August 1, 2015
To borrow a phrase, “I’m all about easy” when comes to maintaining the landscape, especially in the summer season. But this time of year there is one garden chore that helps to keep many flowering plants looking good that often gets overlooked. Despite its name, deadheading is good for your flowering plants. Deadheading extends the bloom period, maintains the health of garden plants and removes the seed source of beautiful flowering plants that have the potential of becoming a weedy mess for years to come. The normal life cycle of plants has the primary goal of producing seed for the continuation of the species and if we interrupt this cycle the plants will try again to complete their genetic programming. Deadheading many flowering summer plants, both annuals and perennials, encourages the plants to restart their bloom cycle. Deadheading is really pretty simple, so don’t be afraid. Simply select a flower head that is past its prime and snip it off. Also, collecting nice looking flowering stems for indoor arrangements is another form of deadheading. Deadheading is also needed for plants grown for their foliage, like these sun loving coleus. Removing the non-showy flowers allows the colorful foliage to be the focus. There are a couple of techniques the home gardener can use when deadheading. Soft stems can simply be pinched off. Or you can use bypass pruners for a nice clean scissors cut. True Deadheaders will put on headphones while getting to work in the garden creating a little “American Beauty” of their own. I’m horticulturist Gary “Garcia” Bachman and I’ll see you next time on southern Gardening.