How-To

Can I Cut This Back?

Issue #200 - June/July
Bluestar (Amsonia spp. and cvs., Zones 3–9). Photo: Steve Aitken

If you have never cut back a perennial during the growing season, it can be a little scary to take the pruners to it. Here is the timing for some common plants.

After blooming

1. Bluestar (Amsonia spp. and cvs., Zones 3–9)

2. Brunnera (Brunnera macrophylla and cvs., Zones 3–8)

3. Columbine (Aquilegia spp. and cvs., Zones 3–8)

4. Baptisia (Baptisia spp. and cvs., Zones 3–9)

5. Coreopsis (Coreopsis spp. and cvs., Zones 3–9)

Geranium (Geranium spp. and cvs., Zones 3–8)
Geranium (Geranium spp. and cvs., Zones 3–8). Photo: Michelle Gervais

6. Geranium (Geranium spp. and cvs., Zones 3–8)

7. Iris (Iris spp. and cvs., Zones 3–9)

Salvia (Salvia nemerosa and cvs., Zones 4–8)
Salvia (Salvia nemerosa and cvs., Zones 4–8). Photo: Jennifer Benner

8. Salvia (Salvia nemerosa and cvs., Zones 4–8)

9. Woodland phlox (Phlox divaricata and cvs., Zones 4–8)

 

Before blooming

10. Aster (Aster, Symphyotrichum, and Eurybia spp. and cvs., Zones 3–8)

Bee balm (Monarda spp. and cvs., Zones 4–9)
Bee balm (Monarda spp. and cvs., Zones 4–9). Photo: Carol Collins

11. Bee balm (Monarda spp. and cvs., Zones 4–9)

12. Culver’s root (Veronicastrum virginicum and cvs., Zones 4–8)

13. Helianthus (Helianthus spp. and cvs., Zones 4–9)

Garden phlox (Phlox paniculata and cvs., Zones 4–8)
Garden phlox (Phlox paniculata and cvs., Zones 4–8). Photo: Steve Aitken

14. Garden phlox (Phlox paniculata and cvs., Zones 4–8)

15. Goldenrod (Solidago spp. and cvs., Zones 3–9)

16. Mums (Dendranthema spp. and cvs., Zones 3–9)

17. Tall sedums (Hylotelephium spp. and cvs., Zones 3–9)

Toad lily (Tricyrtus spp. and cvs., Zones 5–9)
Toad lily (Tricyrtus spp. and cvs., Zones 5–9). Photo: Brittany Carlson

18. Toad lily (Tricyrtus spp. and cvs., Zones 5–9)


SOURCE: DiSabato-Aust, Tracy. The Well-Tended Perennial Garden. Timber Press, Portland, OR. 1998.

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