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Do I need to cut back a Wildflower border?

This year I planted a hearty mix of Annual and Perennial wildflowers in a raised border bed, which goes around the outside of my garden. All the flowers bloomed amazingly, but we're now in November and not much colour is left apart from the green of the plants themselves.
Question is, do I need to cut these back? if so, how much and when should I do this?
I have looked online but can only find mention of mowing Wildflower meadows to help reduce the chance of grass and weeds choking the flowers out, but I'm not sure if this applies to a Wildflower border in a raised bed, which has no grass or weeds to fight for space.
Any advice would be much appreciated, some people suggest to leave them alone, others suggest to cut them right down, I would like to know what the best thing to do is to ensure that they return again next year with lots of colour 


  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,299
    wildflowers are just plants. a border with wildflowers is not a wildflower meadow and I would treat the plants the same as any other plants. Including weeding out those you don't want, (or not as many of them)

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • As always, it depends on what plants you have in there and how "tidy" you want to be.  The annuals will have set and dropped their seeds by now so you should have new ones appearing next year.  The perennials can be trimmed where necessary altho foliage, even dead, can help to provide protection over winter.
    As @nutcutlet says, wildflowers in that situation are little different from any plant border and should be treated accordingly.
  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 22,617
    I was thinking of leaving mine until early spring then pull out the annuals and cut down the perennials. Though it would probably be best to pull up the annuals before then because by spring I probably won't know what is what!
    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • I take off some of the seed heads to keep for resowing the next year but leave most to hopefully reseed themselves in the area.
  • Thanks for the responses all, much appreciated. 
    I'm very new to this, first year of doing any sort of gardening, so please bare with me! 
    Ok, so I treat the wildflowers the same as any other plant, understood, but how should I treat all plants? Do you have to cut them down as low as possible after they are done for the year? Do you leave them die by themselves? What's the best thing to do? If cut, how low down should they be cut? 
  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,299
    If you can leave everything over winter it makes lots of cover for hibernation insects. Much of it will just die back over the winter and you can remove the obvious dead bits in spring

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • Thank you @nutcutlet, really appreciate the help 🙂
  • Wildflowers should be cut back in September/October when they have finished flowering.  Cut down to about 10-15 cm.  Collect any seed, if you haven’t already, before you do it.  Wildflowers are treated differently to border perennials even if they are grown in a border.
  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,299
      Wildflowers are treated differently to border perennials even if they are grown in a border.
    I think that all depends on what the wildflowers are. 

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 53,955
    nutcutlet said:
      Wildflowers are treated differently to border perennials even if they are grown in a border.
    I think that all depends on what the wildflowers are. 
    Indeed.  :)
    Some of the perennials can be treated according to the condition they're in. If they're really manky, and they don't please you to look at, you can cut them back, but it depends on a few factors too. As @nutcutlet said earlier, they provide a habitat, but it's also useful to keep them if you have nothing else in there over winter and you get the local cat population visiting - if you know what I mean.  :|
    Some will also benefit from that bit of protection, and that will depend on your location and climate 
    Difficult if you don't know what the individual plants are though  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
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