Many herbaceous perennials, roses, bedding and annuals respond to deadheading by producing more flowers. This can extend the season of colour in your garden, especially in late summer when there's little else in bloom.
The purpose of flowers is to enable plants to reproduce. As they fade, the plant's energy switches to producing fruit or seeds. This stops the production of more flowers, reduces vigour and may even signal the beginning of the end for annuals and summer bedding plants.
Browse our list of plants that will produce more flowers when fading blooms are removed.
As camellia flowers fade they turn brown and mushy, and can look unsightly if they stick to the otherwise glossy leaves. Deadheading won't encourage the plant to produce more blooms but it will improve the appearance of the plant as the season turns. Other shrubs that bloom only once in a season, such as lilacs, also benefit from deadheading as the removal of old flowers can help conserve the plant’s resources, maintaining healthy leaf and root growth. Simply pinch off old blooms.
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Deadheading spent hebe flowers encourages the production of more blooms, lengthening the season of colour in your garden as well as improving appearance of the shrub itself. Cut back spent blooms to the base of the flower.
Deadheading peonies helps to improve the appearance of the plant, reduce the likelihood of fungal infections developing and could channel the plant's energy back into the roots and leaves, which will improve flowering the following year. Simply cut the spent flowers at the base.
Buddleia flowers quickly turn brown once they've finished their display, giving the plant a tatty appearance. Prune old blooms at their base to improve their appearance and to encourage further blooms.
Repeat-flowering roses respond particularly well to deadheading, as they continue blooming for many more weeks than if they were left to produce hips. Snip fading blooms back to the main stem and remove any faded petals that have stuck to the leaves, to prevent fungal infections from developing.
Cosmos is an annual plant that starts developing seeds as the flowers fade. Deadhead the plant by removing the spent blooms right back to the main stem, in order to prolong flowering. Later on, you may want to let some of the flowers develop seeds so you have some to sow for the following year.
Perennial dahlias grow back each year but deadheading them helps to prolong flowering as well as divert the plant's energy back to the corms after the plant has finished blooming. The difference between buds and spent flower heads can be confusing – the buds are round while spent blooms are more pointed. Remove the whole flowering stem.
Agapanthus has a short flowering season, which is made even shorter if you don't deadhead the spent flowers. remove these as they start to fade, right back to the base of the plant, to encourage more blooms to form.
After flowering, daffodils channel their energy into producing seeds. These are unnecessary as the plants reproduce themselves much more efficiently by making more bulbs. If you're growing native species daffodils then you may want them to self-seed around your garden but otherwise remove the flowers as they start to fade so the plant's energy can be diverted back to the bulb which will help it to flower again the following year. Simply cut the flower back to the base of the plant but leave the leaves so they can carry on photosynthesising, which also channels energy back to the bulb.
Many people grow heucheras just for their leaves so they remove the flowers as soon as they start to grow. However, others enjoy the dainty flowers and the complementary display they provide. Deadheading these as they fade can encourage more blooms to form but also will help the plant channel energy back to the leaves and the roots, which will make for a better display the following year.