7 summer-flowering perennials to prune in June: benefits explained


Cutting back herbaceous perennials early in the season might seem counterintuitive, but it offers significant benefits. Known as ‘The Chelsea Chop’ in the UK, this pruning method coincides with the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and is typically done at the end of May and early June.

Image credit: Homes& Gardens

In spring, perennials grow rapidly due to rising temperatures and increased sunlight. If left unchecked, they can become leggy and tall, leading to weak stems that flop when blooming. This is where chopping back summer-flowering perennials becomes beneficial.

Here are seven perennials that benefit from being cut back in June:

  1. Yarrow: This low-maintenance, drought-tolerant perennial wildflower is popular for flower borders and containers. It attracts pollinators like bees, butterflies, and hoverflies. Deadheading yarrow extends its blooming season.
  2. Aster: Known as Michaelmas daisies, asters add color in late summer and fall. Cutting them back prevents leggy growth and flopping.
  3. Coneflower: Native to America, coneflowers attract butterflies and are great for cut flower gardens. Pruning extends their blooming period.
  4. Penstemon: These prolific summer-flowering perennials attract hummingbirds and bees. Chopping them back ensures a burst of flowers.
  5. Phlox: Classic cottage garden plants, phlox benefit from being cut back to produce compact, long-blooming plants.
  6. Black-eyed Susan: Known for their yellow blooms, these perennials stay more compact when cut back, reducing the risk of flopping.
  7. Nepeta: Also called catmint, nepeta is drought and heat-tolerant, and chopping it back provides a food source for bees later in the season.

Using pruning shears, garden shears, and blade sharpeners can make the task easier. By incorporating the Chelsea Chop into your gardening routine, you can enjoy more robust and longer-lasting blooms.

Re-reported from the article originally published in Homes& Gardens.

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