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What is deadheading plants?

4 Sep 2019 1:00 AM | Brenda Peshak

Dead heading in the garden

What is deadheading plants?

Deadheading is the practice of removing spent flowers from ornamental plants. It is a widespread form of pruning. Since fading flowers are not as appealing, this improves the appearance of some plants. It can even encourage continual blooming in some. Even more importantly, it keeps the plant from directing much of their energy into seed development if pollinated. The result is less “weediness” caused by self-seeding.

About once a week, cut or snap spent flowers off at the base of the bloom. Some herbaceous ornamentals do not need deadheading, They are called self-cleaning. An example of a self-cleaning plant is an impatient.

Flowers that benefit from deadheading:

  • Petunia
  • Marigold
  • Geraniums
  • Dahlia
  • Salvia
  • Delphinium


Pinching is a little different than deadheading but is another form of pruning. You can do this to encourage fuller more compact and less gangly plant growth. The result is bushier, compact plants with many blooms. Petunias are good example of a plant which benefits from pinching. Peonies are example of an ornamental which does not benefit from pinching but does benefit from deadheading.

Save some future food for wildlife.

Toward the end of summer consider letting some spent blooms of native plants, such as coneflower and black eyed susan, go to seed. This will provide a natural food source for birds throughout the winter. Therefore, attracting wildlife to your yard which can observed and watched throughout the winter.

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