Dead Heading- Deadheading Plants and Flowers


Deadheading is a needed process of removing old flowers from plants before they form seeds. Find facts and info on how to deadheading roses, daffodils, petuniasdaylilies, irises, and hydrangea.

"Dead heading"

One method of Dead heading

Advantages of Deadheading Flowers

After blooming, the petals on flowers fade and wilt or fall off. In the natural process this happens after pollination. Seeds form and energy that otherwise would go into producing more flowers or plant growth is directed into the seeds. By removing the flowers after the petals fade but before seeds form, you can encourage some plants to produce more flowers.

You will find that not all plants respond by continuing to bloom, and in some cases seed and fruit formation is desirable. Several rose varieties produce large, showy fruits called hips. Rose hips remain after the plants go dormant for the winter, adding color to the otherwise bare branches. Many annuals self-seed in the flower beds where they grow. Allowing some flower to go to seed will produce a new crop of plants the following spring.

Dead heading makes flower beds more attractive. Old flower stalks projecting above healthy plants give an unkempt appearance to the garden. With a pair of sharp pruning shears, cut the old flower stalks back below the foliage canopy.

Deadheading Roses

Roses are particular about deadheading. When you make a cut you’re not only removing the old flower, but also determining the quality of the next flower the plant will produce on that cane. On the stem below the flower there are one or two three-leaflet leaves, and several five-leaflet leaves below those. When a newly planted rose starts to bloom, deadhead to build a vigorous plant. Foliage produces the energy used by the plant to increase growth.

To deadhead roses, cut the flower stem just below the flower and just above the first three-leaflet leaf, leaving as much foliage as possible on the plant. On an older rose plant, the object is to force the plant to produce a strong stem that will quickly rebloom. In this case cut the flower stem with a diagonal cut just above the second five-leaflet leaf.

Deadheading Petunias is very beneficial to the plants and will ensure you have many blooms throughout the growing season. Petunias are

"Deadheading Flowers"

Deadheading Petunias

very tolerant of excessive deadheading, more so than most plants. To deadhead petunias, reach in over the wilted bloom and pinch off as close as possible to where the bloom grows on the stem. Continue this process throughout the growing season for best results.

Deadheading Daffodils

When deadheading daffodils in spring after they bloom, remove the flower stalks to keep seeds from forming and to allow the foliage stalks to keep seeds from forming and to allow the foliage to produce food. Food reserves are stored in the bulb until the following spring.

Cut the old flower stalk carefully so none of the leaves are removed. If the foliage is removed before it naturally withers, the bulb may not have enought stored food to produce flowers or foliage  the following year.

Deadheading Daylilies and Irises

Daylilies, irises, and many other plants produce flowers on tall stems. After flowering, the dead stems remain above the foliage. Deadheading gets rid of the brown stems so the foliage looks attractive.

Deadheading Bigleaf Hydrangea and Peegee Hydrangea are totally different. Don’t generalize about deadheading all plants.

Generalizing about deadheading plants can be risky. Most bigleaf hydrangea bloom on woody growth produced the previous year, whereas peegee hydrangeas produce flowers on new growth. Deadhead bigleaf varieties as soon as the flowers fade. Peegee varieties can be pruned almost to the ground in early spring and still produce large flower heads on new shoots.

If most bigleaf varieties are pruned to the ground, they will not produce flowers that year because one-year-old growth is necessary for flowering.

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