‘Really straightforward way’ to deadhead petunias to encourage them to flower ‘longer’

Gardening: Expert demonstrates how to deadhead flowers

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These floral beauties offer a wide spectrum of hues, from jewel-like purples and pinks to elegant snow-whites. Some are delicately fragrant, and many have a spectacular, trailing habit which makes them ideal for hanging baskets. They’re a must-have for any backyard, suiting both cottage-garden and contemporary styles alike. Plus, learning how to grow petunias is pretty fuss-free, too.

Experts at Squire’s Garden Centres explained that “deadheading” is great for all summer bedding plants.

They said: “It is a really good idea to do some deadheading.

“Removing the old heads encourages the plant to flower over a much longer period.”

Of course, it will also make your container displays look fresher and more vibrant. 

Picking off the faded blooms from your petunia plants isn’t strictly necessary, but it is definitely worth doing if you have the time.

Gardening pros at Gardeningetc have suggested how gardeners can deadhead their petunias in just “three simple steps”.

They explained: “Deadheading petunias is really straightforward and it makes a world of difference to the appearance of the plant. 

“You can use your best secateurs if you like, ensuring they are sharp and clean. 

“However, the task can be completed as effectively using just your hands.”

Gardeners need to begin by locating the “wilted blooms” – they will look dry, crumpled, and discoloured.

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Using your thumbnail and forefinger, gently pinch out the spent flowers, including the seed pod at the base. 

Alternatively, gardeners can use secateurs.

Then those who compost at home can add the collected flowers to their heap.

You can deadhead petunias throughout their flowering season. 

However, by midsummer, you may wish to give them a slightly harder prune to neaten up their overall shape.

It’s at this point in the year that they can start to become a little leggy, producing blossoms at the tips of long, leafless stems. 

So, to keep them tidy and encourage more flowers, simply prune the shoots back to about half their length, making each cut just above a node. 

After pruning, fertilise and water the plants well to encourage new growth. 

The plants may look ragged at first, but they’ll soon bounce back better than ever.

Million bells, otherwise known as calibrachoa, are very closely related to petunias and often used in the same way as one of the best plants for hanging baskets. 

However, they are easier to maintain when it comes to pruning and deadheading.

As Squire’s Garden Centres explain, they rarely need cutting back.

The experts said: “Perhaps only in cases where there is seriously limited space and they have spilled significantly over the edge of a hanging basket.” 

This is unlikely, as they don’t tend to trail in a long and spindly fashion.

The team added: “They also do not require deadheading – another load off of your mind.” 

This is because these plants are ‘self-cleaning’, which means the flowers drop off naturally when they have died. 

However, you can pinch back stems to a node to encourage bushier growth and more blooms.

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