When do you cut back your perennials for winter?
When they are ugly, brown, and not beneficial to you or wildlife.
Marie Kondo it! "Does it bring you joy?"
When should you "leaf them be"?
When they're beneficial. Seed pods feed birds and other wild animals, plus they add texture to your landscape. Many perennials get great fall color. Some perennials show bronze, copper, and a variety of other colors that are gorgeous.
What about ornamental grasses?
Most people like to leave their grasses until early spring. They provide some structure to an otherwise limited winter landscape. When ice forms on the grasses, that's lovely too. I usually cut mine back in March.
You're not on a time crunch!
Cut it all of the way down to the ground! If you don't, in spring you will see beautiful new green shoots coming up surrounded by brown dried up stalks. You can cut the stalks off then, or do it now if you just want to see the green growth coming up.
If it's ugly and in the front of your house so everyone can see, usually that's when you would cut it down earlier, as soon as it starts to look ugly to you.
So in summary, basically you just need to remember Denni's famous line is, "If it offends thee, cut it off."
I remember this every time I go to the hairdresser too.
Yours in Planting,
Caring for houseplants in winter you will need to consider a few things. Most, though not all, houseplants come from tropical climates, meaning warm and humid. These aren't the typical conditions in a home in winter, but that doesn't mean you can't have houseplants. You just need to consider a few things first.
Direct light, bright light, and low light are very different. No houseplant survives without any light. Although we do carry some very realistic looking artificial succulents that would be great for zero light scenarios! Most houseplants like bright, indirect light, but we have some great lower light options as well.
Though it seems like it would be straight forward, this is the #1 reason a plant will die. Over-watering is just as big a concern as under-watering! That means you should learn if your houseplants like it on the dry side, wet, or as needed. Succulents like it dry whereas ferns like to be watered more often. Usually less light and cooler temps in winter mean your plants won't dry out as fast. Consider this in the winter months! Most plants I simply stick my finger in the soil and if there is moisture, I let it dry out a bit and give it a deep watering. Watering should never be by schedule!!
Your houseplants like consistency. They don't like to be moved to new locations very much, or a change in temperature. Often they have to adjust for a period in a new location and you might see some leaf loss. One thing to consider is never putting a plant near a drafty door/window or near a heating or cooling source.
Prevent hitchhikers when bringing your plants inside for the winter. Use a natural pest solution like Bonide's Systemic Insect Control before bringing them in. Spider mites and mealybugs thrive in dry environments like your home in winter. Fungus gnats like warm, wet soil (think radiators and over-watering in winter). Check for these and treat immediately.
How many houseplants are too many houseplants? Asking for a friend...
Yours in Planting,
Marietta has been writing about garden related subjects for 9 years.