10 Perennials You Should Cut Back Every Fall (And 5 to Let Be) 

When To Cut Back Perennial

In the crunch of fall chores and yard cleanup, you’ll have to carve out some time to tend to your garden perennials, too. 

Cut Back: Iri

Iris borers, which tunnel into the rhizome base to lay eggs, can damage this easy-to-grow summer bloom. 

Cut Back: Bee Balm

Hummingbirds and butterflies that visit this midsummer shrub with red, pink, or deep purple flowers benefit from pruning it.  

Cut Back: Peonie

These bold late-spring bloomers also can be vulnerable to mildew. Grab the leaves and cut back the stems to a few inches above the soil after the first frost.  

Cut Back: Daylilie

Keep your shears sharp for cutting back the profusion of daylily leaves that burst from tubers like fireworks.   

Cut Back: Lilie

During the growing season, Asiatic, Oriental, Tiger, and Trumpet lilies can stand erect like road snow poles. “Let them go until the green disappears,” Zondag advises. 

Cut Back: Phlox

Like bee balm, this fragrant flower likes to spread and can be vulnerable to mildew. Trim it down to the soil in the fall to help prevent mildew from taking hold.  

Cut Back: Blazing Star

Blazing star (gayfeather or liatris) is a prairie and butterfly garden favorite with its brilliant purple flower spikes.  

Cut Back: Hosta

To maintain this shade-loving perennial, cut hosta leaves near the top with robust scissors or pruners.  

Cut Back: Hollyhock

With stalks up to six feet high, these cottage garden staples can get gangly in the fall.  

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