Chelsea Chop

WintersongWintersong Posts: 2,436

To chop, or not to chop? That is the question.

I only heard about this for the first time last year and whilst taking advice on what plants to chop back, I had mixed results.Can you lovely people tell me which plants you will behead this year, and those you leave alone and perhaps the reasons why, if anyimage



  • kate1123kate1123 Posts: 2,815

    I will chop my sedums. I find they do not look good when they flop over and the stems break easily  and I like to make new plants with the cuttings.

  • I used to do it with buddleia, resulting in a neat and compact shrub and I'll be chopping all the geraniums that I divided earlier.

  • I chop my cranesbills, but will be doing it much later than usual because of the weather, as they are only just coming into flower.

    Interesting that Botticelliwoman does buddleia, as I always cut mine down to about 12" in March, and it responds well.

  • RobotRobot Posts: 137

    I chopped all my Sedum Spectabilis last year, except one as a control.  I have a lot of these plants around my large garden as the bees and butterflies love them.  I was a bit apprehensive as to what would happen but they flowered beautifully and stayed upright and squat - unlike the unchopped plant which looked dreadful.  I will see which plants benefit from the Chelsea Chop this year and do it again.

    Other plants which respond well are:

    Anthemis tinctoria (Golden marguerite)
    Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)
    Helenium (Sneezeweed)
    Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox)
    Solidago (Goldenrod)

  • gardeningfanticgardeningfantic Posts: 1,019

    i normally do it..but this year my plants have not grown as much as normal.. might do my sedums.. as they are growing pretty much as normal.. but my echinaceas are not that big at the moment..

    may well miss it this year.

  • Is it too late to Chelsea Chop now? And if not, can I do aconitums? I know I can do phlox and sedums but not sure of what else.

  • I don't have argyramthemums, and my heleniums are newly planted a month ago and still not very big, so I might leave those. Some of my phlox are established so I can do those.

    Thanks very much for the tip about the aconitums! I have plenty of prunings I can use to support them image

    What about asters - the autumn flowering perennial ones? Last year I had some pink ones which grew so tall they started collapsing. I have moved them to a better position but should I give them a chop too?

  • Why not asters? Would we lose the flowers?

  • rosemummyrosemummy Posts: 1,974

    could I chop all my hardy geraniums? It would be perfect timing to give some of my sweet peas more sun

  • rosemummyrosemummy Posts: 1,974

    Have just seen botticelliwomans saying she would chop geraniums that she'd divided, does that make a difference? Sorry for being thick,I've never Chelsea chopped anything before, I have a vey few phlox, ( the upright, is that  paniculata?) should I chops those too? Seen them mentioned, wish I had someone here to hold my hand and give me advice, don't seem to be learning fast!

  • I never thought of pinching back!image  Oh dear. And I thought I was a gardener...;)

    At the risk of appearing stupid, which plants benefit from pinching back? Can you do it with roses and clematis?

  • YviestevieYviestevie Kingswinford, West MidlandsPosts: 3,755

    I've chopped back one of my geranium because it was really tall.  I've trimmed back a a few stems on two rambling roses that were getting a bit wild.  I've took a couple of stems out of some delphiniums that were already very tall.  That's about it. Everything else seems fine.

    Hi from Kingswinford in the West Midlands
  • rosemummyrosemummy Posts: 1,974

    thanks, i was hoping i could chop geraniums earlier, will move for next year, i will cut back after first flowers


    I pinch back fuchsias, this means flowering is delayed a few weeks but you end up with more flowering shoots and therefore more flowers.  I pinch back the odd shoot when deadheading too, but not all at once because that would slow down flowering.

    My sister used to trim her penstemons with the Chelsea Chop but this year she's trimmed them all back to the soil level growing point and they've come back lovely - good strong straight shoots rather than whippy stalks that kink.


    At the mo I'm trimming my unruly shrubs every couple of weeks.  I started by cutting back to a growing point. When new growth was doing well I trimmed them again which caused more new growth further down.  So far I've reduced big shrubs by 6-8 inches and got more luxuriant growth.  This is an experiment, I did it only on shrubs that were destined for the compost bin.  

  • Victoria SpongeVictoria Sponge Posts: 2,397

    I've trimmed back some sedums this year for the first time, varying amounts depending on the size of the plant. A bit of guesswork tbhimage

    A couple flopped about in an irritating fashion last year, only the fancy ones, not the bog standard one whatever it's called. I'd like them to flower later too, I always thought they were a late summer flowerimage Hopefully they will still flower - not the longest growing season up here.

  • WillDBWillDB Posts: 1,167
    Will Thalictrums take a Chelsea chop? The small flower spikes on my recently planted ones are a bit deformed from being on the bottom shelf at the GC.

    By the way, I heard the late summer version of the Chelsea chop referred to as the 'Hampton hack'image
Sign In or Register to comment.