Saturday, July 13, 2024

Gardening: Off with their heads

By Cheryl Huckabee

Keeping blooming plants tidy in the summer pays big dividends. Removing spent flowers from annual and perennial blooming plants in July will encourage them to rebloom. The plants spend their energy producing new flowers rather than seeds. Deadheading is simple, but there are three methods to use depending on the type of blooming plant.

Pinching: Flowering plants with thin, soft stems can be deadheaded by pinching off the spent blooms between your fingers with your fingernails. Examples include Geraniums and Petunias.

Pruning: Remove spent blooms on larger perennials with thicker stems using pruners. Cut the stem just above the new buds on the stalk. If all the blooms are spent, cut the stalk to the ground. Examples include Purple Coneflower, Shasta Daisy and Black-Eye Susan.

Shearing: Some blooming plants benefit from removing all the spent flowers and some foliage together. This makes them bushier and rebloom several times. Shear 1/3 to 1/2 of the entire plant. Examples include Texas Lantana, Autumn Sage and Coreopsis.

Here are a few extra tips to keep in mind:

  • Be careful not to remove developing flower buds
  • Check the stem below the faded flowers for new buds, then cut the stem with the faded flowers just above the new buds
  • To keep self-seeding plants from spreading, remove spent blooms before they form and drop seeds. Examples include Dianthus, Calendula and Hollyhock
  • Remove and discard diseased foliage during deadheading. Cleaning the pruners with alcohol, disinfecting wipes, or a mild bleach and water solution between cuts to avoid spreading diseases

Save the date for the Denton County Master Gardener Fall into Gardening Event on Sept. 30. Check the DCMGA Event Calendar for more details. Happy Gardening!

CTG Staff
CTG Staff
The Cross Timbers Gazette News Department

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