Dorothy Packard cleans up her garden in Jones Creek nearly every morning by deadheading plants whose blooms have died out during the previous day. Doing so, she said, makes her garden look cleaner, but also helps the plant put more energy into producing more blooms.
"It's a thing I do almost daily," said Packard. "You just cut off the spent bloom so you get more flowers. It keeps the garden tidy, plus it keeps it from going to seed and limiting flower production."
Jenny Addie, of Green Thumb West, said "You don't want plants making seeds, because it takes energy away from the plant's new flowers. Certain plants need deadheading while others don't."
Among the plants that require a good "cleaning" are geraniums, which can look rather unattractive after blooms have died out.
"You go all the way down the stem to where it attaches to the leaf area and just clip it off there," Addie said. She added that it's important to keep the plant fertilized so that the plant continues to produce new blooms.
As for petunias, which can become "ratty" looking if old blooms aren't removed, Addie said the simplest way to deadhead them is to pinch of the blooms.
The newer petunia varieties, known as wave petunias, typically don't need to be deadheaded. They are designed to be self-cleaners and will usually do well if left alone. Mexican petunias throw their old bloom heads in the evening and are a great lover of heat. That particular variety of petunia "re-blooms" each morning.
"Some plants are self-cleaning and will drop their spent blooms as soon as they die out," Addie said, adding that roses require a little extra attention when it comes to removing their dead blooms. The basic rule of thumb is to take off the head and cut the stem back to five leaves.
Salvia and lantana can be given a "good haircut," as Addie refers to it, by cutting back much of the stalk. Doing so will make the plant healthier and produce even more blooms.
Most gardeners deadhead their plants early in the morning; however, Addie said there is no set rule on when one should remove spent blooms. Roses, however, should be deadheaded before 10 a.m.
Packard, who is in the process of moving, said deadheading her plants is something she'll continue to do in her new garden. The plants thrive when the spent heads are removed and new blooms proliferate.
"It just keeps the plant looking pretty," she said of deadheading. "And it really does keep the garden tidy."
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