How to prepare plants for the winter

nico6196(Z5a)October 23, 2007

I am having a hard time finding out what I should do with some of my perennials to get them ready for winter (perhaps I need to do nothing and that is why I can't find any info). Can anyone let me know what I need to do with the following:

Hydrangea

Jacob's Ladder

Gayfeather

Bellflower

Balloon Flower

Sea Thrift

Heuchera

Astilbe

Thanks.

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wayner2000(5b Ontario)

Hi Nico6196, you don't have to do anything to the perennials you listed. You can leave them as they are, they can add some interest in the winter garden. Or you can cut the dead stems back to about four inches. The hydrangeas are a little different. If you have the annabelle, it needs cutting back in March. I hope this has helped...........Wayne

    Bookmark   October 23, 2007 at 6:15PM
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jroot(5A Ont. Canada (near Guelph))

Nico6196, Wayner2000 gives good advice. I cut most of my perennials back to about 4 inches in the fall so that it is easier work in the spring. However, most gardeners would say leave them until spring as they provide food for the animals and sometimes make for interesting winterscape.

I live near Guelph, in Rockwood. Wayne lives near Guelph in Cambridge, so we are all in the same growing zone.

John

    Bookmark   October 23, 2007 at 6:26PM
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nico6196(Z5a)

Thanks for the responses. I have one further question. If I don't cut back before the winter, do I then cut back to 4" in the spring? Also, I was going to cover my hydrangea with mulch and a plastic bucket. Would you recommend this or is it not necessary? I hear hydrangeas can be a little finicky. TIA

    Bookmark   October 23, 2007 at 7:42PM
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greylady_gardener

my annabelle is extremely hardy and I do nothing to it at all. I even have one in a barrel that does just fine all winter with no special treatment. Our zones may be similar. I am in London.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2007 at 8:29PM
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ianna(Z5b)

You hadn't mentioned what kind of hydrangea you have. Annabelles are very hardy - and I rather prefer to do my heavy pruning in March. That's because it's easier to spot the dead branches and the live ones around then. I use the same treatment for limelight peegees, as well as for my climbing hydrangea.

Some hydrangeas that are borderline like the nikkos, lacecaps, etc.. should have some mulching at its base to help keep temps steady over the winter. NO BUCKET covers please. If you are that concerned, you can surround your plant with chicken wires and fill it with more mulch. Remove the mulch come spring to prevent pests & disease from affecting the plant.

Hope that helps.

Ianna

    Bookmark   October 24, 2007 at 10:24AM
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bern_2007

I live in zone 4, and most of the plants you mention, I have here. I do nothing to them, and they come back every year. Like Ianna mention the type of hydrangea,you have makes a difference. Annabelles, peegee, no problem here, but the nikkos, and lacecaps need special care. I bring mine, into a cold garage for the winter. In your zone, I think a good mulching for these, would be good.
Bern

    Bookmark   October 25, 2007 at 11:06PM
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