I just put in about a 50 perennials in and some of them are 2 to 21/2 feet...

Asked June 19, 2017, 7:28 PM EDT

I just put in about a 50 perennials in and some of them are 2 to 21/2 feet tall my question is should I cut them down to make them get established better? What would be the best height to cut them to? And some of them are laying down which should be standing up. With my understanding by cutting them down it would help them by to gave their energy to the root system. By cutting them back will they rebloom again?

Fulton County Ohio

3 Responses

Hello!

When it comes to perennials the saying is: "Sleep, creep, leap!"

This phrase speaks to the first three years of growing perennials in a garden. The first year perennials typically don't grow very dramatically (joe pye weed which can reach 10' at maturity could top out around 2-3' its first year of being planted). As you suggested generally the first year the plants are putting roots in the ground. The second year they creep growing a little taller and growing a little more mature (5-6' for the example joe pye; may flower). Finally that third year, when fully established, is when the perennials leap (finally reaching 10' tall and flowering heavily for joe pye).

The most important thing to establish their roots will be to keep them deeply watered meaning that it is better to water more deeply/less often than less deeply/more often. 3" of watering twice a week is preferred over 1" of water 5 times a week to establish roots.

At this point I would not cut them back and just keep an eye on their water needs.

What you are saying is not to cut them back, my question is it there are dead leaves or stems on them not to cut them back? My thinking is that energy is going to the dead leaves and stems and this is taking energy away from the strong and will make the plant weaker am I not right?

John

Hello!

If there are stems that are left over from last year you can certainly cut those back. At this point the plants will only be pushing energy to fresh green growth and the root systems. Dead plant material does not take energy away from the plant. The only effect dead tissue can have is it can crowd the plant but it is easily removed.