How to deadhead flowers – key tips for pruning without damaging your plants

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Any budding gardener knows there comes a time when your blooming plants fade, and the flowers look a little worse for wear. While it may seem daunting, the best way to look after your flowering plants is to deadhead them when the time comes as this encourages new growth.

Deadheading flowers can be done to all manner of plants, from border to containers, hanging baskets to flowerbeds.

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) says deadheading plants is done because

– Regular deadheading directs energy into stronger growth and more flowers

– Once the flowers are pollinated; seed heads, pods or capsules form at the expense of further growth and flower development

Read More: Should you deadhead lupins? 10 plants you should deadhead this year

The RHS explains deadheading can also prevent plants with numerous petals, such as peonies, some camellias and many roses, scattering debris widely.

You don’t have to dead your flowers, however, doing so will encourage new flowering stems to emerge.

Some plants don’t need deadheading. For example, fuchsias, bedding lobelia and salvias either don’t set much seed or neatly deadhead themselves

While taking a pair of shears to your plants may seem daunting, there are some simple tricks to pruning without causing damage to your plants.

Read on for key tips for deadheading your flowering plants.

When it comes to deadheading your flowers, you don’t necessarily need equipment like shears or garden scissors.

Instead, often you can just use your finger and thumb to pinch off any dead flowers or stems.

You should do this just above the first set of green and healthy leaves – not pluck the whole stem.

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Make sure to do so with all dead flowers across the plant.

You can also use shears to cut back your plants.

Once your flowers have bloomed and died back, use the shears to cut the first couple of inches – around five to 10 cm.

This should be enough to get rid of any dead or dying blooms.

While you prune, make sure to check your plants for any diseased leaves, damaged buds or crossing shoots.

How to keep your flowering plants looking their best

If you have summer flowering plants in your garden, there are a couple of things you can do to ensure you get the best and brightest flowers.

While you won’t always need to water your garden – weather dependent – its best to give a thorough watering once a week rather than short bursts daily.

This will help the water get into the soil and to the roots, rather than just sitting on top the surface of the soil.

Every 10 to 14 days you can use a liquid fertiliser to give your plants all the nutrients they need for flowering.

However, if you have roses, these are often fed best with specific rose-fertiliser.

Lovethegarden.co.uk also explains rhododendrons, camellias and other ericaceous plants are best fed with a specific fertiliser – so do your research depending on the plants you have!

And finally, regularly deadhead to encourage new growth, and keep those flowers coming back.

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