Perennials & Ornamental Grasses

Cutting perennials - yes or no?

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Should you prune or not? There is no general yes or no, but there are two tips to help you decide.

Delphinium tolerates pruning - © Debu55y / stock.adobe.com

Some say cutting shrubs is necessary, others advise against it. In general, you can do whatever you want in your garden, but a reasonable pruning makes sense for most shrubs. On the one hand this prevents the uncontrolled overgrowth and on the other hand promotes the second flowering phase. You should keep these two tips in mind when cutting the perennials.

❶ Cut shrubs in summer

When perennials have died away, they can be cut safely. On the one hand, this strengthens the perennials, on the other hand they usually sprout again and form a second blossom. The pruning also prevents self-seeding. Start cutting the summer as soon as the majority of the flowers have withered. The cut is about a hand's breadth above the floor. Then give the perennial a little fertilizer and water it to promote the new growth of the shoots. Such perennials are, for example, the delphinium, the foxglove or the cranesbill.

To avoid a radical clearcut in the garden, do not cut some shrubs at all. For example, the ribbon flower, pampas grass, hazel or cherry laurel can stop.

❷ Cut shrubs in spring - fingers away in winter

Do not cut perennials before winter. The faded shoots simply stop. This offers the plant additional protection in the cold season and usually doesn't look too bad. Such perennials are plants that bloom into the autumn, such as liatris, aconite, fat hen or even asters and chrysanthemums. The cut is then made in spring.

If you still want to cut in autumn, you can do so, but the plants are more susceptible to frost damage. It is therefore best to cover it well with leaves, but then remove it in good time in the spring to avoid rotting.

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