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Cutting back cranesbills

Is it too late in the season now to cut back hardy geraniums which have brown or yellowing and mushy foliage? I didn't have the opportunity to do all of my clumps at the normal time. Those I did had a regrowth as expected, but those I left have many dead leaves, some of which I pick off when passing, but that would be a long job to do them all. I'm wondering what state the plant would be in after a severe cut back now? I realize it will look horrible, but will that be it for the rest of the season, and would I be harming the plant?


  • RubytooRubytoo Posts: 1,323
    edited November 2018
    I would tidy them up if they are messy. You can then put a layer of mulch over or around them.
    If they have made large clumps I use shears. If the weather stays mild, ones like  phaeum will put on new leaves. It depends on the type, some of ours seem to disappear totally not sure which type (apart from being perennial) they are. They will re appear in spring.
    Or leave some,  though depending on your view, good for some overwintering insects but not so good for others and harbouring slugs.
    Depends how you garden.

    What part of the country are you roughly? 
  • NollieNollie Posts: 7,029
    I’ve just chopped back and tidied up my Rozannes because they were looking a bit messy. It gets very frosty here in winter but it survived that treatment last year ..
    Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.
  • Hi, thanks for your comments. I am in East Anglia - very mild here at present, can get quite cold and the wind is the main thing rather than the wet. These are the deep purple  ones, Phaeum I think. They look a mess and hang over the grass. I like to preserve insects but not slugs! Maybe I should bite the bullet and chop right back then?
  • RubytooRubytoo Posts: 1,323
    edited November 2018
    Phaeum yes tough as old boots, mine annoyingly often get white fly, so I remove everything once a visiting pair of bullfinches have had their fill of seed heads, they seem to like them green. Otherwise you get way too many seedlings too :D

    Edited to add I did not see Nollies post, I got our first Rozanne this year, which has been brilliant and only just slowed down flowering, so time to cut it back too. Now that one really sprawls, though in its defence I am trying it in a quite shady spot, but for flower power really chuffed at its performance.
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,052
    I cut geraniums back at any time of year if they need it.
    Weather really doesn't affect them, whether cold, wet or freezing.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • cornellycornelly Posts: 970
    Cut ours back after flowering.
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,119
    I cut phaeums back after their early flowering in late spring.  They grow back fresh foliage with fresh markings and, sometimes, flower again.   Other geraniums get cut back too to refresh foliage - good idea to do it just before you go off on hols as they take 2 to 3 weeks to grow back looking fresh and healthy.

    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Thanks for all the comments. Well, I've done it now! Weather was just right today. And I remembered it is macrorrhizum not phaeum, but never mind, - it actually looks better now and I think this one's very tough too.

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