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Do You Chelsea Chop?


By AndrewR


Do you give your perennials the Chelsea Chop? Do you even know what is is?

It has been found that many late-flowering perennials can be cut back by about half during the third week of May, when the Chelsea Flower Show is on. The resulting plants flower about a couple of weeks later than normal, but are not as tall as if they had been allowed to grow naturally.

I had never tried this before, but decided to give it a go this year. The plants I chose were two heleniums. They are planted at one end of a border seen from my house. They normally grow to six feet, blocking the view of the rest of the border. In May, I cut them back by half. This is the result.

The two that got the chop are the orange and yellow ones on the left. The tall yellow one on the right was not chopped, so you can see the difference in height.

I think all my heleniums will be getting the Chelsea Chop in future.

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Like them better shorter Andrew.

By the way your border is stunning.

21 Sep, 2013


Generally, not a good idea up here Andrew but this year would have been the exception!
A few things I cut back after flowering this year have flowered again, not quite the Chelsea chop but it's been good to get the flowering again.
I agree with Kath - the border is stunning.

21 Sep, 2013


Yes, Andrew, I did it with quite a few plants when my borders were fairly new and I wanted to keep colour all summer/Autumn but didn't really think it made a lot of difference and some didn't seem to flower as well.(my reason for doing it was slightly different to yours, I wanted to delay flowering rather than stunt the height)So, as the years went on I added plants wth different flowering periods and now have colour from spring till Autumn.

21 Sep, 2013


Yes I do the Chelsea chop, I find although the flowers take longer to bloom its worth it for the longer better display, but it is not for all as some just dont like it and the flowers can be poor. I always cut my Helenium down after flowering as I want the height the next year, or so I thought till I saw yours!

21 Sep, 2013


My heleniums have grown so tall this year also so I think I will do the chelsea chop next year :) Lovely border :) ps i did know what it was and had thought about doing it and it was good to see your blog :)

22 Sep, 2013


I haven't tried the 'Chelsea chop' with Heleniums Andrew, although looking at how successful yours have been I think I will! I have done it with sedums and phlox, particularly successful with a large clump of sedums (stopped them from 'flopping' onto other plants).

22 Sep, 2013


it does make a difference :O) I too have done it with Sedums but not this year as with the cold wet spring plants were slow to get going and consequently were about a month behind where they would have been around the time to do the 'Chelsea chop'. In fact I think the plants have been playing catch up all summer in this part of the country. We are very dry now, could do with a good rain to come down to save some of the late flowering plants. I shall endeavour to do the 'chop' on my Heleniums next year, growth and weather permitting. lol. Thanks Andrew :O)

27 Sep, 2013

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