Ask Better Homes & Gardens

Experts and BHG readers answer.

Cutting back perennials

I missed my opportunity to cut back my perennials in the fall due to a bad back. I live in the Northeast, Cape Cod to be specific, and want to know the best time to cut back perennials in the spring. Also, I want to transplant some garden phlox to another garden. How soon can I do that? Thank you.
Submitted by BHGPhotoContest

Sounds like you are raring to get out there in your garden - I hope your back feels much better now. The best time to divide most perennials and transplant them is in the fall, but you can wait until early spring to transplant your garden phlox (Phlox paniculata). You should dig and divide them every two to three years to keep them vigorous.
  As to those perennials - Cut away. You can cut back most perennials to within a few inches of the ground. And it is not strictly necessary to do a big fall cleanup of perennials, unless you don't like the way certain ones look in winter. You can always go through and clean up in cycles, too, as plants become unsightly, starting in late summer.

--Stephanie Hainsfurther, Albuquerque, New Mexico (a former New Englander)

Community Answers


Answer this Question

Enter an Answer to this Question

500 characters left