By Lisa Hilgenberg

Spring flowering perennials can be pruned after flowering, a garden task usually done in June.

Perennials are plants that live for two or more years dying back to the ground each winter then reappearing in the spring.

Thoughtful maintenance keeps them well groomed by deadheading or pruning off older fading flowers coaxing a second flush of bloom.  This extends the bloom time, improves appearance and vigor and prevents unwanted reseeding.

Cut flower stems of columbine, bearded Iris and Shasta daisy back to lateral buds. Look for newly formed flowers and cut down to them.

Twist and pull out the flowers of lady’s mantle thinning the plants after bloom. Hosta, coral bells and geranium send up single bare flower stalks that should be cut back to the base of the plant when flowering is finished.

Bleeding hearts should be deadheaded down to the basal foliage of the plant.

Daylilies, a common perennial in many gardens become unsightly with mushy spent flowers that should be snapped off, carefully leaving new buds to bloom. When all flowers in the cluster finish, remove the flower stalk.

Catmint can be sheared for occasional rebloom.

Dead head peony flowers immediately after flowering to reduce the chance of disease.


Lisa Hilgenberg is the Regenstein Fruit & Vegetable Garden Horticulturist. She teaches classes for the Joseph Regenstein, Jr. School of the Chicago Botanic Garden and mentors interns from the Garden’s urban agriculture programs in the summer. Lisa draws on a rich family farming tradition, having spent many summers on her grandparents’ farms in Iowa and Minnesota. You can follow Lisa on Twitter @hilgenberg8.

Want more gardening tips?  You can read other online articles or listen to previous podcast episodes from WBBM Newsradio’s Gardening Tips segment.