Sedum haircut – an update

I have noticed from the stats on my blog that my post on cutting back my Sedum in June is frequently looked at. So I thought people might be interested in an update of my trial.

In my previous post I commented that I had experimented with cutting back one of my Sedums in June.  I was following the advice I found in Tracy DiSabato-Aust’s book The Well Tended Perennial Garden which recommended cutting back in order to prevent the plants flopping especially on rich soil.  I think this technique is referred to here in the UK, as the Chelsea chop as it generally happens around the time of the Chelsea Flower Show in May.  

The Sedum above is not the one I cut back but you can see what happens in my garden.  I have rich clay soil which makes Sedums grow very vigorously but results in a sappy plant plus we have had so much rain that its been a challenge for any plant to stay upright.

However, below is the Sedum I cut back.  They are the same variety, in fact they are off shots from the same parent plant.  When I cut back the Sedum, I started to chicken out as it looked awful so I left some of the shorter side shoots and these are the ones which have the larger flowers on them.

You can see that a more compact plant has been produced which is more floriforous and attractive.  I like the mixture of flowers at different stages and size, I think it will prolong the period of interest. I also prefer the smaller leaves that have been produced and there is no ghastly bare patch in the middle.

So in conclusion I will be partially Chelsea chopping all my Sedums next year and will be seeking out other plants that I can do this to.

Author: 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

13 thoughts on “Sedum haircut – an update”

  1. I remember that post and am glad you did this followup. I rather like the combination that turned out. I think you hit on a good gardening trick. I hope next spring I can remember to leave a few of the short side pieces.

  2. They look really good – textbook good! I left mine far too late (July, I think) and they haven’t turned out as well as yours. But I did get lots of cuttings which have gone elsewhere in the garden, so overall I’m happy.

  3. Hi Helen, you are a good gardener to follow smart advice. I used to cut back the tall sedums but have not done it in the last few years and some of the are flopping over. I wrote a post today about replacing some of them even, but maybe if I had given them a haircut like you did they would stand up straight and tall. I see that you have the chaos soul theme. I just switched to that one and see the comment button is at the top under the title of the post. Yours is not there, how did you move it? Come visit me or ssend me an email so we can chat!
    Frances at Fairegarden

  4. Hi All – glad you appreciated the update and I do think this is something I will do next year to all my sedums.

    Hi Frances – I dont really understand what you mean by the comment button’s location – I didnt edit the chaos soul theme as that is beyond my capabilities. Maybe they have changed it since I set my blog up in Jan?!

  5. Helen .. I have done it every years since reading Tracy’s book .. I have some plants done in staggard levels too for interest .. Baby Gold Goldenrod, Joe Pye Weed, all sorts of plants you wouldn’t think of if you didn’t know this trick.
    Nice to see this post !

  6. I love sedum in general – keep seeing something unknown, loving it, and finding it’s another sedum (what a varied family) – and yep, this looks great. But the one in my garden needs no trim, wonder why not?

  7. what does a chelsea chop entail please? my sedum flops every year!
    would appreciated more indepth info on what to do. thanks

    1. In mid-May – around the time of the Chelsea flower show (hence the name) you cut the sedums back to within a few inches of the ground. They will reshoot and form sturdier plants. Some people choose not to cut the whole plant back.

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