How to Deadhead Plants
Nothing is more rewarding to a gardener than watching the garden come to life with beautiful flowers, and by practicing the task of deadheading throughout the season, nature will bless you with a second wave of blooming to enjoy even more.
Deadheading is an important task to keep up within the garden throughout the growing season. As flowers shed their petals and begin to form seedheads, energy is focused into the development of the seeds, rather than the flowers. Regular deadheading will keep this energy on the flowers, resulting in healthier plants that will continue to bloom all summer long.
Methods for Deadheading
Start early, around late Spring, while there only a few plants with faded flowers. Get in the habit of deadheading early and often. Your task will then be much easier.
We recommend the methods below for deadheading as well as the correct techniques for cutting different types of plants.
Method 1 - Using finger and thumb
The simplest method is to just pinch off the faded blooms with finger and thumb. Aim to remove the flower with its stalk to ensure the plant looks tidy. Repeat with all the dead flowers on the plant.
Method 2 - Cutting with secateurs, scissors or a knife
To deadhead plants with tough or stringy stems, use secateurs, scissors or a knife. These includes Dahlias, Calendulas, Marigolds and shrubs such as Lilac.
Where to Cut
Border perennials and annuals: Trim away the old flowers, generally cutting back to a bud or leaf.
Hardy Geraniums, Delphiniums and Lupins: Cut back close to ground level.
Roses: Use secateurs to cut off the faded flowers, breaking the stalk just below the head.
Plants to avoid deadheading
Fuchsias, Bedding, Lobelia and Salvias. These plants either don't set much seed or neatly deadhead themselves.
Plants that produce seed loved by birds. Including Rudbeckia, Cornflower and Sunflower.
Leave plants that have ornamental seeds or fruits. These include the following:
Stinking Ids (Iris foetidissima)
Bladder cherry (Physalis alkekengi)