Friday, March 13, 2009

What To Do With Perennials That Survived Winter?

Spring is upon us and perennial plants are beginning to show signs of life again. This past winter was a mild one and many of our perennials that did not die back are resprouting from above ground parts. Some common examples of such plants include yellow bells (Tecoma stans), plumbago (Plumbago auriculata) and golden dewdrop (Duranta erecta). Plants in protected locations are even more likely to have made it through the winter with minimal damage.

Gardeners have been asking how to prune such plants this year. Do you cut them back to the ground as usual or prune them only back to where the topmost growth is appearing?

The correct answer doesn't matter! You can cut them back to near the ground and they'll resprout as usual and look great in time. You can also just cut the dead areas out and leave the rest. I generally prefer to cut them back to near the ground because if leave the surviving above ground parts the plants may end up larger than I want and may tend to be rather irregular in shape or "lanky" in appearance. But that's just a personal preference.

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