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Deadheading Flowers to Encourage Growth

Updated on February 18, 2012
Bulb flowers such as tulips and and narcissus can be deadheaded.
Bulb flowers such as tulips and and narcissus can be deadheaded. | Source

What is Deadheading?

Deadheading is a term in gardening where the spent flowers are removed from the flower plant to both keep the plant in shape and to encourage new growth. By deadheading a flowering plant, the plant will focus its energy on creating new flowers rather than any seed pods for reproduction.

Deadheading can be done in two obvious ways:

  • Pinching Off: Using your fingers, pinch off the spent blooms at the base of the stem where the flower comes to the branch.
  • Using Gardening Shears: For thicker stems such as roses, the use of garden shears will work better.

See below for specific deadheading tips for different flowers.

Azalea and rhododendrons are pruned in the same ways.
Azalea and rhododendrons are pruned in the same ways. | Source
Marigolds are simple to pinch and deadhead.
Marigolds are simple to pinch and deadhead. | Source
Roses should be deadheaded regularly.
Roses should be deadheaded regularly. | Source

Different Ways to Deadhead Flowers

There are many different ways to deadhead flowers, each depending on the species of flower being taken care of.

For bulb flowers, including tulips, narcissus and hyacinth, deadheading involves cutting the flower at the base of the stem. This can be done before the flower is completely spent, giving a chance to enjoy the blooms indoors in a flower vase or in a display with other flowers.

Marigolds, petunias and geraniums are very popular in garden beds and in hanging baskets. Marigolds can be pinched off at the base of the stem and petunias and geraniums can be pinched off where an entire grouping of flowers is spent.

Rhododendrons and azaleas are very similar plants and require a special handling. Pruning these shrubs regularly and deadheading on a regular basis will keep this plant looking its best.

Roses should be also pruned and deadheaded regularly. Pruning and deadheading involve similar actions. Cutting the spent bloom or trimming the bush requires clean, sharp garden shears to make nice, even, clean cuts. Making good cuts ensure no fungal growth will develop in the cuts themselves, as roses are prone to fungal attacks.

What is Deadheading? Different Ways to Do It.


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