Generally, you do want to cut back your plants prior to the next spring -- but there are some exceptions. Here are some dos and don'ts to ensure healthy, thriving plants next season.
You've just had a frost, and the plant is starting to die back: Wait until after the first frost to cut plants back. Cut them about 3 to 4 inches from the ground so you can easily see where your plant is next spring. Feel free to compost the cuttings.
The plant is diseased: Cut it back the same way as you would other perennials, but throw out the cuttings. Mixing diseased leaves into compost can infect other plants!
The plant is a grass variety: Grasses add visual interest throughout fall and winter. They also collect snow around their bases, which provides insulation for the plant.
You want to attract wildlife: You can also leave plants alone to attract birds and other creatures to your yard throughout winter.