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My Rudbeckias have had a great 2nd summer, have now grown up to 60cm ish in height and have flowered like mad for at least a couple of months.

I'm just wondering how best to care for them over the winter? (in the UK midlands)

This RHS article doesn't mention pruning them back to the ground (or at all), so should I just leave them to look after themselves, or would some pruning protect and / or promote more growth next year?

Any other tips on keeping them happy and flowering would be appreciated.

Thanks, Ted

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Quite a few Rudbeckias are not entirely hardy in the UK, Ted, particularly not in the Midlands. I'd be inclined to dig up a little clump, pot it up and keep in the greenhouse, if you have one, in case you lose the lot if we have a hard winter.

Given they're not fully hardy, the best thing to do is not to cut them at all, other than deadheading if you like, and allow dead leaves to collect in the remains of the stems which will give a bit more protection to the roots. If you don't like an untidy look in winter, you could cut them right down and mulch heavily over the top, a good couple of inches or more, with something like garden compost, bark chips, whatever, again for added protection. But don't forget to rake off some of the mulch in spring, as growth begins.

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Thanks Bamboo, that's really useful. I guess I got lucky with them all last winter, but I'll try the belt and braces approach this year and store some in the shed (wrapped up in paper a-la Dahlias?), and a bit of mulching over what's left too (The untidier the better for me, as it'll make the two scruffy looking winter hanging baskets I've just made look slightly better!) –  Ted Nov 13 '12 at 16:10
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Better kept in pots in compost, rather than as per dahlias. They won't be growing over winter, but you don't want the roots to dry out completely; they are not rhizomes like dahlias. –  Bamboo Nov 13 '12 at 16:43
    
Ah, thanks again Bamboo, much appreciated. I'll get some potted up this weekend. –  Ted Nov 14 '12 at 10:46

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