How to deadhead flowers

The excitement and sense of fulfilment you get when a garden bursts into colour is joyful, as your hard work in the off-season comes to fruition and spring arrives to bring your flowers to life.

Maintaining a vibrant and eye-catching garden is no easy task and it takes constant upkeep to ensure your garden looks its best. Once that initial explosion of colour has subsided and flowers begin to fade over time, it can spoil the look and brightness of our outdoor space but luckily there’s a secret to replenishing their sparkle.

Why should I deadhead?

Deadheading is the process of removing flowers as they start to wilt and damage the overall appearance of your borders, pots and hanging baskets. This procedure helps to improve the look of your plants and promotes more flowers to bloom in the place of their dying siblings.

By deadheading you allow your plants to solely focus energy on new growth and away from trying to replenish and creating seed pods. Not only this but it can ease your regular maintenance by stopping your flowers scattering petals across the garden and neatening up your areas which are particularly proliferated with plants.

When should I deadhead?

Deadheading should be frequent, as and when flowers begin to wilt and look past their best regardless of the month.  This can mean every day in the height of summer, however it shouldn’t have too much of an issue if you can only spare time to do this every few days.

When you get a second the easiest solution is to use your finger and thumb to pinch off the dying flowers. You aim should be to remove the stalk too, this will keep your plants looking neat and tidy as other blooms develop.

In some cases it may be necessary to use secateurs on thicker examples and trimming off the flower back to the leaf or new bud.

For multiple flowering plants attempt to take off the individual flowers and then proceed to trim their whole head back to the bud. Don’t be shy when deadheading hardier varieties of plant as many can be cut back to the ground once the first bloom has subsided and will flower again.

Deadheading tips

Despite deadheading being quite a simple task, with so many plants there are some basic rules with certain types.

Bedding plants respond well to deadheading when the flower and stalk is removed, whereas roses require cutting back hard for better blooms.

For popular shrubs, such as rhododendron and azaleas, remove dead head at the stem, with your hands or secateurs being sure not to damage the new growth buds directly below the flower.

To support bulbs reflowering in the coming year, such as hyacinths and daffodils, pinch through the flower stalk behind the seed pod leaving the stalk in place.

Some plants will not require deadheading, such as those that offer an abundance of flowers, produce berries and seeds for bird, and those hard to reach climbers; while others will deadhead themselves naturally, like a fuchsia.

If you want advice on deadheading your plants then Poplar Nurseries team are always available at our garden centre to support your gardening activities.