The idea behind deadheading is fairly simple. Once a flower has finished blooming it puts its energy into going to seed to regenerate blooms for next year. But if you catch it ahead of time, you can keep those blooms going rather than allowing the plant to force its energy into making seats.
If you leave the bloom on the plant it usually won’t produce much more blooms. If you pinched the spent bloom as soon as it’s done blooming, the plant will put more energy into producing more blossoms because it still wants to regenerate itself. Most annuals and perennials will continue to bloom if you pinched the deadheads off. Annuals only bloom for one year whereas perennials come back every year.
Most annuals that you get from nurseries and plant shops are designed to bloom all season long and will benefit greatly from regular deadheading. This might be marigolds, petunias, Cosmo’s, Xenia’s, begonias, snapdragons, sweet peas, and geraniums just to name a few. If they’re designed to bloom all season long, deadheading them will force them to continue blooming.
Many gardeners are very familiar with deadheading annuals but perennials might be a little trickier. It’s the same idea but not all plants will put out more blooms after pinching the spent ones. Some of the most common ones to benefit from a deadhead is geraniums, roses, Columbine, delphiniums, lavender, hollyhocks, lupine, blanket flower, Yaro, Bee Balm, daisies, and purple coneflowers.
You can also deadhead plants and blooming flowers simply to improve the appearance. Perhaps there are brown spots, poor leaves, or spent blooms. These also need to be cut away but it’s important to know where to pinch as well.
You will want to deadhead a bloom to just above the leaf set. The stem of the plant will usually stretch anywhere from 1 inch to several inches above the leaf set so make sure that you cut or pinch back at least to that first leaf set. When pruning roses, if you leave a leaf set of at least five, it will continue to bloom. If there’s a lease that with less than five leaves, the plant may benefit from simply taking the entire branch off.
To keep blooms going all summer long it’s important to deadhead those perennials and annuals that I mentioned above. Not every flowering plant will benefit but most will, especially those that bloom during the summer. For more information on lawn or landscape maintenance, container maintenance, or if you’d like me to deadhead your plans for you, simply call us for a quote at any time.
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