In autumn and winter herbaceous plants will die back above ground. When you cut the dead stems and foliage back is up to you. Traditionally this has been done in autumn – winter. But many gardeners now choose to do this job in late winter – early spring, just before everything comes back to life in the garden. If the dead stems and flower heads start to look messy then you may want to cut them back earlier, but there are both aesthetic and practical advantages to leaving them on longer. The old stems tend to protect the dormant crown (from which the plant will re-grow the following season) from damp and frost. Also, some perennials with a strong structure and architectural form, actually look good even when the stems are dead, offering visual interest in the winter months.
Design Your Perfect GardenCheck out our series of "how to design your perfect garden" posts coming up over the next few weeks. The first post in the series was on December 3rd and they can be found in the Your Perfect Garden category.
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