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How to deadhead flowers

Discover how to deadhead different types of flowers in this handy How-to guide.

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To do
To do

Do not To do in January

Do not To do in February

Do To do in March

Do To do in April

Do To do in May

Do To do in June

Do To do in July

Do To do in August

Do not To do in September

Do not To do in October

Do not To do in November

Do not To do in December

Deadheading spent flowers encourages a second flush to develop, therefore prolonging the season of colourful blooms in your garden.

While some plants, such as honesty and teasel, develop decorative seedheads, most don’t, so it’s worth removing the flower before the plant wastes energy on producing seeds. Bedding plants benefit from daily deadheading, helping them to continue flowering throughout summer.

Deadheading also curbs excessive self-seeding, which can be a problem with plants such as alchemilla.

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Find out how to deadhead different flower types, below.

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You Will Need

  • Scissors, floral snips or secateurs

Step 1

Pinch off the dying flowers of summer bedding plants, between finger and thumb. Alternatively, use scissors or florists’ snips.

Deadheading spent flowers
Deadheading spent flowers

Step 2

Cluster-flowered roses should be deadheaded regularly to channel the plant’s energy into producing more flower buds. Cut each flower off as the petals begin to fall.

Deadheading roses
Deadheading roses

Step 3

Cut off only the flowers of hydrangeas in spring, so the flowerheads protect the emerging flower buds from frost over winter.

Deadheading hydrangeas
Deadheading hydrangeas

Step 4

The tall flower spikes of some perennials, such as this lupin, are best cut back before the last few flowers are finished, as seed pods are already forming at the base. Prune out the stalk to just above the leaves.

Deadheading lupins
Deadheading lupins

Step 5

Plants which produce masses of flowers, like this lavender, can be given a ‘haircut’ with secateurs or scissors as soon as the flowers lose their colour. This will encourage bushy side growth and keep plants compact.

Deadheading lavender
Deadheading lavender

Step 6

Pelargonium flowers have long stalks – snap these off cleanly at the base, where they sprout from the main stem.

Deadheading pelargoniums
Deadheading pelargoniums

Step 7

Pinch off the faded blooms of lilies, daylilies and their relatives. Then, when all the flowers on the stem are spent, cut back the whole stem to the base.

Deadheading daylilies
Deadheading daylilies

Step 8

Daisies such as rudbeckias and heleniums are often handsome in their decline, and can form attractive seedheads. You may wish to leave some of them intact, but if they look too tatty, simply snip them off.

Deadheading rudbeckias
Deadheading rudbeckias
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6 plants not to deadhead

  • Shrub roses that produce ornamental hips
  • Sunflowers, as the seeds provide winter food for birds
  • Ornamental grasses, sedums and Clematiswhich all produce attractive seedheads

Secateurs