‘Simplest’ way to keep plants and flowers looking ‘attractive’ and ‘encourage more blooms’

Gardening tips: Expert on how to grow lavender at home

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Deadheading is the term used for the removal of flowers from plants when they are fading or dead. It is an important gardening job for this month as it can help prolong the flowering period for many plants. The RHS has shared top tips on how gardeners can deadhead.

The RHS said: “It is done to keep plants looking attractive and encourage more blooms, whether in beds and borders, containers or hanging baskets.

“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.

“It can also prevent plants with numerous petals such as peonies, some camellias and many roses scattering debris widely.”

It can be hard to know when to deadhead plants but the job should be done as soon as the plants look scruffy.

It is important to remove them as soon as possible to encourage the plant to produce more growth.

Some common plants which need deadheading include bedding plants, roses, shrubs, climbers and geraniums.

The RHS added: “The simplest method is to just pinch off the faded blooms with finger and thumb.

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“Aim to remove the flower with its stalk to ensure the plant looks tidy.

“To deadhead plants with tough or stringy stems, use secateurs, scissors or a knife.

“This includes dahlias, calendulas, marigolds and shrubs such as lilac.”

For border perennials and annuals, gardeners should trim away the old flowers, cutting back to a leaf or bud.

According to the RHS, not all plants need deadheading.

This includes fuchsias, bedding lobelia and salvias.

They added: “Do not remove the faded flowers on plants that produce seed loved by birds.

“This includes Rudbeckia, cornflower and sunflower.

“There is no need to deadhead rose cultivars that bear hips or other plants that bear berries in the autumn.”

Gardeners can also leave plants that have ornamental seeds or fruit.

While deadheading is a form of pruning, the two remain very different.

Pruning involves removing any part of the plant, and there are several plants which can be pruned in August, including lavender.

Gardeners should remove any spent flower stalks and about 2.5cm of leaf growth.

Lavender does not break new growth easily and so gardeners should not cut back into the woody stems.

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