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A little pinch. A little snip. A little clip and toss.
Do the deadhead in your garden this summer to get the most out of your annual and perennial flowers!
Here’s how you do it:
Most plants–especially annuals–are in business to produce seeds. When you snip off dead flowers, you prevent seed production, and the plants respond by producing more flowers. In most cases, you can remove spent blooms with a pinch of your fingers right at the base of the dead flower. For long-stemmed flowers, such as daisies and zinnias, it’s better to remove the entire stem. Use scissors or pruning shears if stems are tough. To save on trips to the compost pile, keep a bucket in the garden to collect spent blooms.
Though some annuals, such as impatiens, drop their flowers and don’t require deadheading, even these plants respond well to being “pinched back”. Removing a few inches of the stem as well as any dead flowers will maintain a fuller, more compact shape. Getting rid of dried flower heads will also keep your garden looking neat and attractive.
Some shrubs and perennials, including delphiniums, yarrow, foxgloves and roses, respond to deadheading with a second flush of blooms. But even if the plant doesn’t rebloom after deadheading, you’ll be helping it concentrate on producing healthy vegetative growth rather than seeds. Don’t forget to deadhead spring-blooming bulbs, too. Removing spent blooms will encourage the plants to form bigger clumps and produce more flowers next season.
Some plants respond well to shearing rather than the removal of individual blossoms. Use a grass shears or scissors to cut off spent flowers. Don’t worry if you remove some unopened buds and foliage as they will grow back quickly. This technique works well on coreopsis, perennial geraniums, sweet alyssum, dwarf mums, and ageratum.
For more information, read Cutting Garden Favorites and No-Fuss Perennials.
Last updated: 6/14/17
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