“Just double checking before I do it, my iris and peonies are finished blooming so I can cut them down now, right?” — Lorri
When to Cut Down Flowers
Hi Lorri, here’s a good rule of thumb. If a plant has finished blooming, that’s a good time to both cut off the spent flowers and move it.
However, don’t cut the entire plant down to the roots. Plants need their leaves to collect sunlight they change into sugar to feed themselves and store energy before they go dormant. I know the dried up flowers and yellowing stems are not exactly appealing but the plants need that greenery.
Here’s a favorite iris that bloomed this year and is ready to have the dried flower heads cut off:
If you aren’t sure of when to trim, wait until you see the beginning of seed pods growing, then you will know it’s a good time to cut them. If I want a plant to expand, I leave the seed heads on.
Also in the fall, you may want to leave seed heads on so birds will have food over winter.
If you don’t like how they spent flowers look after their blooming season, plant other plants in front and around them to cover up the yellowing leaves. Monkey grass is a nice border plant, as are self heal, Autumn sedum and Stella D’Oro Day lilies.