New Zone 4 Gardener Needs Help

I just put in a bunch of perennials, with little knowledge of what I'm doing and I need some general advice for the rapidly approaching winter.
The plants I have are things like phlox, tickseed, blanket plant, some kind of chocolate plant (named apparently for the color of it's leaves), etc. What do I do with these things for winter? Should I cut them down and cover them with mulch? Leave the foliage and cover them with mulch? Just forget them until spring?
All of them are supposed to be hardy for zone 4, if that makes any different. Any help will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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Bill
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Garden Shade Zone 5 S Jersey USA in a Japanese Jungle Manner.39.6376 -75.0208
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In zone 4, much of the answer depends on your normal winter conditions. Areas which have reliable snow cover every year would do fine without mulch, even with new plantings such as these. However, if your area has many cold winter days without snow cover, and/or lots of days in the spring where the daytime temperature is well above freezing and the nightime temperature is well below it, the plants could get damaged, either by the absolute cold, or by the heaving of the soil. You are probably safest to put a layer of some sort of straw or pine needles over the beds where you have planted this stuff late in the fall - you can even wait until the soil freezes and do it then. Remove the stuff gently in the spring when you notice that the plants are sending up shoots.

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Since you just put them in I would give them some time to root. So do nothing except cut of any flowers that might be blooming.and make sure they get enough water. after the ground freezes I would I would bank them up with some mulch or more earth. and either cut the leaves or leave it. your choice. if you don't cut it then you will have to cut it in the spring and clean up the area. hopefully next spring you will see little shoots coming up. good luck
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:) Lynn

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