Any plant growing in my garden has to earn its keep. Some bloom for a long time, some have beautiful foliage after the flowers fade, others disappear entirely after blooming and can be planted over, and still others will grow fresh foliage and rebloom if I shear them back. True I have to live with some stubble for a while until they produce new leaves and then flowers, but planted with the right companions these plants can be a big asset with their new foliage, flowers, or both.
Don’t expect to get a rebloom as full and fabulous as the first. Second bloom are smaller in number and often is size so set your expectations accordingly.
Group I: These plants can be cut to the ground after the first flowers have finished to encourage fresh foliage and possible rebloom.
Columbine (Aquilegia spp.): Cutting to the ground also eliminates the leaves with mite damage and will result in a fresh new mount of leaves as well as a small rebloom.
Hardy geranium ( Geranium spp.) All species will form a fresh new compact mound of foliage and some will produce flowers.
Hollyhock (Alcea rosea): May rebloom on short stems.
Mullein (Verbascum spp.)
Speedwell (Veronica spicata)
Stoke’s aster (Stokesia laevis); be careful when you cut as buds look very much like the seedheads.
Thread leaf coreopsis (Coreopsis verticillata)
Tickseed (Coreopsis grandiflora)
Group II: For a possible rebloom cut back the stems of the plants in this list to the basal foliage after the flowers have finished.
Delphinium (Delphinium elatum)
Floxglove (Digitalis spp.)
Painted daisy (Tanacetum coccineum)
Peachleaf bellflower (Campanula persicifolia)
Pincushion flower (Scabiosa columbaria)
Salvia (Salvia nemerosa)
Group III: These have no basal foliage and should be cut back as indicated.
Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis); Cut down to 2-3” from the ground.
Lavender (Lavandula spp.) Cut to healthy foliage.
Mountain Bluet (Centaurea Montana): Cut down to 2-3” from the ground.
Spiderwort (Tradescantia Andersoniana group): cut back by half.
Beebalm (Monarda didyma), Goldenrod (Solidago spp..) and Black eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’) will produce a compact attractive mound of foliage if cut back 4-5” from the ground after the flowers fade but they will not rebloom.
If you cut back a plant after the flowers fade you will tidy up your bed, encourage fresh foliage, and maybe enjoy some more flowers. You really can’t lose by giving it a try.