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Traditionally, most perennials are cut back in the fall or, if they provide beautiful aspects in the bed over the winter, in early spring, before the plants start sprouting. But even at the end of May, you can once again reach for the pruning shears to perform the so-called Chelsea Chop. Never heard? No wonder - because this technique is mainly used in England. It is named after the annual Chelsea Flower Show in May, the Mecca for garden lovers from all over the world. Why are the perennials cut back at this point, even though many of them have already budded? Because not only can you extend the flowering period, but the plant also stimulates more flowers and a bushier growth.
This is how the Chelsea Chop works
In the real Chelsea Chop, the outer stems of the perennials are cut back by about one third at the end of May. Through this cutting action, the plants develop new side shoots and grow bushier. In addition, the flowering time can be extended by four to six weeks, because the buds that form on the shortened shoots will open a few weeks later than those in the middle of the plant. So you can enjoy much longer flowering. For this purpose, especially high late flowering plants such as Indian Nettle, Purple Sun Hat, Summer Phlox, Raublatt- and smooth-leaf Aster. The flower stems are strengthened by the Chelsea Chop and steadier and therefore bend less easily in wind. But you can also - as in classic Pinzieren - shorten only a portion of the shoots, for example, in the front area. This ensures that unsightly bald stems are hidden in the middle of the plant. Even shrubs that are prone to falling apart like the high stonecrop, remain compacted by this measure, more stable and thank with increased flowering. In contrast to the later flowering, higher perennials but here the entire plant is reduced by one third, which shifts the flowering time backwards. Particularly suitable for the Chelsea Chop are, for example, the popular garden fat hors 'Herbstfreude', 'Matrona' or 'Brilliant'.