Just what is deadheading?
"Deadheading" is the removal of spent blossoms to encourage further blooming and/or to improve the appearance of the plant and garden.
I have been outside "deadheading" for a couple hours and am still not done. After three days of hard rain, deadheading is a must.
I have read many a garden book that touts deadheading. The whole theory of deadheading is that the plant will have extra vigor to produce more blossoms if the spent bloom and seed producing part of the stem are removed. If the plant is not seed producing, it can set forth more new blossoms".
A spent blossom on a trailing petuna pinched off below the seed forming area of the stem.
If you don't like pinching off the spent flower, (my preferred method) you can use a pruning snips or shears. I use a Fiskars.
The Bidens has so many dead blossoms to remove, I pop them off with my thumb and forefinger.
Deadheading a fuchsia.
Research has went into producing both sterile plants that can not produce seed, and/or plants labeled as "no deadheading" required. These plants will go on blooming even if they are not deadheaded. The plant tag at the greenhouse usually state this.
I continue to deadhead these too. The plants just look better, and I don't mind doing it. It's a chance to be outside, in your garden, with Mother Nature... need I go on?
When I have a lot of deadheading to do, like today, I drop the pruned plant material on the ground around the flower beds.
I find this goes faster for me to rake up around the flower beds when I am done, rather than to put each dried blossom in a container.
For daily deadheading of a few spent flowers, I have small terra cotta pots stationed around the gardens. I got this idea from my sister in law. I like the look of terra cotta pots. You can have some tucked almost everywhere. They can be emptied every few days.
Deadheading before and afters:
Moss roses get a slimy, brown spent blossom. I just pull them off.
Nicotiana after deadheading. Deadheading keeps them blooming all summer.
Petunias almost have to be deadheaded to look their best.
Bidens before and after deadheading.
Perennial deadheading is much less time consuming as the plants normally just bloom once over a short period of time. I snipped off this Lady's Mantle's blossoms dragged down by the rain and also partially brown. This is also a great time to prune your plants. Notice the Lady's Mantle leaves are crowding the red funnel planted with a geranium. I like to prune plants that are crowding their neighbors. With my cottage garden style, crowding is a common thing.
These dianthus during their bloom period (top photo), looked terrible after they were done blooming. A little haircut keeps the garden tidy.
That's the beauty (the after photos) and the bane (the woe of snipping or pinching all those blossoms) of deadheading.
How about you? Are you a deadheader?
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