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How To Prune Herbaceous Perennials In Spring

How To Prune Herbaceous Perennials In Spring

Steve Redman from Holland Park in London shows you how to prune herbaceous perennials, which should be cut back in early Spring so that all the plant's energy goes into new growth.

Step 1: You will need

  • Secateurs
  • Garden shears

Step 2: Hard-stemmed perennials

Hard stemmed perennials such as Verbena and Echinacea should be cut back to a few centimetres above the ground. Remove the old stems and any dead foliage. Leave the new shoots which grow close to the ground to give them access to sun and rain.
If the plant has leaf nodes, such as this blue spire, cut the stems just above the lowest pair.

Step 3: Evergreen grasses

Evergreen grasses grow all year round and should not be cut back completely. Stronger grasses such as Stipa that don't have many dead leaves, can be cut back to 5-10 centimetres above the ground. More tender grasses such as Festuca should be trimmed to about half their height, and any dead leaves removed.

Step 4: Deciduous grasses

Deciduous grasses die over winter but the stems remain.
Use shears for taller grasses and cut back to a few centimetres above ground level. Pull out any remaining leaves, weeds or debris from the crown of the plant. You should be left with a tuft through which new shoots can grow up easily without getting tangled with the old stems.