Managing and Enjoying Reseeding Perennials
More is often considered better, except when it comes to unwanted seedlings. Self seeding perennials mean lots of free plants to move to other gardens in the landscape, but sometimes it just means more unwanted plants to control.
Purple coneflower and black-eyed Susan are two popular perennials that can quickly fill your garden with their offspring. You can reduce the problem by removing faded flowers and thus eliminating the seeds. The downside, the birds will miss eating the seeds and you’ll miss the winter beauty and bird activity the seeds provide. I choose to leave the seedheads intact, enjoy the birds and share the seedlings with friends, community organizations or my compost pile.
Garden phlox is another prolific seeder. Deadheading – removing the faded flowers - reduces reseeding, but also encourages additional bloom.
A bit more information: Plume poppy, Northern sea oats, columbine and blackberry lily are other perennials that tend to self seed. Share your extra seedlings with friends. Keep a few old pots or plastic bags and a trowel on hand. When your gardening friends come to visit, hand them a trowel and container and let them dig a few of their favorites. You’ll have fewer seedlings and they’ll have more plants for their garden.