Leaves – For Mulching Perennials

Purple foxglove overwinter

Q: I’ve been raking the leaves out of my flower beds. After raking the beds over and over, I thought maybe it would be just as good to cover my perennials with leaves for the winter.

A: It all depends on how deep the mulch cover is. If your perennials have green leaf rosettes at ground level, like foxglove or Shasta daisy, you should put a couple of inches of mulch around the plant but not cover the leaves. For plants like hosta or daylily, which die completely to the ground, covering them with a light layer of leaves or straw is fine for winter. You can gently rake off the mulch when things warm up in March.

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