Deadheading. It sounds so medieval, but it’s one of the best things you can do to keep your perennial blooms coming back again and again. “How?” you ask. Rather than wasting their energy forming seeds, perennial deadheading redirects the plant’s energy to encourage new growth.
As far as tools go, you can use scissors, pruning shears or even pinch the heads off with your finger and thumb. It makes sense to also bring along a small bag or bucket to collect your trimmings.
When to deadhead your perennials:
1. When the appearance of your blooms look like they are dying
2. Throughout the entire growing season of your plants
3. From spring through autumn, at least once a week
If done right, deadheading can both prolong the bloom period and encourage a second round of blooms, so choosing the exact point to make your cut is imperative. Simply prune the faded flowers back to a point where there’s a new lateral flower or bud. If there isn’t a new flower, then prune the stem back to a lateral leaf. For flowers with a leafless stem, such as a daylily, cut down to the base of the plant and remove the entire stem.
Don’t stress yourself out! Experimentation is really the best way to learn where to trim, so keep practicing throughout the season and see what works best for your plants.
Examples of some common landscape plants that may re-bloom after deadheading include:
• Hardy Begonia
• Perennial Salvia
• Pincushion Flower
• Purple Coneflower
• Shasta Daisy
• Sweet Violet
Even if you aren’t able to get your perennial flowers to bloom a second time, a big benefit is that they will look a lot better after the dried and wilted flower heads are removed. Deadheading may seem to be time consuming, but it’s an easy, relaxing way to spend time outside in the warm weather among your beautiful plants.
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