The Q&A Archives: What do I do with my flowers in the fall?

Question: I live in the PIedmont region of NC. I have gaillardia, gazania, and chrysanthemum plants. I was wondering: should I cut any of them back before winter, and if so, how far down?

Answer: Don't cut your plants down until after frost kills the stems and leaves. If you cut them down too soon they will just try to grow, which will deplete the stored energy in the roots. If you wait until after frost nips the tops, the cold weather signals the plants to go into dormancy, and you can safely remove the dead plant tops. Best wishes with your garden.

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