Sedum Hair-cut

I took this photo as I was so relieved I hadnt killed my Sedum.  About 3 weeks ago I decided to give Tracy DiSabato-Aust advice in The Well-Tenderd Perennial Garden to give your perennials a haircut so that they dont become leggy and flop eveywhere.  “Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ for example, cut be cut in half  when 8 inchs tall or it can be pinched.” “Pruning also helps prevent flopping on plants growing in partial shade or very rich soils”.  This particular sedum is growing in partial shade and on very rich soil and flops everywhere.  So in a moment of madness while tidying up I chopped it down by half – well most of it.  I used some secateurs and as I chopped away I started to panic that I was being too drastic so I bailed out at the last moment and left a few stems.  I wished now that I had taken a photo when I had finished but it looked so awful that I couldnt look at it.  Anyway, I am pleased to say that it was the right thing to do after all.  As you can see from the photo above the plant is looking very lush with lots of growth.  The leaves in the lower right hand corner are originals and escaped the chop, whilst the rest are new growth.  This has given me the courage to re-read Tracy’s book and to see what other plants might benefit from this treatment.

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About Helen Johnstone

I live in Malvern, Worcestershire and am a very keen gardener. I started the Patient Gardener Blog in January 2008 as a way of recording what was happening in my garden and connecting with other like-minded people. I started a second blog PatientGardener 365 January 2013 in order to try and post a photo a day to capture what is growing in my garden or places I have visited
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16 Responses to Sedum Hair-cut

  1. Laura says:

    Tracy’s book is one of my favorites. I would love to see her gardens in person!

  2. I was thinking of doing mine after reading Tracy’s book – but I forgot. (Read chickened out) From the looks of yours it was a good move.
    Regards
    Karen

  3. Jane Marie says:

    I didn’t know I could cut it back. No wonder why mine are always so leggy. THanks.

  4. patientgardener says:

    Hi Tracy – I enjoyed her book which I read a while ago but I think after this success I will revisit it.
    Hi Karen – I did wondered if I had done the right thing and apologised to the plant for being cruel!!
    Hi Jane Marie – mine get very leggy especially as I have clay soil

  5. Nancy Bond says:

    It looks great — the haircut is very flattering!

  6. Mrs Be says:

    Ah, is this what they call the Chelsea Chop. Whatever, it seems to have worked, it looks lovely.

  7. Sheila says:

    It is lovely! I have grown Autumn Joy for many years and in our climate you can cut it almost to the ground and it still comes back with exuberance!

  8. patientgardener says:

    Hi Sheila – I do cut them back to the ground in the winter but they put on so much growth so quickly in my soil that they go floppy so next year I think they will all get a hair cut not just this one plant

    Thanks Mrs Be – I think it is the Chelsea Chop but not really sure

    Hi Nancy – yes i am really pleased after the initial oh no

  9. Joy says:

    P.G>
    I have the same book and I follow the same advice .. that doesn’t mean I don’t WINCE when doing it .. haha
    BUT … it WORKS ! .. so yes .. it is time for me to do the same thing with a lot of my plants .. whilst wincing away ! haha
    Joy

  10. Hi, So glad the cutting back techniques in my book are proving sucessful! Thanks for sharing. I once lived in Worcestershire and worked at Rose Acre Garden Center. I’ve been back to England several times to speak at Wisley, Oxford Botanic, English Gardening School, Kew et al. I hope to return in 2009 with a new book on high impact low care plants–which we all seem to need!! You can watch timberpress.com for my events and maybe I’ll meet you there!! Thanks again for your support. Tracy DiSabato-Aust

  11. patientgardener says:

    Hi Tracey – thanks for the comment. I will keep an eye out for your events. Helen

  12. so glad i checked in… i have been thinking my sedum needs a chop too! so glad i have a hair dressing licence ;)

    i shall also be picking up that book…

  13. I found this post from Veg Plotting. Very timely for us in the US Midwest. Yesterday I just cut back some Sedum. (What a coincidence.) I’ll also vouch for Tracy DiSabato Aust’s method. I’ve used it for several years to good effect on Phlox paniculata & Asters.

  14. teressa says:

    Hi Tracey, I am so glad your sedum recovered. I have several sedum plants that have gone crazy and are beginning to flop over because they are so tall and also blocking the view of my day lillies and other plants. It is late July here, zone 7. There are buds of flowers on the plant, do you think its too late to cut back several inches. I appreciate your advice.

    Best, Teressa

  15. patientgardener says:

    Hi Teressa – I think you have mistaken me for Tracey DiSabato-Aust – I was just referring to her in my post. Anyway, if it was me I would trim back every other flower head and then if that recovers triim back the rest

  16. Pingback: Sedum haircut - an update « The Patient Gardener’s Weblog

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