When prepping them for winter, cut, or break off, the stems when the leaves start too brittle up.
Pile leaves over them to insulate them from the bitter winter cold, holding them down over the plant with chicken wire. This will slow the quick freezing and thawing; they can handle temperature down to -20; they just can’t handle getting there quickly and then coming back up fast.
But I’m going to try something different this fall. Instead of removing the brittle stems, I’m going to just mash the stems down and let them insulate the crown. I will need to use something to hold them in place so they doesn’t blow away in the winter winds; I’m thinking a brick or stone if it’s handy (of course I will have to be Johnny-on-the-spot-in removing it in March). Or I could stake it down with two stakes and a string between them.
My thought on this is that maybe the plant is supposed to insulate itself. It’s already doing that in a way, since the plant is growing thick above the crown already. Come a blanket of snow and you’ve got it tucked in for the winter. My helping it, as described above, is only in case the winter gets stingy with the blankets.
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