What is deadheading?
Deadheading is the removal of old flower heads before they turn into seeds – usually done by hand or with secateurs or pruners, which is gardening ‘speak’ for scissors. If you don’t own pruners, you can find a pair and other tools in our shop.
It’s simple – removing old flower heads will help your plants produce more flowers that last longer.
Flowers exist to attract pollinating insects so that the plant can produce seeds for the next generation of seedlings. Once seeds are produced, the plant thinks its job is done for the season – by removing flowers before they turn to seed, your plants are encouraged to produce new flowers.
However, deadheading and pruning is mostly optional. If you’re more of a hands-off gardener and are happy to let nature do its thing, then your plant will be perfectly happy without.
When to deadhead
When plants are flowering, you should be deadheading once every 3-4 days (unless there aren’t many withered flowers). It pairs nicely with watering your plants.
What not to deadhead
The exception to the rule is: do not deadhead plants that produce fruits. For example, deadheading a tomato plant won’t give you delicious tomatoes for your salad because the tomatoes emerge from the flowers themselves.
How to deadhead flowers
You can deadhead some plants just by pinching off the old flower heads. Fuchsias are a good example of this.
How to deadhead fuchsias
How to deadhead dahlias
Old flower heads are usually easy to identify as the petals may have started to discolour, gone wrinkly or perhaps fallen off altogether. However, deadheading dahlias can be tricky, so we’ll use them as an example of how to deadhead plants with more robust stems that need cutting.
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