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Perennial Phlomis

They were stunning earlier this year when in full bloom and with fresh leaves.

now the flowers are over and so are the stems !  The clump looks a right mess.

can I cut them down now and tidy up the patch, how would it affect (or not) their ability to come back as strong next spring ?  The stems and leaves are so large that it would take ages for them to die down naturally.

thank you.


  • GardenerSuzeGardenerSuze I garden in South Notts on an improved clay soil Posts: 2,058
    Are you referring to Phlomis Russeliana? Normally I would clear the leaves that are brown overtime. I wonder if it looks a mess due to lack of water. It can normally cope with dry conditions but not a drought. I grow this plant for it's dried flowers, in winter they make a real statement.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 47,198
    I'd certainly take off the stems which have finished flowering if you feel they look really bad. They're not really providing anything for the plant, although some people leave them for the frosty weather to highlight them, like with grasses/poppies etc. 
    If the base is looking rough, you could probably cut that back too. They're quite tolerant of dry conditions, but if you're in one of the areas that's had very high temps and drought, it's possibly looking worse than it normally would. I expect a good watering would help revive it, and create some new growth before it shuts down for winter. 
    Difficult without seeing it though  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • LoxleyLoxley NottinghamPosts: 4,657
    If you don't like the dried flower stems of Phlomis russeliana, I would probably advise digging it up and planting something else, because that's really their main selling point. I do like the dried stems so I would perhaps just tidy up some of the basal leaves etc. Our perhaps move it where it's winter stems can be enjoyed without it dominating the scene in late summer? (Pics would help)
    Thanks for your helpful answers.  Yes I’m in East Anglia and don’t think we’ve had much rain for a couple of months, added to which the very hot weather.

    I'm going to chop them back but not dig them up because they put on a marvellous show early on.

    thanks again
  • GardenerSuzeGardenerSuze I garden in South Notts on an improved clay soil Posts: 2,058
    Just been out in the garden for a Phlomis tidy up. I have carefully removed some of the curled brown leaves on the stems themselves. There were a lot of brown leaves at the base of the plant under leaves that have amazingly stayed green. It looks happier for it, an amazing winter plant and worth all the trouble.
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