Enhancing the Beauty of Your Garden: The Art of Deadheading Plants

Deadheading – the word might sound morbid, but we promise the practice is anything but. In this blog, we explore the practice of deadheading plants – a simple yet effective technique that can significantly enhance the beauty and vitality of your garden. Whether you're a seasoned gardener or just starting your green journey, understanding the art of deadheading can make a world of difference.

What is Deadheading?

Deadheading is the process of removing spent or faded flowers from plants. This practice tidies up the appearance of your garden and encourages new growth, prolongs the flowering period, and redirects the plant's energy towards producing more blooms. It’s important to note that deadheading for most plants isn’t a necessity, but rather a personal preference. Some gardeners like a cleaned-up look going into the fall and winter months, while others prefer to have some winter interest with seedheads sprucing things up.

Benefits of Deadheading

  • Extended Bloom Time: Deadheading stimulates the production of new flowers, resulting in a prolonged period of colorful blooms.
  • Neat and Tidy Appearance: Regular deadheading maintains a neat and well-groomed garden, enhancing its overall aesthetic (if tidy is preferred).
  • Healthy Growth: By removing spent flowers, you prevent the plant from diverting its energy into producing seeds, promoting stronger and healthier growth.
  • Attract Pollinators: Deadheading plants encourages more buds and blooms, therefore attracting more pollinators and ensuring a thriving ecosystem.

Plants to Deadhead

Not all plants require deadheading, but many benefit from this practice. Here's a guide to help you determine which plants should be deadheaded:

  • Roses: There are many varieties of roses that we absolutely recommend deadheading. Deadheading roses encourages continuous flowering, especially with the Knock Out® and Double Knock Out® varieties. Snip the faded blooms just above the first set of five leaves and watch for reblooms. The only varieties we don’t recommend deadheading are the ones that produce rosehips, such as the Rugosa.
  • Daylilies: While daylilies are relatively maintenance-free, they do benefit from seasonal deadheading. These perennials expend large amounts of their energy into seed production, so removing the spent flowers can encourage more root development. Snap off the spent flower heads when a few times throughout the blooming season and remove the flower stalks once the season comes to an end.
  • Salvia: Deadheading salvias prevents self-seeding and promotes the growth of new flower spikes.
  • Shasta Daisies: Extend the daisy's bloom time by cutting back flowers when they start to fade at the nearest set of leaves. Deadheading also helps encourage a denser plant and bushier growth.
  • Bee Balm: Also known as Mondara, has many varieties that benefit from deadheading to encourage continued blooming. We recommend deadheading early on in the blooming season and leaving the flowers alone later in the season to create winter interest.

Plants Not to Deadhead

While many plants benefit from deadheading, some are best left alone. These include plants that produce ornamental seed heads or fruits that add visual interest to the garden. Examples include:

  • Coneflowers: Allow coneflower seed heads to remain, as they provide food for birds and add winter interest.
  • Sunflowers: Let sunflowers go to seed, attracting birds and adding a touch of charm to your garden.
  • Ferns: Ferns produce spore structures that contribute to their overall appeal, so avoid deadheading them.
  • Hydrangeas: This is a controversial one. Hydrangeas can be deadheaded, but we don’t recommend doing so, because they will not rebloom from this effort. Instead, we leave them alone to provide stunning winter interest. However, they do look stunning in flower arrangements and they also dry very well.

Deadheading Wrap Up

Incorporate deadheading into your routine to extend the bloom time and increase the health of your favorite garden plants. Remember, deadheading is more than a simple chore; it's an art that brings beauty to your outdoor oasis if that’s what you wish.

Looking for other gardening hacks? Check out our Green Tips page for more advice from our nursery experts.