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19/05/2012 at 09:19

To chop, or not to chop? That is the question.

I only heard about this for the first time last year and whilst taking advice on what plants to chop back, I had mixed results.Can you lovely people tell me which plants you will behead this year, and those you leave alone and perhaps the reasons why, if any

19/05/2012 at 09:29

I will chop my sedums. I find they do not look good when they flop over and the stems break easily  and I like to make new plants with the cuttings.

19/05/2012 at 09:43

I used to do it with buddleia, resulting in a neat and compact shrub and I'll be chopping all the geraniums that I divided earlier.

19/05/2012 at 10:14

I chop my cranesbills, but will be doing it much later than usual because of the weather, as they are only just coming into flower.

Interesting that Botticelliwoman does buddleia, as I always cut mine down to about 12" in March, and it responds well.

19/05/2012 at 10:20

I chopped all my Sedum Spectabilis last year, except one as a control.  I have a lot of these plants around my large garden as the bees and butterflies love them.  I was a bit apprehensive as to what would happen but they flowered beautifully and stayed upright and squat - unlike the unchopped plant which looked dreadful.  I will see which plants benefit from the Chelsea Chop this year and do it again.

Other plants which respond well are:

Anthemis tinctoria (Golden marguerite)
Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)
Helenium (Sneezeweed)
Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox)
Solidago (Goldenrod)

20/05/2012 at 19:01

i normally do it..but this year my plants have not grown as much as normal.. might do my sedums.. as they are growing pretty much as normal.. but my echinaceas are not that big at the moment..

may well miss it this year.

24/05/2015 at 17:15

Is it too late to Chelsea Chop now? And if not, can I do aconitums? I know I can do phlox and sedums but not sure of what else.

24/05/2015 at 17:40

Ah!  Aconitums are one group of plants I would NOT chelsea chop wisehedgecrone.  Could I suggest though that you stake your plants asap.  I have just done mine.....well a week ago.  Now the support system cannot be seen and the plants will stay upright and compact for the rest of the season.  So, stake aconitums.

heleniums can also be chelsea chopped now.  things like argyramthemums that flower all summer from now can be trimmed back in late June to encourage flowering until autumn

24/05/2015 at 20:45

I don't have argyramthemums, and my heleniums are newly planted a month ago and still not very big, so I might leave those. Some of my phlox are established so I can do those.

Thanks very much for the tip about the aconitums! I have plenty of prunings I can use to support them

What about asters - the autumn flowering perennial ones? Last year I had some pink ones which grew so tall they started collapsing. I have moved them to a better position but should I give them a chop too?

24/05/2015 at 20:49

No not with asters either for me.  

24/05/2015 at 20:59

Why not asters? Would we lose the flowers?

24/05/2015 at 21:16

could I chop all my hardy geraniums? It would be perfect timing to give some of my sweet peas more sun

24/05/2015 at 21:42

Have just seen botticelliwomans saying she would chop geraniums that she'd divided, does that make a difference? Sorry for being thick,I've never Chelsea chopped anything before, I have a vey few phlox, ( the upright, is that  paniculata?) should I chops those too? Seen them mentioned, wish I had someone here to hold my hand and give me advice, don't seem to be learning fast!

24/05/2015 at 22:00

Hang on folks.  Don't chop for the sake of it.  

i cut back hardy geraniums ....some of them.....in mid summer when the fullest flush of flowers is fading.  A trim back...not really a "Chelsea chop"......and they will flower anew a few weeks later.  This isn't to keep them bushy but to re energise flowering. 

Some plants benefit from being chopped back now and others don't..  don't think it will make much difference to asters.

best thing is to watch how your plants grow and learn...some benefit from chelsea chop, some from pimching back, others trimmed, others need staking.  

 

24/05/2015 at 22:38

I never thought of pinching back!  Oh dear. And I thought I was a gardener...;)

At the risk of appearing stupid, which plants benefit from pinching back? Can you do it with roses and clematis?

24/05/2015 at 23:12

I've chopped back one of my geranium because it was really tall.  I've trimmed back a a few stems on two rambling roses that were getting a bit wild.  I've took a couple of stems out of some delphiniums that were already very tall.  That's about it. Everything else seems fine.

24/05/2015 at 23:30

Wiseheadcrone, roses are pruned in spring then "pinched back" when the dead flowers are removed...when cut back to new buds each time.  clematis, depending on variery, were pruned in spring so no pinching back.

yviesrevie,,fhe point is fhat delphiniums are supposed to be tall......mine are tied to 6 to 8 ' canes.  Cutting them down spoils their "majesty"

25/05/2015 at 10:13

thanks, i was hoping i could chop geraniums earlier, will move for next year, i will cut back after first flowers

25/05/2015 at 11:23

I pinch back fuchsias, this means flowering is delayed a few weeks but you end up with more flowering shoots and therefore more flowers.  I pinch back the odd shoot when deadheading too, but not all at once because that would slow down flowering.

My sister used to trim her penstemons with the Chelsea Chop but this year she's trimmed them all back to the soil level growing point and they've come back lovely - good strong straight shoots rather than whippy stalks that kink.

 

At the mo I'm trimming my unruly shrubs every couple of weeks.  I started by cutting back to a growing point. When new growth was doing well I trimmed them again which caused more new growth further down.  So far I've reduced big shrubs by 6-8 inches and got more luxuriant growth.  This is an experiment, I did it only on shrubs that were destined for the compost bin.  

25/05/2015 at 11:32

I've trimmed back some sedums this year for the first time, varying amounts depending on the size of the plant. A bit of guesswork tbh

A couple flopped about in an irritating fashion last year, only the fancy ones, not the bog standard one whatever it's called. I'd like them to flower later too, I always thought they were a late summer flower Hopefully they will still flower - not the longest growing season up here.

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