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.
Find out how to deadhead different flower types, below.
You Will Need
Scissors, floral snips or secateurs
Pinch off the dying flowers of summer bedding plants, between finger and thumb. Alternatively, use scissors or florists’ snips.
Deadheading spent flowers
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.
Cut off only the flowers of hydrangeas in spring, so the flowerheads protect the emerging flower buds from frost over winter.
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.
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.
Pelargonium flowers have long stalks – snap these off cleanly at the base, where they sprout from the main stem.
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.
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.
6 plants not to deadhead
Shrub roses that produce ornamental hips
Sunflowers, as the seeds provide winter food for birds
Ornamental grasses, sedums and Clematis, which all produce attractive seedheads