The Chelsea Chop

There is only one plant that I always administer the Chelsea chop to.  Come rain or shine, without fail, and that’s sedums.

Except this particular one which, come rain or shine, I didn’t.  Looks nice though, doesn’t it?  Beautiful, dark coloured flowers on a plant in my own garden (unchopped and overlooked due to all the work going on in the house).   The variety is unknown and it didn’t flop too badly because the soil is so very dreadful.

But on a (not as nicely coloured ) sedum at the Priory, which did have the ‘chop, I ended up with this:

a thick cloth of flower on shorter, stouter stems that won’t collapse after heavy rain.

The Chelsea chop is a fairly heavy prune of the plant in May (about the time of the flower show).  Cut back a stem by about a half and the plant grows four or five new replacements – each with it’s own flowerhead.  Brilliant!
Next year, I really must try it out on echinaceas, rudbeckias and shasta daisies.  It’s meant to work very well on all of them.

If you haven’t tried the ‘chop before, I recommend trying it out on sedums.  As I do, without fail.  Come rain or shine.

11 thoughts on “The Chelsea Chop

  1. Never tried it on campanulas, Janet – will bear in mind, thanks. The deep purple is lovely isn't it? And fairly uncommon I think. Will split it and split it again.



  2. I love that deep purple sedum, chelsea chopped or not. I meant to try the half and half chop on my echinaceas this year but never got around to it. Apparently it works well on campanulas too. Well, there's always next year…


  3. You cheeky Italian! I'll have you know I don't know the sedum variety because it was in my garden when I moved in. Actually.

    Absolutely use the cuttings to make new plants. In fact, do what you like with them. I don't care. I'm sulking.



  4. I like all your sedums, especially the first one! Shame you're getting old and don't remember its name… 😦

    I never tried the Chelsea chop with mine but it sound a great idea. You can use the cuttings to generate new plants too, huh? Thanks for the tip!



  5. Stacy, 'my' sedum is lovely and because it's growing in a sea of weeds, there's little chance of it getting overly leggy and flopping over. If it ever goes into a proper bed (one day) it'll be chopped I think. Though it's current look is good.

    Hi Helen, I've heard that re shasta daisies – cut back the front half of the plant. The back half then flowers, followed by a later blooming at the front. Next year, maybe.

    Another note Janet? I'm scribbling so fast at the moment there's a small tendril of smoke coming from my notebook.

    Thanks Shawn, the black-eyed susans are coming to an end now. Sob.

    Plunge Sara, plunge and if you'll be brave, so will I!

    Hi Mr Faisal, I'll split the wine-coloured one next year as I want more of it and only 'chop it if the garden has proper beds by then. And not just expanses of thistle and dock and couch grass and …..



  6. I may take the plunge next year – this year our sedums are rather compact anyway, no doubt because they've been in pots for so long, but now they're romping away in the beds I suspect a trim will be handy next spring.
    Will I be brave enough to try the echinacea and rudbeckia too? Hmmm…


  7. Hi David, All of these are true beauties that for sure! Mine are all spread out, but for the one I shared a start of. Your Black-eyed Susan looks nice too. My Susan's finished up about a month ago.


  8. I do the chelsea chop on my sedums and have thought about applying it to late flowering perennials. I have read a book called 'The Well Tended Perennial Garden' where they talk about cutting back half the plant so you get more flowers over a longer period of time.


  9. Oh, what we miss out on over here by not having a national flower show in May. I always get confused when local garden books say to prune things back mid-spring. Do they mean mid-spring by the calendar, or by the weather? There's about a month's difference and 20 degrees F between them. I usually chicken out and decide not to do either. “May”, on the other hand, has something nice and definite about it.

    What an amazing difference the 'chop makes, although I do love the look of the sedum in the top photo, too, and not just for the color. The shapes of the flowers are just so beautifully defined against the green. But then, heavy rain isn't much of a worry for us.


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