What to do with Perennials

ladygladys(z5b/6a NEPA)September 2, 2010

Hello all,

I am trying to clean up my garden with fall coming near. I have a couple of questions about what to do to my perennials. I have blue flax and shasta daisy do I cut them back all the way down to the ground now that they have stopped blooming? I finally got a hardy hibiscus to bloom this year do I prune that one down too? So basically do I have to cut down all my perennials or should some be left alone to be woody stems through the winter?



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I always cut back my shasta daisy, shasta daisy blooms from new growth not old. In fact I cut back my shasta daisies about a month ago and my shasta daisy becky has new buds on them. As far as blue flax I want to say that is an evergreen in some parts but I am not familiar with growing that one myself so don't quote me on that one. Your hibiscus should still be in bloom so I wouldn't bother that one till your first frost rolls around and then when you see the stems getting ugly I would cut it back also.

I tend to not like to see the woody stems is the only reason I cut things back. Though some plants like the shasta daisy if you do not cut them back in the fall you will have to cut them back in the spring, but only the woody parts.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2010 at 9:07AM
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I forgot to say that all of my shasta daisies are evergreen here in tn, and the only parts that I do cut back are where there were flowers. In other words the entire stem to the base of the plant that the flowers were on. I do not cut back my shastas all the way to the ground.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2010 at 9:13AM
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ladygladys(z5b/6a NEPA)

Thank you so much countrycarolyn! I will definitely cut back my shastas and leave the hibiscus alone until first frost. I usually cut back my purple coneflower, gloriosa daisy and rose campion back in the fall but this was my first year for the shasta and blue flax so I was not sure what to do.


    Bookmark   September 2, 2010 at 1:12PM
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albert_135(Sunset 2 or 3)

I was looking for information about blue flax and came upon a bit about professional growers who cut it off when the seedpods began to turn noticeably brown but the stems were still green. Then they allowed it to dry for awhile and the seeds were easily thrashed.

I tried this on one plant. Probably cut it off in June and thrashed the seed in July. The plant has grown back. I planted some seed and they have germinated and have a few leaves. I am not pondering what to do with the seedlings.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2010 at 1:22PM
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I leave a lot of my perennials alone in the Fall. Many times the birds love to eat the seeds during the winter and then in Spring I cut everything down.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2010 at 7:17PM
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I'm with Joanne. I let the birds feast on the seed heads all winter (once I have harvested all the seed I'll need) and then I do a big clean up in the spring. I also feel like have the "brown stems" stick up helps catch leaves that then provide insulation for the more tender perennials in the beds.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2010 at 9:02PM
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ladygladys(z5b/6a NEPA)

I would love to leave them be, but they are so intermixed with crabgrass and I do not want any volunteers next year. I feed the birds all winter long anyway with bags of wildbird seed and stale bread. Not to mention all those Thanksgiving and Christmas cookies that get left over...LOL

    Bookmark   September 2, 2010 at 11:44PM
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Leftover cookies? That doesn't compute.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2010 at 2:13AM
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