If you want to prolong flowering in your garden, then you need to keep deadheading! Deadheading means removing spent or faded flowers from both annual and perennial plants. Generally, once a plant has finished flowering, it moves from the flowering process to start forming seeds. When you deadhead, the energy that would have gone into producing new seed generates more flowers instead.
Deadheading not only tidies up your pots or borders but it will spur the plant on to produce more flowers which means you can get a second show, or maybe several more, over the course of the growing season.
Most annual flowers such as petunias, cosmos, zinnias, geraniums and marigolds, as well as many perennial plants like echinacea, rudbeckia and roses will continue to bloom throughout the growing season if they are deadheaded.
How to Deadhead
When deadheading, remove the flower stem right below the spent flower and above the next set of healthy leaves.
To deadhead an annual flower, like this cosmos, make a cut all the way down from the spent flower head, to the next bud or join. If there are unopened flower buds lower on the flower stalk, just remove the dead flowers on top. Do not just pull off the dead flower head as you’ll be left with ugly, spiky stems which will spoil the overall appearance of the plant.
Some flower stalks like petunias are thin and soft enough to simply pinch off between your fingers which makes it a quick and convenient job to do.
Get in the habit of checking your flowers each time you are in the garden – a quick deadhead here and there on a regular basis will save a longer task later on. Your flowering plants will reward you for this quick tidy up with more beautiful blooms to brighten up the garden all summer long!