Cutting back before winter

Asked October 22, 2016, 11:39 AM EDT

Hi Is it best to cut sedum ( taller variety) back before Winter sets in or is it okay to wait until Spring? Same question for peonies and Hardy Hibiscus perennial ? Thank you much. Is there a list of perennials that should NOT be cut back before winter ?

Hennepin County Minnesota

1 Response

Thank you for the question. The answer to your question is that "it depends". Many people find that the attractive dried flower heads of tall sedum look beautiful poking up through the snow. If you don't agree, cut them down. Peonies don't offer such winter interest and are often cut down before the snow flies. Hardy hibiscus are about the same as peonies and it is your choice. On a personal level, I cut down my hardy hibiscus to within a few inches from the ground after killing frosts. They are slow to emerge in the spring so I can locate them by the stumps I leave behind.
This article from Penn State does a nice job of outlining those plants you might want to leave standing and why, as well as those that should be cut down.

Thank you for contacting Extension.