What to know about pruning & deadheading

SnapJAX user erikabeaches captured our attention and our hearts with these "twinning" hibiscus blooms in St. Augustine Beach.

As exciting as that title sounds, it has nothing to do with drying plums or traveling in a Volkswagen bus with Jerry and Phil.

No, this garden exercise helps your flowering and budding plants keep and produce more blooms. I promise you, this process is very easy and it helps my hibiscus keep blooming throughout the season.

First things first, here’s what you’ll need: shears and/or a strong thumb.

With a little regular pinching, deadheading and pruning, your flower garden will not only be lush, it will also hold onto its blooms longer, which means you’ll have more time to enjoy the fruits of all your hard work.

Deadheading buds is just that: removing dead buds. Flowers benefit from having spent flowers removed. In fact, flowers that repeat bloom will produce more when old, dying flower buds are out of the picture.

Even plants that bloom only once during the season will benefit from deadheading. Once deadheaded, the plant focuses its energy into strengthening itself instead of producing seeds.

There are several different techniques for deadheading and maintaining flowering plants. A good set of shears will make a clean cut, but in some cases, your fingers can get the same job done. Depending on your plantings, you may need to remove blooms or stems once or several times during a growing season.

Deadheading stems is a little different in that when each flower is on its own stem, it is best to deadhead the entire flowering stem, instead of leaving a gangly, headless stem attached to the plant. Cut off the stem at the base of the plant.

Pinching some plants with crisp, thin stems can done using your fingers. This type of deadheading is called pinching. Pinching off the flowers encourages the plants to become bushier. Another benefit? Plants pinched early in the season are less likely to become too fall and floppy. It’ll also induce more buds and move their bloom time back a few weeks.

So what are you waiting for? Bigger, better buds and full, healthy plants are just a snip (or a pinch) away.

About the Author:

The Morning Show forecaster, comic foil, culinary expert, home improvement expert and beer connoisseur.