Deadheading Flowers

Category Flowers
Many kinds of flowering plants benefit from removing spent blooms. This page is about deadheading flowers.
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One of the best ways to prolong color in your perennial beds and borders is to deadhead spent flowers. Not only does this encourage reflowering by limiting seed production and self-seeding, it keeps the garden looking neat and tidy by focusing all of the attention on the living flowers. Here are some tips on how to deadhead specific types of perennials.

Why Deadheading Works

From a plant's point of view, the sole purpose of a flower is to attract pollinators that will help the plant form seeds for reproduction. Once a flower is pollinated, it wilts. This sends a chemical message to the rest of the plant to put the brakes on flowering and start diverting energy into producing seeds. Deadheading flowers as they fade prevents the "start producing seeds" message from getting sent to the plant. As a result, the plant keeps on funneling all of its energy into flower production.
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The Basic Method

Deadheading should be done as soon a as a plant's flowers start to fade. The plant is usually pinched back to the next flower, bud or leaf on a stem. Simply pulling off the spent flower petals isn't a good idea, because developing seedpods are often left behind.

Don't worry about buying special tools. You can use your fingers for the job, or a pair of sharp scissors or shears for tougher stems.

Plant Specific Methods

Different perennials require different approaches to deadheading. With a little trial and error, you'll figure out which plants in your garden benefit the most from deadheading. Flowers like irises require a strategy beyond the basic method, because they produce new flowers low on their stalks. Other perennials-peonies, for example-will not rebloom with deadheading, but they will look much better in appearance if spent flowers are removed.
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Questions

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Is it necessary to dead head dianthus?

Hardiness Zone: 8a

Holly from Richardson, TX

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May 14, 20080 found this helpful

Hi Holly,

The short answer is ... Yes, they should be deadheaded.

Here's some additional maintenance info for you. I hope it's helpful.

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Dianthus Maintenance: Do not mulch all the way around the Dianthus or you will encourage stem rot. Clumps can be divided every 2 or 3 years to encourage better flower production. Snipping blooms off for cut flower arrangements, or deadheading faded blooms will encourage better flower production.

Good Luck!

Joyce
Zone 5 MA

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By Lynda (Guest Post)
May 16, 20080 found this helpful

I live i N. Texas. I was told a year or two ago that Dianthus is mostly like an annual in our area, which explains why I couldn't get it to survive or return the next year. I love them, but if they don't return, they can't stay....lol.

I've discovered that native plants and grasses are the better choices, along with . If I have the seed I plant bloomers in large pots and take them inside in winter to try to get them to survive. Geranium is a good one, ground covers have blooms, Iris comes in wonderful TRIcolor blooms and need so little care, although short bloomers;

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Honeysuckle and Asian/Carolina Jasmine do very well in ordinary soils and little to no care other than annual trimming.

My yard is truly organic, and plants seem to love it so much that it's overgrown with foliage, wild in a few areas. However, what grows is either a native, bloomer or is edible for the most part, with fragrant trees such as Chinese Privet, Bradford Pear, Crepe Myrtle, Cherry Laurel, even dwarf mature boxwood. All do well in Texas if not overwatered.

I encourage low maintenance plants, like Autuum Joy
Sedum, Varigated Lirope, lillies, Varigated Vinca Major, Dwarf Monkey Grass, Autumn and Texas Sages, Mexican Petunia, Lemon Balm, Rubra Basil, Eleagnus, Clearya shrubs and many more indiginous to Texas. Tarragon is a bit rampant, as is the Lemon Balm, but Comfry stays wiithin it's boundaries.

I have wild wood violets(like lettuce), and common clover(try it if you like lemon flavor), that are edible, along with wild raspberries and Elephant Garlic that return faithfully with the the Apple, and Plum trees. I grow dandelion greens, Cilantro, and Parsley for my house Bunnies. Tomatoes grow and bloom for some folks, but not me. I have learned to love the blooms on all native plants and not spend so much time on things like Dianthus that just rots quickly in the rainy season, and for most folks who keep flowerbeds enriched. Pots might work much better. Good luck and God bless and help you. : )

Hope something here helps? Good luck and God bless. : )

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By Carol in PA (Guest Post)
May 16, 20080 found this helpful

imho, no flowering plant HAS to be deadheaded. You deadhead when you want it to make more flowers. Some plants will rebloom and others only bloom once per growing season.

I know that the groundcover known as pinks is related to dianthus. Some dianthus go by the common name of carnation. If you run the lawnmower over pinks, they rebloom. Hope this is of some help in answering your question.

good luck

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Answer this Question...

June 1, 2011

Should chive flowers be clipped to keep chives coming?

By Lynn G

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June 17, 20110 found this helpful

Yes, if the floweres are left on the engery of the plant goes into making seeds.

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February 18, 2016

This is a page about deadheading a hydrangea. Deadheading, unlike pruning, involves just removing the faded, withered blooms on your hydrangea plant.

Deadheading a Hydrangea

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May 11, 2018

Dead head your roses just above a five leaf cluster, cutting at an angle. This practice will encourage more and sometimes larger blooms. This is a page about dead heading roses.

Woman Dead Heading Roses in her garden

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