Garden Tip: Reasons to put deadheading on yard work list

Prolong the flowering period of some annual and perennial plants with regular deadheading.  |  Submitted
Prolong the flowering period of some annual and perennial plants with regular deadheading. | Submitted

Throughout the area, gardens and landscapes are awash with summer color. You can prolong the flowering period of some annual and perennial plants with regular deadheading. Deadheading is the practice of removing spent flowers.

There are three main reasons to deadhead:

1. Redirect a plant’s energy from making seed to root and vegetative growth;

2. Reduce the dispersal of unwanted seeds;

3. Prolong the flowering period or encourage a second flush of blooms. Deadheading also helps maintain the neat appearance of your garden.

Deadheading starts after spring bulbs — daffodils, tulips and hyacinths — finish blooming in May and continues throughout the summer.

The list of perennials that respond to deadheading by producing more blooms is a long one. Some of the more popular ones include: Achillea, Alcea, Aquilegia, Coreopsis, Digitalis, Echinacea, Geum, Guara, Heliopsis, Leucanthemum, Monarda, Penstemon and Salvia (perennial).

Some deadheading should be done just to help improve your garden’s appearance. A few perennials that you should deadhead immediately after blooming include: Dicentra, Heuchera, Hemerocallis, Hibiscus, Hosta, Iris, Kniphofia, Nepeta and Stachy.

Some perennials can be deadheaded to control unwanted seed production; most notable are Aquilegia and Baptisia, Brunnera and Echinacea.

Determining how to deadhead the wide variety of perennials and annuals can seem confusing, but as a general rule, use sharp pruning shears to cut off the bloom and stem down to the next new bud or cut to the first lateral branch. Avoid leaving stems or stubs.

Deadheading is a practice that pays off in more flowers and a prettier garden.

Garden Tip is courtesy of The Growing Place, 630-355-4000.

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