the top.  

I’ve pruned the tops out last year and they’ve established well along my pergola wires.

However, I think I’d be happier losing some of the older growth around the pergola to encourage some new growth below.

How hard can I prune these and where about on the old wood would be ideal?

Many thanks!


  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,860
    edited 12 February
    Hi @peter95988 - is it a Solanum? Glasnevin is just the variety name, and several plants carry that name, but I don't know of any other climber which has it.
    I don't grow it, but others on the forum will, and will be able to advise better. I think you could certainly cut back some stems quite far back, to a set of buds, to encourage new growth low down.  :)
    The main problem with the new lower growth is that it will want to grow vertically, which is always going to be trickier when it's a pergola post, rather than if you were growing it on a fence or wall, where you would be able to train new stems horizontally on supports. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Hi
    many thanks.  Yes, it’s a Solanum (potato vine)
  • PlantmindedPlantminded Posts: 3,488
    They get very woody and shrub like as they get older. I had one which got out of control and so I cut it back quite severely. It recovered well but got too big for the location so I removed it. I still have a white variety, Solanum laxum “Album” which has a much gentler habit, behaving like a climber rather than a shrub. You could try selectively pruning some of the thicker stems to produce fresh growth lower down but I’d be a bit nervous about compromising the well established shape on the upper part of your pergola. Another option would be to use a small Clematis variety to hide the lower stems and provide additional interest and colour lower down.
    Wirral. Sandy, free draining soil.

  • thevictorianthevictorian Posts: 1,258
    We had one also and it grew into a monster, so I commend you for keeping yours neat. 

    They do recover well from heavy pruning but the top will always grow faster so it's hard to balance. 
  • RubytooRubytoo Posts: 1,596
     Another option would be to use a small Clematis variety to hide the lower stems and provide additional interest and colour lower down.
    I like that idea.

    Solanum like yours flower on new wood so pruning would mean you get the flowers, but as already mentioned they do get rather woody, my mothers ended up rather shrub like through lack of pruning.

    I read they should have a third of old wood removed each year. (I have only recently started growing some from a cutting given to me, a white version, so I am not "experienced" yet) :D

    However again as already mentioned that is hard to do when it is grown like yours.
    But not impossible.
    Cut through a thick old stem then trace up and cut again, keep going cutting a few feet at a time so you can pull out or untangle the stem in short lengths.
    But you will probably need a ladder and patience.
    Once done and reduced, if you do this every year it can help to keep it a bit better under control and be easier.

    Then newer stems need to be wrapped around your pergola posts as horizontally as possible.

    Or if it is too difficult and you like the top cover, I do like Plantmindeds idea of growing a clematis or two as you have two, up the old stems .
    Some cultivars grow quite short and can be cut back each year removing old stems with a snip through and a gentle pull that won't damage anything.
    There are so many to choose from. 
  • Balgay.HillBalgay.Hill Posts: 1,085
    I've had two of them, and the word 'vine' is a misnomer in my opinion. I tried to train one along a stone wall, and it forced out the wall ties, and a storm demolished it. The flowers are really nice, so i tried another in the corner of the garden. I left it to do its own thing, and it is now a large shrub about 4m x 4m. The trunk is about 6" dia.
    Sunny Dundee
  • Many thanks everyone! Lots to digest and try!
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