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Deadheading

Why is deadheading your plants important? Why bother with all that work? You’d be surprised at
what a few minutes a day in your garden can do for the health of your prized, and even not so
prized plants.

When you deadhead, you are essentially removing spent flowers before they go to seed. Look at
your garden as a whole, plough through and do a thorough deadheading, and then step back and
look at the difference? Surprised? You shouldn’t be. The effect is rather like sweeping through
your house after your family, picking up toys and odd socks. The end result is a cleaner tidier
space. Think of it a vacuuming your outdoor living room.

The most important thing to take into consideration is hygiene. If you are using snippers or
secateurs, be sure to sterilize them with isopropyl alcohol before and after each plant you
deadhead. Many diseases can be spread from plant to plant, by improper care of tools. Hosta
virus X is a good example.

               

Want a few more reasons? It keeps the garden healthy by removing the food source for fungus to
attack. Not only can that look ugly, but it can seriously harm and even kill your plants.
Deadheading also encourages the plant to rebloom and promotes bushier growth. When a flower
has finished blooming, the plant spends energy making seed. If you remove the flower, the plant
will concentrate instead on sending out more roots. This in turn will make for an even bigger plant
next year.

Take Hostas for instance. If you’re not fond of the flowers in the first place (as many people are
not) nip it in the bud so to speak and don’t let the flowers get to the blooming stage. You’ll have
bigger Hostas.

Some plants such as Achillea millefolium and Veronica ‘Aztec Gold’ really benefit from a good
shearing rather than deadheading. They will end up sending out great bushy growth that will look
great for the rest of the summer.

Deadheading is as easy as falling off a log. You cut off the flower and its stem. That’s it. Make
sure you don’t leave a big ugly stem sticking out though the foliage. Try to cut down to the next
node or area of bushy growth.

Finally if that just doesn’t convince you to deadhead your plants, think of it as quality time to
meditate and wind down from a busy day. 10 minutes can make a big difference to your plants...
and your stress levels.

Good Luck and Happy Gardening

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