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What Is Plant Deadheading, and Do You Have to Do It?

A woman cuts a dead flower from a stem.

Gardeners obviously want their blooms to flourish—after all, they’ve put a lot of effort into them. If you’ve just been watering and enriching the soil, though, there’s one more thing you can do to make those blooms go wild.

It’s a good gardening practice to deadhead your plants. Yes, that might sound intense, but it’ll all make sense in a second. Deadheading is, essentially, trimming the dead blooms (or heads) off your plants to encourage new growth.

How and why does this work?

Well, it interrupts the plant’s natural propensity to move energy toward seed formation. When a plant’s flowers begin to wilt, the growth will go to seed. Deadheading prevents this, and then, the energy that would have been used for seeding goes into creating more flowers. Essentially, you’re hacking the way the plant uses its energy.

The process is actually very simple. For softer plants, you can deadhead by hand, pinching the stem and removing it. For hearty plants, you’ll do the same but might need a pair of pruners. Regardless of your method, just be us to get the entire flower—not just the petals.

If you’ve been seeking a way to keep your blooms fresh and sprouting all season, deadheading might be just the maintenance step you’ve been missing.

Shea Simmons Shea Simmons
Shea Simmons is an Atlanta-based writer who has written about everything from whether Crisco is a good moisturizer to how to KonMari your space. Her work has appeared in Bustle, My First Apartment, and Make It Grateful. Read Full Bio »
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