The Chelsea Chop

No, we’re not talking hair cuts…. The Chelsea Chop is a gardening technique that involves pruning or cutting back certain herbaceous perennial plants in late spring or early summer, typically around late May or early June. It is named after the Chelsea Flower Show as the timing for the chop coincides with the show.

The purpose of the Chelsea Chop is to control the height and promote bushier growth of the plants. By selectively cutting back the stems, the plant’s energy is redirected to the remaining stems, resulting in more compact and fuller growth. It also delays flowering slightly, which can extend the overall flowering period and create a more staggered display of blooms.

The technique is most commonly used on late-flowering herbaceous perennials, such as sedums, asters, phlox, and rudbeckias. It involves cutting back about one-third to one-half of the stems, usually using shears or secateurs. The precise timing and extent of pruning depend on the specific plant and its growth habit.

By employing the Chelsea Chop, gardeners can achieve more manageable and visually appealing plants with an extended blooming period. It also helps prevent plants from becoming overly tall and floppy, which can be especially beneficial in windy areas or crowded gardens.

Remember that not all perennials benefit from this pruning method, and it’s important to research and understand the specific requirements of each plant before attempting the Chelsea Chop.

If you need any help, come and talk to us, we’d be delighted to help!