Rain-damaged plants

Posted: Tuesday 28 May 2013
by James Alexander-Sinclair

I returned home on Thursday just in time for temperatures below 10ºC and battering rains. The catmint had been bashed about something chronic by the weather...


This weekend, I have been mostly cutting back catmint. Having spent much of last week at The RHS Chelsea Flower Show, I returned home on Thursday (feeling somewhat jaded), just in time for temperatures below 10ºC and battering rains. The catmint, and various other plants, had been bashed about something chronic by the weather, leaving them flattened and miserable.

In such cases there are two possible options:

1. Try and tie them upright again using a scaffold of string and bamboos. This may not work, though, without the plant ending up looking like St. Sebastian strapped awkwardly to a stake, and the string and bamboo look is not generally desirable.

2. Take your courage and your secateurs and cut the thing right back to a couple of inches above ground level. Yes, I know that you are cutting off all the flowers and I also know that it looks a bit shorn and embarrassed after this treatment, but it is the best choice.

The plant will grow new foliage very quickly and will still have time to flower profusely, just a little bit later than the others. Sometimes this is a good thing, particularly if you have more than one catmint, as the flowering season will be nearly twice as long. Think of it as a slightly unfortunate haircut (similar to one I had a couple of years ago that made me look sinister and a bit like Peter Lorre). It’s a bit of a shock, but will soon grow out and look much better. Everybody wins.

This trick will also work on geranium, sedum, veronicastrum, anthemis, helenium and many other herbaceous plants.

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Happy Flower 30/05/2013 at 16:12

will that work with french lavender plants too?

SwissSue 30/05/2013 at 21:05

I should think so, but don't cut right into the hard wood, leave a few tufts of leaves.