Trees

When and how to prune the lady at night

The lady of the night, known by the scientific name Cestrum nocturnum, is a shrub that produces small but pleasantly aromatic flowers during the summer. Although it is very easy to care for, its growth and development can get out of control a bit, thus requiring an annual pruning.

But do you know when and how the lady at night is pruned? If the answer is negative, don’t worry. Take pruning shears, put on some gardening gloves and follow our recommendations to have a beautiful plant.

When was the lady pruned at night?

Image – Flickr/ Dinesh Valke

Plants are generally pruned when they are not growing to prevent loss of sap. But in the case of the lady of the night, if we want her to have a more interesting growth, we have to give her a “hairdressing session” in early summer, after the first flowering.

What is achieved with this pruning? Just what interests us: a higher production of branches that could come to flower that same year. Thus, we could enjoy its flowers and its intense aroma twice in the same season. Cool right?

Then, at the end of winter, we can also prune it, this time to control its development.

What tools are needed to prune it?

Before carrying out any type of task, it is important to prepare the things that are going to be used, as this way the work will turn out to be simpler, more comfortable and faster. To prune the lady at night, you will need:

  • Pruning shears: to cut the branches whose thickness is less than a centimeter.
  • Hand saw: to cut woody branches 1 centimeter or more thick.
  • Disinfectant: be it pharmacy alcohol or soap, you will use it to clean the tools before and after use in order to avoid infections.
  • (OPTIONAL) Healing paste: to seal wounds. Its use is recommended for woody branches, especially if they measure more than one centimeter.

How do you prune the lady at night?

Image – Wikimedia/ Cary Bass

To prune it correctly, the first thing to do is disinfect the pruning shears with pharmacy alcohol. Once this is done, we must simply proceed to cut the branches, everything we think is necessary but keeping in mind that the bush must have a more or less rounded shape, like the one we can see in the image above.

Let’s not be afraid to cut a lot in the winter pruning: it is a very resistant plant that will not take long to recover. The only thing not to do is cut it at ground level, because then we would lose it. You must leave branches of at least 20-30cm, with leaves.

What other care does Cestrum nocturnum need ?

The Cestrum nocturnum or lady at night is a shrub that, in addition to annual pruning, will need other care so that it can keep well. These are:

  • Location: it is a plant that has to be outside, in a light exhibition. It may be in semi-shade.
  • Land:
    • Pot: fill with universal substrate mixed with 30% perlite. Other options are mulch mixed with 30% clay or volcanic clay for example.
    • Garden: the soil must be rich in organic matter, and with good drainage since it does not tolerate waterlogging.
  • Irrigation: irrigation must be moderate. During the summer it is advisable to water an average of 3 times a week, while the rest of the year it will be necessary to reduce the frequency of irrigation.
  • Fertilizer: it is advisable to fertilize during spring and summer with organic fertilizers, such as guano or compost. If you grow it in a pot, use liquid fertilizers following the instructions specified on the container.
  • Planting or transplanting time: in spring. If you have it in a pot, move it to a larger one -with holes in the base- if you see that the roots are coming out of the holes or if you see that it has occupied all of it and cannot continue growing.
  • Rusticity: it resists well the cold and the frosts of up to -4ºC. In colder climates it should be protected in a greenhouse or inside the house.

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