Linda Geist

BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. – Deadheading flowers can help gardeners get more bang for the buck, says University of Missouri Extension horticulturist Tamra Reall.

Removing faded and dead blooms costs nothing but time and encourages plants to put their energies into forming new blossoms instead of producing seed, says Reall. Additionally, deadheading gives the plant a tidier, more vibrant appearance.

For many annuals, the process allows plants to bloom the entire season. Deadheading may cause some plants to become bushier and more compact. This includes pink evening primrose, gaillardias, salvias, scabiosa, coneflowers, tall phlox, asters, veronicas and coreopsis, according to the Missouri Botanical Garden. In some cases, including coreopsis “Moonbeam” and pink evening primrose, shearing back the entire plant by one-third to one-half will encourage rebloom and compact growth.

Deadheading is easy, says Reall. Simply cut or pinch off the flower of annuals or perennials just above the first set of leaves. Avoid removing any emerging flower buds.

She recommends deadheading blooms as soon as they begin to fade. Begin this process in June and continue through the growing season. In autumn, you may want to leave the spent blooms and let them go to seed.

Some shrubs also benefit from deadheading.

There are some exceptions, such as baptisia, lunaria, blackberry lily and plants that bear decorative berries, seedheads or pods later in the season that wildlife can enjoy as food throughout the winter.

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