Marin Master Gardeners
University of California
Marin Master Gardeners

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Gardening Tips - Deadheading

Deadheading
Deadheading - How To and When To?

Deadheading is the removal of spent blooms to prolong flowering, improve overall plant appearance, and/or to prevent unwanted fruit or seeds.

Annuals - Pinch spent flowers at the base where they meet the stem immediately after blooms fade to encourage prolific color all season. Some annuals that respond well to deadheading are dahlias, geraniums, marigolds and snapdragons. Deadheading can also help annual plants attain a more attractive growth habit.

Perennials - Removal of the spent blooms on perennials allow the plant to increase vigor and store energy for next year's flush. Perennials such as blanket flower, yarrow and salvia can be encouraged to re-bloom by pinching off spent flowers before they form seed heads. Deadheading also prevents some perennials such as yarrow from self seeding and becoming invasive.
 
Deadheading is a balance between the attractiveness or value of the seeds and fruit, and season-long blooms. Personal preference is the deciding factor when evaluating the removal of faced flowers.

Courtesy of Plantalk Colorado, Colorado State University Extension, Denver Botanic Gardens, and Green Industries of Colorado, Inc. 1998-2012.

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