Sweet William Pruning Help

norabelle(5)March 16, 2010

Hi, All,

I have WS Sweet William that is three years old. I thought it was biennial. However, I have two patches that are 1'x 2' each that are bright green and healthy looking.

Should I prune back all of this lush foliage? I have been searching throughout GW for info on this, and I found one discussion here from '06 that vera_eastern posted. However, I would like some more guidance about how or what to prune on the Sweet William.

Of course, I'm a bit leery to do too much pruning, too, since I've been doing quite a bit of clean up with our unusually warm March weather, and we could easily have frosts and snow yet. I don't want to kill the SW by pruning too early.

FWIW, I found delphinium stalks coming up and Agastache putting out some growth as well as Irish Eyes Ruds and more. (Not to mention all the bulbs I planted last fall--I'm hoping for a fun spring show with the bulbs this year.)

I could post a picture tomorrow if it would help others to see what I am asking about regarding the foliage and pruning of SW.

Thanks for any help and guidance!



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Pictures would definitely help me.



    Bookmark   March 16, 2010 at 10:56PM
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Below are two pictures I took this morning. I also checked The Well-Tended Perennial Garden that I checked out from the library. (Duh! Look at the book!) Well-tended said that SW can be perennial if not allowed to go to seed. I think this is what I did, since I tend to deadhead frequently and have not collected much seed from many plants--yet. :)

However, it said to divide and/or prune in the spring. After looking at the picks, do the two clumps look like they need dividing or pruning?

Thanks for guidance!


    Bookmark   March 17, 2010 at 12:10PM
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token28001(zone7b NC)

You can prune them, or pinch them back. BUT, you might sacrifice blooms. They're probably already budding. If you don't see any buds, go ahead. I did mine the other day knowing I would lose some. Oh, and what you snip off, place in a frost protect space in good moist potting mix, and watch them root. Outdoors is fine, morning sun or no sun.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2010 at 2:34PM
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Thank you so much, Token! I do not see buds yet, but I see where the buds will be, if that makes sense. :)

I think I'm going to pinch, prune, and divide, but I'm going to wait another week. We are having unseasonably warm weather here right now--20+ degrees above average normal--and it is supposed to drop back into the 30s and 20s with snow over the weekend. I'll wait to see what Ma Nature pinches and prunes first before I do my work. :)

Thank you, too, for the rooting suggestions. People have commented on this multicolored SW (it makes all different color flowers on the bloom clusters, including some with white, pink, red, and mixtures of each), and it would be great to propagate more so easily to give away.


    Bookmark   March 18, 2010 at 1:49PM
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