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Deadheading -- A Quick Guide

Most flowering plants benefit from an occasional deadheading -- removing spent flowers to improve the plant's appearance, to promote repeat blooming and to prevent seeding around the garden.

  • For most spent flowers, follow the stem down to where it meets the first set of leaves and make the cut right above them.
  • For roses, look for the first set of five leaves below the spent bloom and cut the stem just above.
  • Shear plants that produce an abundance of small flowers trimming about 1/3 of the plant back. Then tidy up the stems.

  • Skip deadheading on hydrangeas, sedum and liatris because seed heads provide winter interest.

    Leave coneflower and black-eyed susan flower heads to feed the birds.
  • Absolutely dead-head rose-of-sharon, Northern sea oats and sweet autumn clematis. They'll self-sow everywhere.

Read more about other gardening tips and tricks.

Reprinted from MODE Landscape Design Vol 3: Garden Party, July 2011

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