The Q&A Archives: Pruning Delphiniums And Columbine

Question: I am new at gardening. Last year I planted my first flowers. An array of dephiniums, columbine, foxglove, salvia, and others. I did not do anything as far as pruning goes. There are several including the delphium which have woody stalks. I was wondering do I prune these? I have noticed some places cut the flowers down to the stalk. Does this promote new growth for the next season? What should do to ensure beautiful flowers for the season?

Answer: Normally you would deadhead the plants, or removve the spent bloom stalks, when the flowers fade. Doing this conserves the plants energy by not allowing it to set seed. In the fall, after severe frost has knocked back the tops, trim away any browned and dried stems and foliage. This helps reduce the chance of any pests or diseases carrying over from year to year. If there are any dried and dead parts remaining now, go ahead and trim them away now. Be careful not to damage any newly emerging growth. You might topdress the beds with compost and or an application of a complete fertilizer in early spring to encourage healthy growth. Be sure to mulch the beds with an organic mulch such as shredded bark to help cotnrol weeds and maintain soil moisture and help keep the soil cool this summer. Enjoy your flowers!

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