Deadheading your flowers is essential to keeping many of them blooming, most until first frost. Deadheading is the removal of a faded or dying flower bloom, before it goes to seed.
Deadheading or removing the spent flowers before they go to seed is the best way to keep many summer flowers blooming well into Fall. I show you how easy it is!
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First frost in my area is usually about mid to late October. I can extend the flowering of many of these flowers until then if I keep up with deadheading. Some do not continue to bloom that long but will bloom longer than if not deadheaded. I had a reader ask me what deadheading was so I figured I should give you a photo intense demo.
Shirley Poppy aka Corn Poppy (Papaver Rhoeas) is a great example of how deadheading can force a pretty flowering plant to bloom longer. In a garden forum a couple weeks ago many were lamenting that their poppies were done blooming and they had to wait another year for more. I asked which kind of poppy and it was these. I mentioned that I get mine to bloom all summer long and I was met with astonishment. I guess they had not tried deadheading them before.
So here we go.
One flower going to seed..
Most of my deadheading is the chop and drop method. I chop the stem down incrementally in approximately two inch pieces and let them drop to the ground to compost in place. This is part of my sheet composting method. I don’t worry about it looking messy, my flowers are growing so thickly at this point that you don’t notice the ground or can’t really see it.
Using my Bypass Pruners I clip the poppy stem right down to the first junction where the stem is emerging from leaves. This is where the next bloom will begin and you don’t have a dead stick just sitting above it.
Roses are the same.
I cut down to an outward facing leaf node, usually. (If you struggle with diseases, just carry a paper bag and dispose of your rose clippings when you are done deadheading also sanitize your pruners between cuts or so the experts claim, I have never had to so I can’t speak to this with any authority)
Did you see the shoot coming from the stem? My trim was not quite at the right angle but it did the trick. My roses are tough ones and not fussy in the least.
Larkspur will continue to bloom as well, filling the garden with their purple, lavender and blue color for months.
I cut this stem down to the juncture, some I even cut the main stem down to mere 2 feet tall so I can have shorter blooming ones in an area I don’t want them to block the view of other flowers. These larkspur are nearly as tall as I. Someone has asked what the difference is in the Larkspur new buds and the seed pods as they can look alike. The seed pods have a pointy end and the new buds are rounder.
My Sweet Peas are another matter. I don’t wait until they drop their flowers, I cut them while in full bloom. I trim down to the main stem, pop them in a vase of water, usually a little mason jar and bring them in to let their sweet scent fill the room.
In Fall I will let them go to seed, I will collect some but I will let quite a bit drop to the ground to reseed themselves. These you see here are a reseed from last year.
I deadhead my Clematis as well. It encourages the re-bloomers to bloom again or continue to bloom and tidies them up.
I cut these back to a juncture too. Sometimes it is the first one and sometimes I cut back further depending on if the first juncture already has blooms coming from it.
My Gaillardias are powerhouses of blooms this time of year and they keep on trucking if I keep the deadheaded.
Because flowers are engineered to bloom then go to seed to reproduce if you cut off the fading flower before it has gone to seed it makes the plant think it has been unsuccessful in its job and it goes for it again and puts the energy into making more blooms.
I cut the Gaillardias down to the leaf node as well. My finger is on the leaf and you see the faded flower above.
And that is essentially all I do to keep my garden in full color most of the summer. I also make sure to plant flowers that bloom in succession.
See my post Plant for Continuous Color for more info.
I started many of the plants shown in this post from Seed. It is an inexpensive way to get a lot of plants and the beauty of it is they readily reseed themselves for next years enjoyment.
For more on starting seeds you may enjoy these posts
Sow your Seeds in Fall
Start Seeds for a Glorious Garden
Saving Seeds from Your Garden
For more garden tips and tricks just visit my Garden Page it’s just full of fun stuff!
Happy Gardening. You know where to find me this weekend!