If you planted your crop of annuals in the spring time then you’ll probably notice that by now they’re starting to look a little tired, some of the flowers may still look healthy, whereas others will be starting to wilt.
This is a completely natural process and essentially it’s the plant’s way of shutting down for the season just before it does its job of dispersing seeds ready for next year. The problem is that doesn’t help you to to in your quest to maintain a beautiful looking summer garden!
The trick to squeezing more life out of your flowers is to remove the dead heads of the flowers before the plant has a chance to seed, (hense ‘deadheading’) to trick the plant into regrowing the flowers to further the chances of pollination. This means you get to enjoy a few more weeks of your garden in bloom before the plant dies off with the colder autumn temperatures.
How to Dead Head
As mentioned above you’ll want to dead head your plants before they begin to seed, so as soon as you see signs of wilting it’s time to remove the dead flower. Knowing when this will be is just a case of keeping an eye on your plants as the life cycle of the plants may vary year on year.
How much of the plant you remove depends largely on the species, but to give you a general idea:
- Long stemmed plants such as the Daisy like Rudbeckia should be cut at the intersection of the stem to the main stalk of the plant
- Herbaceous flowers can be deadheaded simply by tearing off the dead head from its stem
- For flowers with thicker stems that need to be cut, aim to cut the stem about a centimetre below the base of the flower