Why You Should Deadhead Flowers

Photo: iStockphoto.com/Andreas Kaspar
How to prune roses and other plants to bring a second bloom and help them grow stronger

One of the many summer chores on my farm is deadheading to remove spent blooms. 

Deadheading is great for plants as it prevents them from going to seed. This allows plants to conserve energy and focus on root development and overall plant growth. In fact, some perennials and shrubs like Delphiniums, Veronica and Weigela can even bloom a second time later on in the season if deadheaded right after the first bloom is finished.

Deadheading is simple and straightforward for all plants. Once the bloom is finished, use a good sharp pair of pruners and make a cut right below the spent bloom at the closest leaf terminal, where the leaf stem or secondary stem meets the main stem of the plant. If you want to prune back your plant at the same time, make this cut lower on the branch but always at the terminal. In a couple of weeks you will see new growth from where you made the cut. These new branches will contain the second flower buds so do not be tempted to remove them. Once these blooms are spent, also cut them back.

Not all flowering shrubs will bloom a second time but all will benefit from deadheading. If you have roses in your garden it is extremely important to deadhead them as it will prolong the blooming season but also strengthen the plant to help it endure the winter.

This month when you are out in the garden, do a little deadheading. It does not take a lot of time and will pay off as you can enjoy the colours of your garden for a second time and make the plants last a lot longer.

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