Keep your garden looking its best with a bit of deadheading. Removing faded flowers can promote repeat bloom on some plants, encourage fuller, more compact growth, and tidy up the garden.
Use a bypass pruner or deadheading snips to remove faded flowers. These tools have two sharp blades like scissors. This results in a clean cut that closes quickly, leaving your plant looking its best.
The type of flower will influence how and where to make the cut. In general, remove the stem of faded blooms back to the first set of healthy leaves or nearby flower buds.
Deadhead flowers like salvia, veronica, and snapdragons by removing faded flowers to encourage more blooms. Make cuts below the faded flower and above a set of healthy leaves or new flower stems.
Encourage additional blossoms and improve Shasta daisy’s appearance by removing faded flowers. Prune back just above a set of healthy leaves.
Cut the flowers of Armeria, coral bells and other flowers back to the base of the flower stems that arise from the foliage. This improves the appearance and encourages more blooms on some of this type of flowering perennial.
Plants like daylilies and balloon flowers require a bit different care for a tidier look. Remove the individual blooms as they fade. Once bloomed out, you can cut the flower stem back at the base. Allowing the faded flowers to hang on the stem until it is all bloomed out won’t hurt the plant, it just detracts from the plant’s overall beauty.
Removing fading flowers of fuchsia and lantana will prevent the plants from going to seed and encourage more blooms. Remove any berries that do form to keep these plants flowering.
Some plants like impatiens, cuphea and calibrachoas are self-cleaning. Old blossoms fall off the plants as new flowers form, eliminating the need for deadheading.
Deadhead heavy seeders like columbine to reduce the number of seedlings and contain the spread. Or allow some seeds to develop if you have space to fill or want lots of seedlings to transplant to new garden beds.
Allow seedheads to develop on coneflowers, rudbeckias, and other plants that provide winter interest and food for the birds.
Remove flowers as they appear on coleus to promote more compact growth. Late blooming, flowerless varieties and self-branching coleus hybrids reduce or eliminate time spent on this task.
Consider skipping the deadheading of late blooming perennials. This allows them to prepare for winter and form seedpods for a bit of winter interest.
Improve the appearance of leggy plants with long stems and few leaves with a bit of pruning. Cut back further into the leafy stem when deadheading to encourage fuller growth as well as more flowers.
Make deadheading part of your regular garden maintenance. Investing time throughout the season will help keep your garden looking its best.
Melinda Myers has written more than 20 gardening books, including the recently released Midwest Gardener’s Handbook, 2nd Edition and Small Space Gardening. She hosts The Great Courses “How to Grow Anything” DVD instant video series and the nationally syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment TV & radio program. Myers is a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine and her website is www.MelindaMyers.com.