Give Your Blooms a Boom with Just a Snip
When a gorgeous blossom starts to fade, is it really the end? Absolutely not! The majority of garden flowers will be grateful for the second chance that deadheading gives them.
Cutting back dying blossoms is called deadheading, and crucial to regular garden maintenance, just like weeding and watering. Wilted, brown and dying blossoms make the garden look sad! But just because blossoms are “dead,” the plant is still alive and continuing its growth.
Plants have a 3-step process right in their DNA: they flower, mature and then set seed. When they’re snipped before “going to seed,” they get “frustrated” because the seed producing process was stopped. So their energy is redirected “inward” and they begin producing more, in abundant defiance!
But where do you make the cut? Look at the stem in its entirety and approach it from the bottom up, rather than from the spent blossom down. Find the highest set of healthy leaves and cut right above that. Make sure your garden clippers are sharp enough to make a clean cut, because the last thing you want is a ragged stem that’s more susceptible to rot and disease. If the plant is delicate, you can deadhead using your built-in pinchers, aka your thumb and index finger.
If the whole length of the stem or stalk has bloomed, cut the plant right at its base. Plants whose leaves are the main attraction – like coleus – should never be allowed to flower. Annuals that blossom for one season only can also be deadheaded, to keep them producing flowers all summer long. Some plants, like Astilbe and peonies, only bloom once, no matter what. But trim them back anyway, for a neat appearance. The next time they bloom, they’ll be stronger.
An overreaching rule of thumb for any grower is to always cut back any dead or dying flowers, leaves or stalks. As you do so, you’ll develop a sense for what needs deadheading, when and how. A well-tended garden is a thing of beauty – and “re-blossoming” is a very cool word.
You’ve snipped and clipped. Now pick up a Teknor Apex garden hose and give everything a good watering!