Now that it is OFFICIALLY summer, many early spring/early summer flowering perennials will be ready to be cut back. Most of these perennials can be cut back to about 10-12” above the ground and will bloom again after just a few weeks. Now the quickest method is to just hack the whole plant down to size and go on with your day. But why not enjoy those beautiful blooms for even longer? We prefer pruning individual stems and using the cuttings to create a beautiful floral arrangement! Many of the flowering perennials that you have in your garden will work very well as cut flowers and will look great in a vase on your table or shelf.
Get some quality, sharp snips/shears/pruners to make clean, full cuts; we like bypass-style pruners for this application. Don’t just start cutting away though! To avoid infections in your plants, be sure to use sterilized shears or snips. Sterilizing the blades can easily be done using rubbing alcohol, or holding them in fire for 45-60 seconds.
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After pruning, be sure to fertilize once a week to speed up the re-blooming process. Pruning at the appropriate time will allow for up to 2 or even 3 additional bloom cycles before the first frost! Our recommended fertilizer for nearly all perennials is Dr. Earth Flower Girl, which is available in granular form, liquid concentrate, and easy-to-use hose attachment sprayer. It is a great organic fertilizer that has a very high phosphorus level; best for reblooming.
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What Makes the Cut?
Here is a list of perennials that may need to be cut back at this time, and will work well: Astilbe, Russian Sage, Coreopsis, Catmint, Yarrow, Coneflower (select varieties), Blanket Flower, Lavender, Salvia, (perennial) Geraniums, Dianthus, Day Lilies, Asiatic Lilies, Delphinium, Kniphofia, Hollyhock (will not rebloom), and more. It is also fun to prune off and add to your arrangement some of your annuals such as: Geraniums, Lantana, Angelonia, Zinnias, and many others.
Happy Pruning, and enjoy those beautiful arrangements!
Watch as Abbey in our St. John store makes a beautiful perennial arrangement! (July 2015)
Short Version – 2:17
Long Version – 7:41