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20 Perennials To Prune In The Spring

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Pruning your perennials in the spring is not just about keeping your garden tidy; it’s about encouraging healthy growth and abundant blooms.

Proper pruning can rejuvenate old plants, encourage new growth, and ensure that your garden remains vibrant and beautiful throughout the growing season.

This guide will walk you through the best practices for pruning 20 popular perennials to get your garden off to a great start this spring.

1. Peonies

Peonies are a garden favorite for their lush blooms and sweet fragrance, but they require a little care to maintain their beauty.

In early spring, cut back any dead or lingering stalks from the previous year to ground level. This helps prevent disease and provides a clean slate for new growth.

Once your peonies start flowering, deadhead spent blooms regularly to conserve the plant’s energy and extend its blooming period.

2. Hostas

Hostas need minimal pruning, but cleaning up in the spring can greatly improve their appearance and health. Remove old, dead leaves from the base of the plant as new growth begins.

This not only tidies up the plant but also reduces the risk of fungal diseases by improving air circulation around the new shoots.

3. Daylilies

Daylilies are quite forgiving and low-maintenance, making them a perfect choice for both novice and experienced gardeners.

After the first bloom, remove dead flower stems to redirect the plant’s energy towards root and leaf development, which supports more blooms later on. In early spring, trim back any dead foliage from the previous year to encourage fresh, new growth.

4. Coneflowers (Echinacea)

Pruning coneflowers can enhance their medicinal properties and encourage a longer flowering season. In early spring, cut back any old growth to about 1-2 inches above the ground.

This will promote bushier growth and more flowers. Deadheading spent blooms during the season will also stimulate new buds and prolong the flowering period.

5. Shasta Daisies

Shasta daisies thrive with a good spring pruning to remove old, woody stems and make way for fresh growth.

Cut back the plants to about 6 inches from the ground before new growth starts. This helps the plant focus its energy on producing a robust set of new leaves and abundant blooms.

6. Lavender

To keep lavender dense and prevent it from turning woody, prune it annually in the spring. Cut back about one-third of the old growth to encourage new shoots to emerge from the base.

This pruning method keeps the plant compact and helps maintain a pleasing shape, while also promoting vigorous new growth that will carry flowers.

7. Sedum (Stonecrop)

Sedum, particularly the taller varieties, benefits from a good pruning in the spring to prevent leggy growth and flopping over.

Cut back the plants by about one-third in early spring as you start to see new growth. This encourages the plant to grow thicker and sturdier, supporting more substantial flower heads in late summer.

8. Russian Sage

Russian sage can become quite unruly if not pruned properly. In early spring, cut back the plant to about 12-18 inches from the ground, depending on the total height of the plant.

This hard pruning encourages the growth of strong new stems that can support the weight of its beautiful lavender blooms without bending.

9. Ornamental Grasses

Spring is the ideal time to cut back ornamental grasses, just before new growth starts. Trim the grasses down to a few inches above the ground to remove old foliage and allow room for new, fresh growth.

This also helps maintain the shape of the grass clump and prevents it from becoming too dense, which can lead to rotting in the center.

10. Bee Balm

Bee balm is prone to powdery mildew, so proper spring pruning is crucial. Cut back all of the old growth to ground level as the plant begins to regrow in the spring.

This not only helps control the spread of disease but also stimulates the growth of new, healthy shoots which will produce vibrant, aromatic blooms.

11. Phlox

Phlox plants can become quite bushy and prone to mildew if not properly maintained. In the spring, thin out the stems to improve air circulation, which helps prevent disease.

Also, deadheading the spent flowers encourages the plant to produce more blooms and extends the blooming period well into the summer.

12. Astilbe

Astilbe benefits from a gentle pruning in early spring to remove any dead or damaged foliage from the previous year.

This tidying up helps to focus the plant’s energy on producing its feathery, plume-like flowers. Keeping the soil moist and the area around the astilbe clear will also promote healthier, more vibrant growth.

13. Irises

Irises need to be divided and pruned every few years to maintain their health and vigor. In spring, remove any old, brown leaves and cut back the flower stalks to the base after blooming to rejuvenate the plant.

Every three to five years, divide the rhizomes to prevent overcrowding and to encourage more blooms.

14. Chrysanthemums

Chrysanthemums should be pruned in spring to create a bushier, more compact plant. Pinch back the growing tips when the plants are about 6 inches tall and repeat every few weeks until mid-summer.

This method encourages more branches and, subsequently, more flowers during the blooming season.

15. Salvia

Salvia should be deadheaded regularly throughout the growing season to promote more blooms. In early spring, cut back the entire plant by about one-third to encourage new growth and prevent the plant from becoming leggy. This will lead to a fuller plant with more flowers.

16. Coreopsis

Coreopsis, known for its bright, cheerful flowers, often blooms better with a bit of early spring pruning.

Cut back the plants by one-third in early spring to encourage dense growth and multiple buds. This also helps maintain an attractive, rounded shape as the plant matures throughout the season.

17. Geraniums

Pruning hardy geraniums in the spring can help rejuvenate them and encourage more vigorous growth.

Remove any dead or damaged leaves and stems to make way for new growth. For geraniums that bloom continuously, regular deadheading will ensure ongoing blooms.

18. Catmint

Catmint can get a bit wild if not controlled with pruning. In early spring, cut the plants back by about half to promote a bushier growth habit and more blooms.

Catmint is quite resilient, so it will bounce back quickly and begin to produce new shoots shortly after pruning.

19. Clematis

The pruning of clematis depends on the flowering group to which they belong. For many spring-blooming varieties, prune right after they flower to shape the plant and remove any dead or weak stems. This helps encourage a second, albeit lighter, flush of blooms later in the season.

20. Asters

Asters should be pruned in early spring to maintain a compact form and prevent flopping. Pinch back the tips when the plant reaches about 6 inches in height and again in mid-summer. This encourages a denser growth and more abundant blooms in the fall.

Pruning your perennials not only helps maintain their shape and health but also enhances the overall beauty of your garden.

By following these specific tips for each perennial, you can ensure your garden remains a vibrant and flourishing haven all season long.

Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just starting out, these pruning techniques will help you achieve the lush, beautiful garden you aspire to cultivate.

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