Deadheading Flowers


How to deadhead:

Select the flower and hold the bloom steady with one hand. Using a pair of clean shears or scissors, make your cut. Be sure to position your shears below the spent bloom and just above a healthy set of leaves.

Have you stepped out to your flower garden and found yourself amid a cemetery of dead flowers? Few flowers remain attractive after they’ve past their prime and they quickly become an eyesore. Did you know that you can remove these spent flowers to encourage new flowers? This process is called deadheading.

Deadheading is a practice regularly performed by many avid gardeners to keep plants looking tidy and to extend the blooming period. This process involves removing dead or spent flowers to encourage the plant to redirect resources towards producing new flowers or growing foliage. Once a flower has peaked, the petals droop and dry and the plant’s energy is then focused on producing seeds in that dead flower. Removing these unsightly blooms can encourage your plant to produce more flowers, re-bloom later in the season or focus on growing foliage.

Some common garden plants benefit from regular deadheading throughout the growing season while others require no deadheading to remain productive and beautiful. Campanulas, Bleeding Hearts, Columbine, Daylilies, Geraniums, Coneflowers and more will all show increased productivity with regular removal of dead flowers. Meanwhile Peonies, Irises, Impatiens and Begonias can be deadheaded but do not benefit from the practice. Some plants, such as the ones listed will self-clean and drop dead flowers on their own.

Other plants have flowers that hold value even after dying. For example, Turtle Heads flowers fade into seed pods that remain attractive through fall, dead Sunflowers provide seeds for birds and Astilbe flowers dry to make gorgeous plumes in autumn.

Be sure to research your plants before giving them a chop. Some perennials, like Blanket Flowers and Foxglove need to hold their spent flowers through the fall to reseed. These plants can re-bloom from deadheading through the summer season but should be left to dry on the plant in August.