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Cutting perennials without fear – instructions for cutting summer perennials

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The summer has barely begun, but in the past dry and hot weeks, many of our perennials have grown so much that many have already completed their flowering period or no longer look beautiful after the drought damage. Many garden owners are now unsure if and when they may or should cut back the perennials. I would like to write about an easy solution, but the demands and the treatment of the plants is as varied and diverse as the abundance of perennials themselves.

Even garden owners have different personalities. Some have the time and desire to use their clippers and baskets, meditatively snipping the plants here and there; the lazy and relaxed gardener commits no mortal sin – and for very tidy and well-groomed people every brown leaf disturbs the sense of order. But these people probably now have a grey, dead gravel garden and go into the woods on Sundays or to garden shows to enjoy nature and lush flowers...

Basically when cutting perennials, the parts that have become dry and brown can go away

Those who take the time to pinch off faded flowers (as with sunflowers), in fact, ensure better flowering. Blanket flowers (Gaillardia) e.g. are especially grateful for this and bloom well into the autumn months. With some species and varieties it is possible that they will flower a second time after the summer cut.

The experts speak of “reblooming” plants (from French: to rise again). Classic representatives are larkspur, garden sage, catnip, lady's mantle and the clump-forming cranesbill. Carefully cut the perennials back to a few inches above the ground. By doing this you interrupt the process of seed maturity. The plants have not yet finished their cycle of vegetation and will then flower a second time, though not quite as lush as the first time, but at least they flower again!

In addition to the desire for a second flowering, there may be other reasons to cut back a plant. Many species sow like crazy. Sometimes this is welcome (Corydalis ochroleuca and Tanacetum Jackpot are allowed), however some perennials can get so much out of control that they destroy planned structures or garden pictures. Malva moschata is such a case, also Valerian (Valeriana) and Deschampsia (tufted hair grass). One may still be happy about the first seedlings, that there is something natural about them, but once you have lost the power over your own garden, the next time these seedlings reach their maturity, you will definitely get out the clippers.

Well, there is no magic recipe here, but you cannot do too much wrong with perennials. After all, they will come back!

 

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