Trimming Wildflowers – How And When To Cut Back Wildflowers

Meadow Of Wildflowers
wildflower pruning
(Image credit: karen crewe)

One of the best things about growing wildflowers, other than their beauty, is their toughness and ability to thrive in challenging conditions. Caring for wildflowers is simple and straightforward. Should you cut back wildflower plants?

You can always let nature take its course but trimming wildflowers can promote healthier plants and more blooms. It will also keep your wildflower garden looking neat and tidy. Read on for tips on wildflower pruning and learn when to cut back wildflowers.

When to Cut Back Wildflowers

Some people choose to cut back wildflowers in the fall. Timing for mowing wildflowers is a matter of personal preference, but there is something to be said for waiting until spring.

Trimming wildflowers in late spring or early summer will result in stronger, bushier, and more compact plants. Leaving wildflowers in place in autumn adds structure and keeps your yard from looking barren and desolate during the winter. More importantly, those wildflower seed heads provide a banquet of seeds to sustain hungry birds during the winter.

How to Prune Wildflowers

Cut the plants back one-third to half their height using pruning shears or a string trimmer.

If you’re set on mowing in fall, that certainly works too. Consider leaving a small patch of wildflowers unmowed, or better yet, leave the mowed stems and seed heads in place throughout the winter, then rake them up in spring. Birds will be happy to gather seeds from the mowed plants.

If you mow in fall, be sure the plants have finished blooming and have gone to seed. This will ensure your wildflower plants reseed themselves for the next season. (Mow earlier, right after the plant blooms, if you don’t want the plants to reseed).

Either way, be sure to set the mower on the highest setting or cut wildflowers down with a string trimmer or pruners. Rake the trimmings and old growth in spring to ensure your wildflowers are exposed to plenty of direct sunlight.

Mary H. Dyer

A Credentialed Garden Writer, Mary H. Dyer was with Gardening Know How in the very beginning, publishing articles as early as 2007.