Want endless blooms? Learn the secrets of deadheading flowers! This guide reveals the easy technique that keeps your plants producing beautiful flowers all season, maximizing your garden’s beauty.

With the transition of spring to summer in the garden, spring flowers begin to fade and plants start looking washed out.

But there are ways to revitalize plants to promote more growth with prolific, fresh blooms. Deadheading flowers is one way to improve plant health and the overall look in your summer garden.

Here’s what you need to know.

(Posts on stacyling.com may contain affiliate links. Click HERE for full disclosure.)

What is Deadheading Flowers?

If you’ve never deadheaded flowers before, you are in for a treat because it might sound like a lot of work, but it is quite therapeutic. Deadheading flowers means removing old growth and seed heads to encourage healthy new growth and more blooms. When plants focus on seed production, they don’t put out as many flowers. So It’s important to remove those seed heads so that you get more flowers.

deadheading flowers in cottage garden with knockout roses and nepeta

When is the Best Time to Deadhead Flowers?

When the appearance of a plant starts to deteriorate, that is the best time to deadhead spent flowers. How often a particular plant needs to be deadheaded will depend on how long the flowers last. This can range from one day to several weeks depending on the plant type and variety.

A great example plant for deadheading flowers is the rose. While there are varieties that bloom once and they are done, there are others that will actually bloom more if you keep deadheading them.

And you can tell just by looking at these blooms, there are several flowers that are begging to be deadheaded off the plant.

deadheading flowers on knockout roses
After these knockout roses are done flowering, deadheading will encourage more blooms.

Why Should We Deadhead Flowers?

In general, when flowers fade, plants lose their beauty. The flowers brown out and look a bit unsightly, am I right? But removing spent blooms doesn’t just make the plant look better. Depending on the plant type, removing dead flower heads can greatly improve flowering performance.

On some plant varieties, if dead blooms remain, the plant produces seeds. If the plant focuses too much energy on seed production, there will be much less flower production. Thus, when plants complete flowering, they form seed heads.

This means the focus is on seed production as opposed to flowering. Thus, deadheading flowers as soon as blooms start fading help promote a second bloom.

The deadheading process redirects a plant’s energy from seed production to root and vegetative growth. Therefore, deadheading flowers is important to do because it keeps plants healthy and blooming.

As an aside, deadheading flowers isn’t just beneficial to plants. It is also beneficial to the gardener, because removing spent flowers can be a very relaxing and therapeutic process.

deadheading flowers from marigolds using garret wade pruners
Grab a set of pruners and cut the flower back just above a set of leaf nodes.
close up of Dahlia flowers - After deadheading flowers
Dahlias after removing spent flowers.

Should I Deadhead All Plants As Flowers Fade?

The answer is no. And it largely depends on the type of flowers you are growing. Certain varieties benefit from deadheading, while others do not. For example, salvias and catmint benefit from deadheading. They can get a second set of blooms if you remove the spent flowers.

But others like columbine, hollyhock, foxglove, and forget-me-nots like to self-sow and benefit from leaving them be in the garden.

So the home gardener needs to evaluate whether a plant requires deadheading or not before removing spent blooms. Because not all plants should be treated alike.

deadheading flowers on roses with garret wade pruners
Roses that need to be deadheaded

How to Deadhead Flowers

Deadheading flowers is a relatively easy process. I love to deadhead with pruners because it’s a faster and more precise process. When I pinch with my fingers, I always wind up somehow damaging the plant, so sharp pruners or garden snips work best for me.

  • As blooms fade, cut off the flower stems below the spent flowers and just above the first set of full, healthy leaves.
  • Check plants carefully to ensure no flower buds are hiding among the faded blooms before you shear off the top of the plant. You don’t want to accidentally cut off any blooms!

Here are some examples of how to deadhead.

close up of nepeta 'cat's meow' and salvia 'May night' in front porch garden

Deadheading Flowers on May Night Salvia

Salvias are an amazing spring-blooming perennial that will produce a second set of blooms if you deadhead spent flowers. While you don’t have to deadhead them if you choose not to, the plant can produce more blooms.

Here’s how to do it:

When deadheading salvias to get a second set of blooms, cut just above these leaf nodes. Follow the pictures below to see where the cuts are made.

deadheading flowers on midnight salvia
Before deadheading flowers on this midnight salvia.
deadheading flowers on midnight salvia - where to cut
When deadheading salvias to get a second set of blooms, cut just above these leaf nodes.
deadheading flowers on salvia may night
See where the new blooms will emerge? Cut just above that spot.
deadheading flowers on salvia may night with garret wade pruners
I prefer to use pruners when I’m deadheading because it’s faster and more precise.
after deadheading flowers on salvia may night
After deadheading flowers from midnight salvia.

Removing Dead Flowers on Marigolds

Marigolds are a gorgeous annual that blooms from spring through fall. The more you deadhead it, the more blooms you’ll get. So it’s worth getting out there every day or at least weekly to remove spent blooms.

And marigolds are one of my favorite plants to deadhead because they always look so much better when you are done. Follow the photos below to see where the cuts are made. But sometimes, I’ll just go out and pinch them off with my fingers.

Before deadheading flowers on marigolds
Before deadheading, these marigolds look dingy and untidy.
deadheading flowers on marigolds with garret wade pruners
Simply cut off the flower heads with pruners to deadhead flowers.
After deadheading flowers on marigolds
After deadheading flowers, the plant will put more energy into producing flowers and look more tidy all cleaned up.

What Flowers Should Be Deadheaded?

While this list is not exhaustive, it represents a good example of plants that will benefit from deadheading and produce more flowers.

new cottage garden with lots of flowers that love deadheading

What Happens When You Don’t Deadhead Your Flowers

I promise you the world will not end if you don’t deadhead your flowers. There may be less production of blooms, but your plants will still do their thing! As a side note, there are varieties of plants that will continuously bloom whether you deadhead them or not.

Growers have perfected their plants by making these types of varieties, so read the labels and see whether the plant you purchase was bred as a continuous bloomer.

close up of nepeta 'walkers low' - catmint are great flowers for deadheading when the blooms fade

Want More Tips for Growing a Long-Blooming Flower Garden?

If you want to grow a garden that is gorgeous, healthy, and full of plants and flowers, it starts with good healthy soil. Remove weeds when you see them and keep up on them.

In addition to managing weeds, it is so important to improve your garden soil both when you start a new garden, as well as over time. One of the best ways to improve your soil, is to make compost. It’s very easy to do and I’ve got a great recipe for it. Plus, it’s much less expensive to make your own than to purchase from the garden nursery.

In addition to making your own compost, gather all those leaves in fall and early spring to make leaf mold to improve the health of your garden soil too.

close up of cottage garden roses that are in shades of pink against a green fence

More About Deadheading Flowers

Do you regularly deadhead your garden flowers? I would love to know more in the comments below.

And don’t miss joining my Gardening DIY and Decorating Community on Facebook for more chatter. And follow along there and on Instagram as well. There are behind-the-scenes daily things that I share on Instagram that don’t make it to the blog. Would love to see you there too!

If you prefer to binge-watch Bricks ’n Blooms on TV, we go more in-depth with tours and posts on my YouTube channel. Would love to hang out with you there!

And… If you’re catching up on blog posts you may have missed, be sure to sign-up to get my newest posts via email to stay up to date with everything that’s happening here on the blog and more.

Buy My Book!

Stacy Ling with her book the bricks n blooms guide to a beauitful and easy care flower garden

If you’ve always dreamed of bringing country charm to your home while creating a beautiful, relaxing space, I got you! Learn how to grow flowers in even the smallest of spaces with my easy-care, low-maintenance approach.

Garden Supplies I Regularly Use

Since I’ve been gardening for well over twenty-five years, I’m often asked about the garden supplies and tools that I use most. Here are some of my favorites that I use in no particular order.

dahlia kogane fubuki in the potager garden

Click here to shop my favorite garden supplies!

Sign Me Up!

Sign up for my free newsletter to get blog posts, seasonal tips, recipes, and more delivered straight to your inbox!

Plus, get free VIP access to my Resource Library where you’ll find insider freebies not readily available to the public.

Pin and Save It On Pinterest

close up of roses for deadheading flowers

My Latest Posts

A large garden pot filled with white sweet alyssum and pink flowers of gomphrena, surrounded by lush green and variegated yellow hosta plants in a vibrant garden setting.

Companion Planting for Hostas: Your Guide to Pest-Free, Beautiful Shade Gardens

Tired of slugs and deer ruining your hostas? Learn the secrets of companion planting for hostas to keep pests away and create a gorgeous, low-maintenance shade garden. Hostas, with their lush foliage and elegant blooms, are staples of the shade garden. But did you know that choosing the right companion plants can make your hostas…
Read More Companion Planting for Hostas: Your Guide to Pest-Free, Beautiful Shade Gardens

Thanks for stopping by the blog today!

Enjoy your day! xoxo

Bricksnblooms Stacy Ling logo

If you like this post, please follow me @bricksnblooms on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, and Tik Tok. Subscribe to my YouTube Channel. Or join my Facebook Group.

close up of Cottage garden flowers in summer in jersey zone 6a garden with flowers that need deadheading
closeup of marigold that needs to be deadheaded -deadheading flowers
These dahlias have seen better days. Removing the dead flowers will encourage more blooms. (Before)
close up of nepeta 'walkers low' for deadheading flowers
How to Deadhead Flowers
deadheading yellow flowers
deadheading dahlia flowers using garret wade pruners
About Garrett Wade Pruners

When I deadhead spent flowers, I find it quicker and easier to work with pruners. I started working with these AWESOME pruners from Garrett Wade and really love working with them. They are solid, really well made and the bright turquoise color makes them easy to find when I put them down on the ground.

Moreover, they are really comfortable to prune plants with, make precise cuts, and are easy to use. I not only used these pruners to deadhead flowers, but also used them to prune my roses, forsythia, and a few other shrubs that were getting a little out of control.

deadheading flowers with Garrett Wade Pruners

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

9 Comments

  1. Very helpful, Stacy. I’ve Pinned so I can refer back. There’s a lot of deadheading to do in my garden this weekend. And, I wasn’t sure how to deal with the foxglove, but now I do. There may be new pruners in my (near) future! xo

  2. I always feel so good after deadheading my flowers. Everything looks so clean, but I know it’s getting the flowers ready for more blooms! Great post and love those pruners!

  3. Pingback: Dirt Road Adventures - Family Time - The Ponds Farmhouse