When flowers have gone past and plants begin to form seeds, in some cases, deadheading – cutting off the spent flowers – can encourage more blooms. If you allow plants to form seeds, their energies will focus on that see growing process. Deadheading flowers that have faded often means you can get more flowers on more robust plants.
Most annuals will produce more blooms if you regularly deadhead them; this practice is mostly applied to roses, but has many other appropriate settings. Just make sure to cut the flowering stem back to a healthy leaf or stem. Some perennials also will repeat bloom or continue blooming if you deadhead them, particularly those that bloom on stems that also bear leaves. In the case of perennials, deadheading often will cause plants to become bushier and more compact. This category includes pink evening primrose, blanket flowers, many salvias, coneflowers, tall phlox, asters, and coreopsis.
Why Deadheading Flowers is Important
Although most plants with leafless flower stalks (like daylilies or agapanthus) that rise above crowns of basal leaves will not rebloom, you still should consider deadheading. In these cases, deadheading will direct their energy toward forming healthier root growth, healthy foliage and a cleaner appearance. Cut each flower stalk off at its base. The daylily ‘Stella d’Oro’ is an exception in that it often will send up repeat blooms if regularly deadheaded.
Although deadheading is not necessary for plant health, some flowering shrubs also benefit from deadheading. Lilac, azalea, rhododendron, magnolia, buddleia and mountain laurel are among the shrubs that will gain by deadheading flowers.
Flower Deadheading Exceptions
There always are exceptions: Don’t deadhead flowers of baptisia, lunaria, blackberry lily or any other plant that bears decorative berries, seedheads or pods later in the season. Additionally, deadheading fruting plants can drastically reduce fruit production.
All in all, this mild gardening activity is a great way to get out into the garden. And as we always say, they best tip to successful gardening is presence, or time in the garden.