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Newbie Chelsea chopper. Advice needed

Andy163Andy163 Posts: 59
Hello all. As the title suggests I am new the Chelsea chop and a little anxious about it however lots of people have told me how great it is. I can see there is plenty of information on the web on what and how to chop but my question is, as it's been warm rather early here in the south the plants that would usually be out later are almost out now. Salvia's and Nepeta's, should I wait until the time of Chelsea flower show by which time they will most likely be in flower or go ahead and give them a chop now before their buds fully open? Serums as well have put on huge amounts of growth over the last few weeks. Thanks for any advice in advance.


  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 11,421
    edited May 2019
    Hello Andy  :) Funny that you should ask that question as l have been wondering the same thing. I don't think the date needs to be "set in stone" as the weather varies so much from year to year. I plan to cut back my phlox plants in the next couple of days, and as the forecast is for warmer weather l would go for it.
  • K67K67 Posts: 2,507
    edited May 2019
    I remember Alan T. saying you can prolong flowering by just cutting back some stems so maybe that's the way to go.  Just cut some and leave the rest, but then that depends on the size of your plant. Chelsea isnt far away time wise.
  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 11,421
    Yes, you don't have to chop the lot back, that way you get staggered flowering, and it works !
  • Papi JoPapi Jo Posts: 3,853
    edited May 2019

    @Andy163 you don't say which plants you have in your garden that you would like to "Chelsea chop".
    Depending on the plants species and their current development state I just pinch a few centimetres off the extremity or sometimes 1/3 of the stem. It's a good idea to pinch/chop one third or one half of all the individual stems in the clump, in order to get a more staggered flowering period. Although in fact I've noticed it does not make a big difference.

    Those are the herbaceous perennials I "chop" (at the moment) in my own garden:
    • michaelmas daisy (aster)
    • Monarda / bergamot
    • penstemon
    • phlox
    • Physostegia virginiana / obedient plant 
    • Salvia 'Amistad' (needs to be pinched a lot)
    You are invited to a virtual visit of my garden (in English or in French).
  • Andy163Andy163 Posts: 59
    Thanks for all the advice. I think I will go about punching 1/3 of certain plants back this year to see how the handle it. The plants I'm talking about are mostly salvia nemerosa which I may leave as they flowered for such a long time last year without chopping, sedums which I'm sure will benefit but mostly Nepeta which can get quite long and leggy however i dont want to ruin the display. As I have large waves of them when they get wet they all flop down, I have read by taking back the growth by 10cm or so it will keep them busier and still plenty of flowers. As most of these plants are a lot earlier I think I will go ahead and do it over the next week or so. Busy times ahead!
  • Beaus MumBeaus Mum Posts: 3,550
    Baby bunnies have Chelsea chopped all my Astrantias for me  :#
  • NollieNollie Posts: 7,032
    I Chelsea chopped my nepeta in March (I am a bit ahead of the game, climate-wise) and they responded beautifully. Salvia nemerosa never get that tall, with a bit of deadheading you can keep them going a bit longer, so no I wouldn’t bother with those, personally.
    Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.
  • Would this work for delphiniums? Mine didn't flower last year and they are currently growing quite nicely, about 2 foot tall with signs of some buds. Bear in mind we are three weeks behind most of the rest of the UK up here
  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,232
    I've done my sedums, and all the trimmed stems have been planted into the ground where they'll probably root and form new plants. I stripped the lower leaves and planted them too. You never know.
  • B3B3 Posts: 25,209
    Ive done my sedums too
    In London. Keen but lazy.
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