Plume Poppy and Asparagus Pruning

Q: Plume poppy and asparagus are two tall plants I have had in my garden for about 4 years. My question is: Should they be cut down in the fall? I am in zone 4b. —Lynn C.

I always cut down my asparagus in the fall and recommend that you do, too, as asparagus beetle can overwinter in the top growth. According to the West Coast Seeds Gardening Guide, removal of the fronds in the fall (after they have died) is vital to keeping this insect at bay.

And, yes, your plume poppy (Macleaya cordata) will also benefit from a good pruning before winter. Once heavy frost discolours the foliage, cut it right back to the ground.