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Perennials Plants To Prune in the Spring: 'F' through 'L'

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Lady's Mantle (Alchemilla mollis)

The crown of Lady's Mantle (Alchemilla mollis) benefits from the protection of its fallen leaves.

Photo: © Marie Iannotti

The following list continues the recommendations of plants that are best pruned in the spring. Remember, any plant that is diseased, infested, broken or otherwise in poor condition, should be pruned in the fall.

  • Foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia) Tiarella enjoys the cool days of fall and may remain evergreen throughout the winter. (USDA Zones 3 - 8)

  • Foxglove, Perennial (Digitalis purpurea) Since perennial Foxgloves are usually pruned back after flowering and produce a rosette of basal growth, nothing more is needed until a light cleaning in spring. (USDA Zones 3 - 8)

  • Fringed Leaf Bleeding Heart (Dicentra formosa / eximia) Although the crowns like to be high enough in the soil to be protected from dampness, the foliage is slight enough to leave for the winter and almost disappears by spring. (USDA Zones 3 - 9)

  • Gas Plant (Dictamnus albus) The seed heads of the Gas Plant can look attractive well into fall, but the real reason to cut back in early spring is that the sap that irritates many gardener’s skin is not as pronounced during the plant’s dormant stage. (USDA Zones 3 - 9)

  • Gayfeather (Liatris spicata) Liatris is another plant that is more sensitive to cool, wet soil than to cold temperatures. When left standing over winter, the seed heads provide food for the birds and may provide some self-seeding, to make up for any plants that don’t survive. (USDA Zones 3 - 9)

  • Geum Geum can remain semi-evergreen throughout winter, so no fall pruning is necessary, especially if you’ve been deadheading and cleaning up dead leaves during the growing season. (USDA Zones 5 - 7)

  • Globe Thistle (Echinops ritro) Much like coneflowers, Echinops will respond well to a pruning in July, producing more flowers and sturdier plants that will stand for the winter and feed the birds. The plant’s winter survival seems improved if not cut back hard in the fall. (USDA Zones 3 - 8)

  • Goldenrod (Solidago) The new hybrid goldenrods don’t seed or spread all over the garden and can be left standing for winter interest. Study clumpers, like ‘Fireworks’ and ‘Golden Fleece’, will remain upright through spring. The old-fashioned species Solidago should be cut in fall, to avoid invasiveness. (USDA 2 - 8)

  • Heartleaf Bergenia (Bergenia cordifolia) The shiny round leaves ca remain evergreen in mild winters and even cold damaged leaves can remain an attractive bronze color. Clean-up in spring, only as needed. (USDA Zones 3 - 8)

  • Hosta Although Hosta foliage gets ugly over winter, some Hosta varieties can be damaged by spring frosts and benefit from the protection of the collapsed foliage. (USDA Zones 3 - 8)

  • Italian Bugloss (Anchusa azurea) Much like Amsonia, Anchusa looks better and self-seeds less if sheared back after flowering. Anchusa can be sheared all the way back to the crown, since its foliage declines rapidly after flowering. But then allow the plant to recover and don’t cut again until spring. (USDA Zones 3 - 8)

  • Joe-Pye Weed (Eupatorium maculatum ) When a plant is bred from a common weed, you can usually assume that it doesn’t need much care to survive. Joe-Pye will bloom well into the fall and then produce fluffy seed heads. You can cut it back if you choose, but it’s not necessary to the plant’s survival. (USDA Zones 2 - 9)

  • Lady’s Mantle (Alchemilla mollis) Lady’s Mantle doesn’t really like to be sheared back frequently. Occasional shearing or selective deleafing may be necessary because of sun scorch, but Lady’s Mantle will over winter better if left in tact and cleaned up in the spring. (USDA Zones 4 - 7)

  • Lamb’s Ear (Stachys byzantina) There’s no point in trying to clean up Lamb’s Ear for the winter. Let it be and remove winter damage when the leaves perk up in the spring. (USDA 4 - 8)

  • Lavender (Lavandula) Many areas have a hard time over-wintering lavender. The problem is more often moisture than cold, but cold is a factor. Don’t prune lavender late in the season, as new growth is extremely cold sensitive. Wait until new growth appears in the spring before removing winter die back. (USDA Zones 5 - 9)

  • Lavender Cotton (Santolina chamaecyparissus) As with Lavender above, Santolina needs time to harden before winter. Don’t prune at all, after mid-August and wait until new growth appears in the spring before pruning. (USDA Zones 6 - 8)

  • Lupine (Lupinus) Lupines are temperamental, short-lived perennials and they do not enjoy winter. Leave the foliage on for protection and hope for the best come spring. (USDA Zones 4 - 6)

Perennials Plants To Prune in the Spring: 'A' through 'E'

Perennials Plants To Prune in the Spring: 'M' through 'Z'

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