The first question you probably have is “what is deadheading?” This gardening expression means removing the old blooms like any developing seed from a plant to keep it flowering longer.

Your next question is most likely “why does a plant bloom more if you get rid of old flowers?” Generally, flowers are supposed to guarantee the survival of the species. All of the different blooms that nature created are an attempt to make sure that seeds are generated and the next generation of plants grow. In some instances, once seeds have been formed, the plant will halt blooming since there’s no longer a reason to put energy into flowering.

Is deadheading roses necessary?

Plant breeders have put plenty of energy into picking plants that will bloom without deadheading. Sometimes this is because the plants are sterile. Other times it is because it is possible to pick plants which are abundant bloomers in spite of setting seed. You should pick plants that are high-volume bloomers and low maintenance, meaning they don’t require deadheading.

Selecting plants that don’t require deadheading is the most straightforward route to nonstop flowers. Though, in some instances, there will be a plant you can’t do without, even if deadheading is needed. Or, the sight of old blooms still hanging on plants will be unattractive enough that you want to eliminate them anyway. This is when knowing how to correctly deadhead is imperative.

What to know when deadheading roses

When deadheading, you can remove the old flower by squeezing off the stem just under the base of the flower. This removes the old flower and keeps it from producing seed (the objective of deadheading).

Any flower can be eliminated just above the first leaf under the flower head without disturbing the rest of the plant. For plants with bigger stems getting rid of just the flower may leave an unsightly stem exposed. Clipping just over the first leaf will eliminate the ugly stem and the flower.

Also, this is the best method of deadheading for plants that grow with spikes of flowers. Studies have shown that even roses grow more when old flowers are taken off just over the first leaf below the flower. Call a Hickory arborist if you don’t feel comfortable or are unskilled in cutting plants.

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