The Q&A Archives: Fall Pruning of Leadwort

Question: How far do I prune back the leadwort plants that are growing in a rock wall in my yard? This will be the first winter for these plants.

Answer: In my experience, leadwort (Ceratostigma plumbagoides) does not need to be trimmed back at all. The fall color is glorious red and then, after freezing weather kills back the tops, the browned portions settle in to help mulch the roots naturally over the winter. As the plant grows and spreads and fills in it makes a nearly care free groundcover. If it looks intolerably messy to you, you could trim away the tops once they have been killed back completely by the cold. You may want to place a marker of some sort next to the plants because they come up very late in the spring.

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