Why Deadhead?

Why indeed?  

Easy Wave® Silver Spreading Petunia

Well, unless you have picked plants that will drop their flowers on their own softly and quietly, you might want to deadhead.  See that shriveled Wave Petunia above?  It needs someone to simply pluck it off and discard it...onto the ground is perfectly fine.  Why?

1.  Removing the flower before it sets seed encourages the plant to keep blooming.  If you deadhead, you get more flowers.  It is as simple as that.

2. Shriveled flowers are ugly.  In particular, white flowers look very icky once shriveled and large flowers look plain gross.  Thus, a white, wilted hibiscus flower is the worst of the worst.  Deadhead them!

3. If you "pinch" the entire stem where the flower has bloomed, you are deadheading spent flowers, but also encouraging the stem to put forth new "bushy" growth.  This helps the plants from getting "leggy", tall and spindly stems that fall down in the wind.  Classic mums and annuals such as cosmos and even climbers like sweet pea will benefit from a little pinch deadheading throughout the season.  STOP deadheading and pinching around mid-July to make sure you get to see the full flower show before frost hits.

When should you NOT deadhead??

1.  If you WANT the plant to set seed, leave those flowers alone and let the plant follow its natural course.

2.  If you purchase a plant that is sterile, it will continue to produce flowers regardless of whether you are picking those flowers or not because it is desperately trying to set seed (even though it cannot).  This is why many new hybrid plants are sterile!  Flowers!  Flowers!  Flowers!

3.  The closer you get to winter and frosts, the less you want to less with your plants.  you do not want to encourage fresh new growth before a frost and you want to leave foliage and stems to protect the crowns of plants over winter.  Let nature be :)

One last note:
I do not deadhead a lot because I simply PICK flowers a LOT!  Whatever happens to be in bloom in the garden usually comes inside with m for bouquets.  If you are constantly cutting stems, you are also pinching and deadheading.  You can even pick greens from your fall mums for bouquets and win-win, you are keeping it bushy!  I guess the moral of the story is to USE your plants.  Flowers are meant to be enjoyed and given, not left to shrivel and die.

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Hey! I learned something! I had no idea that you should stop deadheading around mid July! Thanks for the tip!
Amy Renea said…
Welcome! I forget where I even learned that -- but I think it is just an old-timer rule of thumb to stop pinching mums around July 4th and the same has seemed to work on my petunias and such :)