5 Plants to Cut Back in Spring
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5 Plants to Cut Back in Spring

Wondering which plants need to be cut back in spring? With warmer weather fast approaching, gardeners everywhere are preparing for the spring season ahead. Of course, that includes cutting back certain plants, so they continue to grow new buds and foliage.

While many plants are typically cut back in the fall, quite a few need a good trim every spring. Discover five plants you should cut back in spring to keep them flourishing all season long.

1. Black-Eyed Susan

black-eyed susans cut back in spring
Image credits: MabelAmber via Pixabay

One plant to cut back in the spring is black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta). This flowering plant has a long blooming season lasting from June through September. Pruning in the early spring not only allows you to enjoy their beautiful yellow blooms but also bring the opportunity for self-seeding.

Black-eyed Susans grow flowers that contain many tiny black seeds in the center. So, leaving the dead flowers into the fall ensures you have plenty of seeds to collect. You can remove them by hand or leave them for the birds to enjoy.

When early spring arrives, it’s time to start pruning. Cut back the plant to the ground, removing all dead-looking leaves, flowers, and branches. When removing the dead flowers, make sure to trim back to the main stem of the plant. Feel free to plant some of last year’s seeds to have even more growing in your garden!

2. Lavender

Lavender outside in a garden
Image credits: 1816164 via Pixabay

Lavender (Lavandulais a cold-tolerant plant and hardy in growing zones 5 and above. In fact, English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) can withstand freezing temperatures as low as -20 degrees Fahrenheit. Since this plant can handle colder temperatures, leaving it alone during winter and cutting it back in spring is best.

Eventually, lavender enters a state of dormancy in the winter, and pruning during this time can result in trimming away healthy branches by mistake. Both will be a similar color during this period, so it’s best to hold off as you may risk losing your plant. Instead, wait until new growth starts to emerge in the spring. Cutting back the plant during this time prepares it for the season ahead — encouraging leaves and bud formation.

Pro Tip: Young lavender plants don’t need to be cut back during their first year of growth. After this, prune once a year and remember to only take ⅓ of the plant.

3. Sage

sage plant growing with ladybug
Image credits: stbaumgaertner via Pixabay

Sage (Salvia officinalis) is a staple in the kitchen and the garden! Add sage to your list of perennial plants to cut back every spring. This flavorful herb starts to produce new growth during the early spring, making it the perfect time to cut back the plant. Doing so helps the plant produce new leaves and, surprisingly enough, will make your sage leaves taste their absolute best too.

To start, remove any older, woody-looking stems on your sage plant. These stems won’t produce as much or at all, and if it does, the leaves will not be as flavorful as the new ones growing. Trim these older stems back about 1 to 2 inches from the soil level, and remove any dead foliage you see on your plant.

Afterward, give your sage a good drink of water and wait for more delicious leaves to appear!

4. Roses

Pink Climbing roses on trellis
Image credits: Colin Maynard via Unsplash

The best time to trim roses is in spring to remove old canes and dead foliage. With roses, you should allow the plant to go dormant over the winter. Some gardeners mulch around their roses during this time to protect them from the harsh cold.

When you see new sprouts popping up, it’s time to cut back your roses. Do this task in early spring. However, pay attention to the outside temperature and how the plant looks to be sure. Temperatures should be above freezing, and you should see new bud growth forming. Look for older canes that are brown or black and trim those back to the base of the plant.

Remove any dead leaves, suckers, and debris from around your roses. To increase airflow, also trim any canes that are intertwined together.

5. Butterfly Bush 

butterfly bush cut back in spring
Image credits: Crystal Jo via Unsplash

Another plant you’ll want to cut back in the spring is a butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii). Butterfly bushes go dormant during winter and come spring, they need a hefty pruning between January and March. This type of plant will only produce its flowers on new growth, so removing old branches and shoots is essential to guarantee new blooms.

Don’t be afraid to really trim back this plant as butterfly bushes will benefit from a decent chop. In the early spring before it begins to grow again, prune all branches back to 1 foot tall. Be sure to remove all dead flowers and stems.

Make The Big Chop!

Ready, set, snip! Now that you know a few different plants to trim back this spring, it’s time to get outside and start prepping your garden.

One important thing to remember is to use clean, disinfected pruning shears or scissors when cleaning up your garden. You can disinfect your gardening tools beforehand by using alcohol or vinegar.

What plants do you cut back in your garden during spring? Leave a comment down below.