Deadheading to Promote Blooms
The key to vibrant and colorful flowers (and flowering plants) is to remove the spent, wilted and dried flower heads. This is called deadheading.
Deadheading Annuals and Perennials prevents the flower from putting energy into setting seeds, and instead encourages the plant to produce new blooms and growth. Deadheading is easily done by picking off spent blooms with your fingers, or by using sharp hand clippers for tougher stems. Some varieties of annuals and perennials do not require deadheading to continuously produce blooms; however, these plants often appear more showy and tidy when the spent flowers are removed.
Wilted and fading rose blooms require deadheading to produce more beautiful flowers. Deadheading Roses can be done with the fingers, however most gardeners prefer to do so with a small hand clipper to avoid scratching themselves on thorns. Simply pull off the flower or trim below the bloom and above the first leaf. Be sure your clippers are sharp to avoid crushing or smashing the stem. Clean cuts are easier for the plant to seal, reducing the risk of pests or diseases invading through the wound.
Azaleas and Rhododendrons will continue to produce blooms and look fresh and vibrant if the spent flowers are removed. To deadhead, simply cut the stem beneath the dead flower, just above the bud. The bud is the bump on the stem where new growth will start. Azaleas and Rhododendrons typically develop the next year’s buds shortly after they finish flowering, so deadhead with care!
Hydrangea blooms can also be deadheaded at any time to keep the shrub looking beautiful. A general rule with hydrangeas is to deadhead Hydrangea blooms carefully after July. Be sure not to cut below the first set of leaves to avoid harming or removing the buds that are forming for next year’s flowers.
Deadheading old, wilted blooms improves the appearance of any flowering plant. Check with your nursery grower on how to deadhead other varieties of flowering shrubs!