Dead Head the Flower Heads

Okay, so a majority of the blog so far has focused on growing vegetables but I figure that there are a number of you out there that like to grow flowers too.  If I had a more permanent living situation, I would indeed have a perennial garden.  If I had a choice between sun and shade perennial gardening, I’d take shade in a heartbeat.  I am such a sucker for coral bells.  Ah yes, amazing colors.

Coral Bells

How I love them so.  I’ll share more pictures of coral bells after a visit to my mom’s garden here in the very near future.  The addiction to coral bells is contagious.  🙂

So, to move on, you have flowers in your garden.  After a while they don’t look so good any more. The flowers are faded and worn.

faded daisy flowersThese are…ummm…were daisy flowers. They are way past their prime.  With flowering plants like this we an encourage health and potential additional flowers if we just remove the old and busted flowers. There is a right and wrong way of deadheading.

Do not just remove the flowers like so….

daisy flower head faded

Because then we are left with this…

daisy flower stem with flower removed

Just the stem and than that will continue to die back and in the mean time the plant uses resources trying to keep it alive.  Not to mention it looks ugly.

Instead, remove the entire stem all the way back down as far as you can and go chuck into into the compost pile.

where to remove the stem of a faded daisy

You either go down as far as you can with out causing damage or prune it off right about a set of leaves.  You can already see another flower bud forming in the picture above.  By removing faded flowers we encourage the plant to reroute it’s energy into better things, like more flowers.  Or in the case of coral coral bells, more beautiful foliage.

You can effectively deadhead some shrubs into reblooming as well.  Spirea are a great example.  Here’s a picture of a spirea done blooming.

Spirea with faded flowers

With spirea, as soon as the blooms have all faded you want to remove them.  You can use hedge trimmer and give it a haircut just remove the blooms or if you feel really adventurous…go at it with a pair of hand pruners and prune where noted by my fingers in the picture below.

where to prune spirea flowers after blooming

You’d snip them off right above that set of leaves my fingers are pointing at.  And in a few weeks you’ll have more flowers, there won’t be as many and as big, but still very pretty.

This poor coreopsis could also do with a bit of pruning. Same principals at the daisy, prune back the flower stem to either another set of flower buds, leaves, or as far down as possible without damaging the crown of the plant.  The crown being the area that the leaves come up out of and the roots go down out of.


There are a lot of flowering plants, both annuals and perennials, that benefit from deadheading.  In the land of annuals geraniums (remove the flower stem too) and most petunias.  With petunias, you just remove the dead flower to prevent the plant from developing seeds which will nearly eliminate flowers because the plant has directed energy towards a different purpose. Now the Wave petunias are self deadheading and you don’t need to worry about it.

If you’re ever curious about whether you have a plant that needs deadheading and you’re just not sure, just use the comments section below or the Contact The Garden Sprout above and ask.  🙂

And for one last parting cluster of pictures.

Swallowtail butterfly

Swallowtail butterfly

Swallowtail butterfly


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