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Pruning Your Perennials: The Basics

Pruning Your Perennials: The Basics

By Glenn Jacobsen (337 words)
Posted in Sustainable Landscaper in Bergen County NJ

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Perennial pruning varies greatly based on species and is further influenced by weather conditions, age of the plant, soil fertility, moisture availability, and much more. However, every gardener should observe a few basic practices and principles to keep their perennial garden healthy and blooming for years to come.

First, by “deadheading”, which is the practice of removing blossoms and blooms that have passed their peak. Doing this will force the plant to put its energy into new flower and shoot production, rather than into seed production. If a flower is prevented from going to seed, a perennial will keep pushing out blooms in an effort to complete its life cycle. In addition to keeping the garden neat and tidy, deadheading can help increase the life span of a perennial by several years.

Another important practice, often performed after the perennial has bloomed, is cutting back vegetation. Some perennials can flower themselves to exhaustion and are then unable to form buds for the following year. To prevent this, the whole plant should be cut back occasionally to stimulate vegetative growth.

Another way to preserve your perennials for the long-term is to regularly prune out seed heads. The seed heads that fall from a parent plant may not always develop into the desirable plant available at your local garden center.

Here’s why: most plants today are “cultivars” or plant varieties that have been produced in cultivation by selective breeding. As a result, a seed can genetically change from its host plant. If the seed takes root, this new plant might crowd out the original plant. This is often the case with the popular flowering perrenial Phlox paniculata. The production of seed heads will also drain the rest of the plant its energy. Leaving too many seed heads on plants like Iris Siberica, for example, can actually hurt the plant's productivity for the next year.

Need more info on how to keep your perennially gardens healthy and blooming all season long? Contact a member of our Garden Care team today for a consultation.

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