Cutting Back Coneflowers, Black Eyed Susans

diane6766September 27, 2006

I planted my first perennial garden this year, and was quite pleased with the results. However, my coneflowers and black eyed susans are starting to look very scraggly. When is the best time to cut them back in our SoCal climate? I had one black-eyed susan that grew way too big (and also was covered with what looked like powdery mildew?), so I cut it back to just a couple of inches in July, and instead of coming back, it just dried up and died. :-(

Thanks!

Diane

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catkim(San Diego 10/24)

Hi Diane-
It kind of depends on your personal garden style. If you are a neatnik, you will want to cut them to the ground when they hit the scraggly, past bloom stage so they don't detract from the rest of your garden composition.

From my perspective, the scraggly flower heads are part of the transitional season that I appreciate, and I tend to leave the dry flower heads in place for awhile, allowing birds to feed on them. Then when I do cut them to the ground some weekds later, they are very dry and it's easy to scatter the seed where I want more plants for next summer.

If powdery mildew is established on echinacea and rudbeckia, it's probably best to cut to the ground and discard the trimmings, to avoid it spreading further.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2006 at 11:22AM
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