The Chelsea chop is a nifty technique that helps control the size, shape and flowering time of certain summer-flowering plants – and May is the perfect time to do it.
By carrying out the Chelsea chop on your plants, you’ll also encourage the production of more flowers. After you’ve cut back your plants, make sure you give them a thorough watering and some feed. Here’s how to do the Chelsea chop.
Discover 11 plants to Chelsea chop, below.
Cut back phlox to encourage greater production of the richly scented blooms.
Pollinators, especially hoverflies, love achillea. There are many beautiful cultivars to grow, including ‘Fanal’, ‘Moonshine’ and ‘Summer Berries’.
Campanulas are known for their lovely bell-shaped flowers, in vivid shades of blue and purple. Cut them back to encourage more of the beautiful blooms.
Asters form a rich nectar source for flying insects, and respond well to the Chelsea chop. Asters you could cut back include Aster macrophyllus and Symphyotrichum laeve (formerly Aster laevis).
Another hugely wildlife-friendly plant, you’ll be encouraging plenty more blooms to grow by cutting echinaceas back. Keep an eye out for slugs that’ll attempt to thwart your efforts.
Many rudbeckias can grow so tall that they risk flopping over in windy weather. Chelsea chopping them will help to restrict their height.
Sedums are prone to becoming leggy and looking untidy. Give them the Chelsea haircut to encourage a neater, more compact shape, with more flowers.
With their large, tubular flowers, it goes without saying that penstemons are a hit with bumblebees. Just some of the many stunning cultivars to grow include ‘Sour Grapes’ and ‘Bredon’.
In the right spot, heleniums will rapidly grow skyward and often require staking. Cut them back to control their flowering height. Here’s how to plant heleniums in August.
By cutting back nepeta, or catmint, you’ll encourage a profusion of blooms to be produced later on – and bees will love you for it.
Not all sunflowers need cutting back. Don’t cut back large, annual Helianthus, and instead go for perennial sunflowers, such as vibrant cultivars like ‘Lemon Queen’.