2016-09-21 / Columns

Do Not Cut These Perennials Back

Garden Scene with Peggy Bolton

Soon, many will be busy cutting back perennial gardens, tilling annual spaces, and readying landscapes for winter. In most cases, work accomplished this fall will make things go quicker in the spring.

There are several perennials that should not be cut back until late in the spring. This will give them more winter survival energy.

Silvermound should be left until early spring. In most cases the old growth simply disappears in the wind. Do not fall prune butterfly bushes. Wait until new growth begins to appear in mid-May to cut them back. The new growth will be a deep silver color.

Hardy Hibiscus, which is very late to bloom here, should not be cut back until spring. It will send up new stems each year, so the old should be cut back in May. New growth may not appear until early June. It will still bloom at its normal time.

Lavender is not pruned in the fall. Make sure it spends the winter in a very dry location. Excess moisture is a sure killer of this plant. Some find making a small protective barrier around lavender will help its survival rate. Try using three small posts, then wrap burlap around the stakes to protect the plant from our icy winds.

Baptisia is best left and pruned early in the season. It will send up all new shoots.

Do not prune back roses that are on their own root stock until spring. Then any winter damage may be removed and they may be brought down to a desired height.

Send specific questions to: Country Grown Perennials LLC, Peggy Bolton, 4801 Pines Brook Road, Walton, NY 13856. Please enclose a stamped, self-addressed envelope if you wish to receive a personal reply. Visit us on the web at

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