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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Thursday - October 22, 2009

From: Oneida, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Wildflower preparation for winter
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

I live in Onieda New York and I would like to know what do I do with my wild flowers before winter so they look great next year?

ANSWER:

The short answer is ... nothing!  Plants that are native to the environment in which they are planted, will do fine without intervention from a gardener (which is why they are such a good choice when you are trying to garden sustainably).

You don't mention when you planted them (and if you planted them as seeds or small plants) and what type of plants they are (annual or perennial). You also don't mention whether they are planted in a border with other types of plants or if they are planted in an area to simulate a meadow. What you should "do" depends on those factors.

You will find our "How To" article  Meadow Gardening  helpful even though it is aimed at establishing a larger, self-sustaining area.  If your plants are annuals or biennials you need to be sure they have set and dropped their seed before you cut them back.  The perennials can be treated much as you would any perennials in your garden ... cutting them back in either late fall or early spring as you prefer.  I prefer to leave them standing for the winter interest (and seed for the birds).

 

 

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