Do You Prefer Pretty Flowers or Dead Stems?

Angelita Daisies

For those of you who have read my blog for a while, you have probably heard me talk about the epidemic of over-pruning. But, that doesn’t mean that you should never prune. The other day, I was driving down a street in our neighborhood when I saw one of my favorite perennials, Angelita Daisies.

The problem was, that they didn’t look very attractive…

Angelita Daisies

They looked like tufts of green grass with dead sticks.

This is what Angelita Daisies should look like…

Angelita Daisies

So, what went wrong with my neighbor’s Angelitas?

They didn’t remove the dead flowers.

Dead-heading doesn’t have to be done to them all the time, but once every 4 – 8 weeks will make a huge difference in their appearance.

In general, dead-heading spent flowers stimulates the plant to produce more flowers.  The reason for this is that the goal of flowers is to produce seed.  So, if dead flowers are allowed to remain on your plants, they figure that they have done their job and will stop flowering.

Of course, if you want to collect seeds from some of your favorite plants, then allow the flowers to dry and then collect the seeds (this doesn’t work that well with hybrids).

But, if you want colorful flowers – then take a couple of minutes a month and clip off the dead flowers.

Would you like to know why Angelita Daisies are one of my favorite perennials?  Check out my post about this wonderful plant…

“A Bright, Sunny, Lesser-Known Plant”

Noelle Johnson, aka, 'AZ Plant Lady' is a author, horticulturist, and landscape consultant who helps people learn how to create, grow, and maintain beautiful desert gardens that thrive in a hot, dry climate. She does this through her consulting services, her online class Desert Gardening 101, and her monthly membership club, Through the Garden Gate. As she likes to tell desert-dwellers, "Gardening in the desert isn't hard, but it is different."
3 replies
  1. Aaron Dalton
    Aaron Dalton says:

    I agree to a certain extent.

    But there are plenty of plants that won't rebloom even if deadheaded (um, Penstemon, for instance, I think fits into that category)

    And then there are other plants that will rebloom all summer with or without deadheading (cosmos, zinnias, etc.) Some people say they bloom MORE with deadheading, but I trialed it with Cosmos and if there's any more rebloom, it wasn't worth the deadheading effort for me personally.

    I have to admit that deadheading (for whatever reason) is one of my least favorite gardening activities. So I tend to avoid plants like azaleas (where the dead flowers hang around interminably) or English Marigolds (where the dead flowerheads look AWFUL unless deadheaded). I must prefer plants like Gaillardia and Clematis where even the seedheads are ornamental and there's no need to deadhead!

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