Give Your Plants Some Love This Valentine’s Day with These Deadheading and Pruning Techniques
What Is Deadheading & Pruning:
Deadheading is just as it sounds – removing the dead or spent flowers from your plant. Not only is it good for the plant, but it also means you will likely get more blooms from your plant. Everyone wins! Although it might be hard to remove beautiful foliage or flowers that don’t look ‘that bad’, it’s best for the plant in the long run. Pruning is just the same concept but typically refers to larger plants such as shrubs and trees. Deadheading and pruning should be part of your regular garden maintenance if you want your plants to be as healthy as possible. Read on below to see some of the top benefits of deadheading and pruning.
Benefits of Deadheading & Pruning:
1. Increases Number of Blooms – The goal of plants flowering is to produce seeds. If their flowers are constantly being removed, they will just produce more flowers in order to try and accomplish their goal. Removing spent flowers not only ends up giving you more flowers, but you can even extend the plant’s growing season by doing this i.e. multiple rounds of blooms v. just one.
2. Creates Less ‘Leggy’ Plants & Conserves Energy – Not only will this get rid of ugly or unwanted brown and dry flowers, but your plants will also become fuller because of the new energy they have. The energy that was being used previously to fuel these dying or spent blooms and branches can now be put towards the growth of the rest of the plant – hardier stems, new blooms, or thicker root systems. You can also choose the shape you want your plant to take with pruning. This new energy that the plant has can be directed in the direction you choose based on how you prune. You can essentially decide the shape your plant takes, like the gardener who pruned the heart-shaped bush in the photo above.
3. Prevents Unwanted Seeding – Routinely removing flower heads can prevent a plant from forming new seeds altogether. This can prevent additional plant growth outside of the designated garden area. Without seeds sowing into unwanted places and taking over other plants, you can keep your garden design as it was intended.
How to Deadhead & Prune:
You want to remove the dead or spent portions of the plant right at the plant’s node. Nodes on a plant are where leaves, branches, or aerial roots grow from the main stem. Deadheading or pruning at these important areas allows the energy that was going into the spent flower or branch to now be used for the growth of a new flower or branch. There are a few techniques to do this removal.
1. Clipping – For bigger flowers or shrub and tree branches, clipping the entire thing off is the best way to go. This can be done with hand pruners or pruning loppers.
2. Pinching – If the plant is small enough and the stem is soft enough, you can literally pinch the dead parts off with your fingers. This is an easy way to help your plant without having to bring out a bunch of gear to prune.
3. Shearing – When there are a ton of small flowers, it’s easy to just shear off the top layer of plant and get them all in one fell-swoop. They will grow back just as quickly as you trim them off!
When to Deadhead & Prune:
Tropical plants are a little different in that most of them do not have to endure a cold, dead winter. Because of this, you don’t have to worry about new or tender growth not being able to survive the winter. In a frost-free climate, you want to prune plants at the beginning of their summer growing season. This will allow the plant to take the most advantage of its growing season and not sit a long time looking like it has been pruned back like it would if you pruned it at the end of its growing season.
Give your plants some love this Valentine’s season and get out there and get pruning! Check out our new, cute heart pots (photo below) for your newly deadheaded plants, and feel free to send us your before and after photos of your freshly pruned gardens!