Hi! I purchased a Ruby Spice Summersweet this past summer. Does this need to be cut for the winter? I do not know anything about these plants and I want to be able to do what needs to be done to keep it the way it needs to be. I also purchased a Rose of Sharon and 2 Azaleas. Could you please also let me know what I need to do for these. I live in Indiana and the winters can be rather snowy and bitter cold. Thank you so much for your advice. Sharon
Your Summersweet does not need to be cut down for winter. It is considered a deciduous shrub and as such produce buds on the previous years wood. You can shape the shrub once the plant has gone dormant-suggested times are late winter or very early spring. The same goes for your Rose of Sharon. The Rose of Sharon is a much larger shrub and should be shaped in its first few years of growth. Some people trim the plant back to a single stem, making the plant into a Rose of Sharon tree. Your azaleas should not be pruned or shaped until after they bloom in the spring. Do not prune in winter, as you will take off the next years blooms. As for winter care of all your shrubs and perennials please continue to water them until the ground freezes. This keeps the roots hydrated and will help the plants survive the winter. Once the ground has frozen you can cover the base of the plants with 4-6 inches of mulch.
Remember to keep the mulch at least 6 inches from the stems to discourage the rodents. Good luck with your all your shrubs.