|Thursday Tips: Deadheading Flowers|
|Written by Heleigh Bostwick Thursday, 18 August 2011|
Is deadheading always necessary? What’s the purpose? How do I deadhead? As you might have surmised, today’s topic is about…deadheading. In most flowering plants deadheading promotes maximum flower blooms, in bulbs and many other spring bloomers it promotes vigorous growth of leaves, stems, and roots in preparation for growth the following season. Deadheading can also prevent some plants from reseeding and becoming too invasive. Deadheading isn’t always necessary however.
Deadheading is the simple act of pinching off a dead flower blossom, routine maintenance if you will. Some gardeners deadhead because they prefer a tidy garden (and have extra time on their hands!), and in some cases it’s preferable to avoid fungi from invading the decomposing petals, but sometimes letting flowers go to seed is more desirable. For example if the seed pods are striking and provide winter interest. If the seeds provide food for birds and other wildlife during the colder months, they may become important contributions to your backyard wildlife habitat. Other times, you may want the seeds for collection or you may want the plant to reseed.
Deadheading is easy to do and rarely time consuming. In many instances you can use your fingers to flick off the flower head. Some flowers have thicker stems and require a sharp pair of scissors or a clipper with a sharp blade. Make a clean cut and be sure to remove the entire flower head down to the stem. Flowers that grow on long stems like daisies, coneflowers, and daylilies should be cut to the ground to encourage new leaf growth.