A Beginner’s Guide to Deadheading Plants

You’re still probably feeling the chill of winter and the only thing growing in your garden is the pile of snow. The next thing you know, the ice has completely melted and small stalks of green will be starting to sprout across your garden. That is why it’s good to start preparing for the coming spring right now.

Before spring starts, you might want to plan for which plants you want to add to your garden. The landscape after winter makes everything a blank slate, so you have endless options. Of course, once you’ve dug in the dirt, planted the roots and seeds of plants in your Tuscan clay planters, and have seen them grow, you’ll want their bloom to last as long as possible. After all, you’ve worked hard for them.

However, it’s inevitable for leaves and flowers to lose their bloom. Once they start wilting, flowers will shed their petals and begin again by making seeds. The plant will put all its energy towards developing that seed, meaning it will not produce any more flowers. But when you deadhead your flowers, floral blooms will continue, giving you a thriving, blooming, colorful garden throughout the spring.

What is Deadheading?

Don’t let wilted flowers ruin the appearance of your lively spring garden. You can prevent this through deadheading. It may sound like a funny term, but deadheading is a beneficial gardening chore that can keep your flowers blooming for longer.

Simply put, the process involves removing dead or wilted flowers from the living plants in your garden. This removes the seeds, prompting the plant to channel its energy into making flowers bloom again so they can form seeds once more. Overall, this process is good for your plants because you’re eliminating dead parts that cause the whole plant stress and you’re making way for flowers to bloom.

Here’s how to deadhead your flowers once you start seeing them wilt:

1. Pinching

This method of deadheading is as straightforward as it sounds. You simply pinch the dead bloom and gently pluck it from its stem. This should release easily, making this the quickest, most convenient option. However, it’s best to reserve pinching for flowers with thin and soft stems. If these parts are thicker, you might damage the plant instead.

girl gardening

2. Pruning

Pruning is the best way to deadhead plants with large flowers, such as coneflowers. Some stalks carry multiple flowers. If you see the buds that are yet to bloom on the lower part of the stems, leave them be. Simply cut off the wilting flower on top. However, if all the buds have fully bloomed along the stalk and some have wilted, it’s best to cut the stalk at the base of the plant.

3. Shearing

For a group of flowering plants that have a profusion of tiny flowers, pruning or pinching them might be time-consuming. So, it’s best to wait until a lot of the blooms have started to wilt and then use a large garden shear to cut the upper parts back. You will likely lose a few blooms in the process, but they’ll bounce back immediately, giving you fresher blooms.

There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing your garden come to life with fresh, colorful, and beautiful flowers. By practicing deadheading regularly, you can keep your landscape stunning in every season.

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