Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Deadheading Revisited

Some posts back I talked about the importance of deadheading if you want rebloom on many perennials.  Phlox is a great recipient of deadheading and responds with a new flush of bloom.

Franz Schubert Phlox reblooming after deadheading

Blue Paradise reblooming

Laura getting ready to rebloom

I am also a proponent of deadheading plants that do not necessarily give you new blooms but do put up a flush of new green leaf growth.  It prevents that tired look at the end of the growing season where everything turns a shade of brown.

Arnie's Choice Daylily sprouts new foliage after being cut to the ground, plumbago, a fall blooming groundcover underneath.

Becky Shasta Daily sprouts new foliage after being cut to the ground.

Certain plants, at least in my zone 5 area benefit by being left to stand during the winter.  They can be deadheaded but should not be cut to the ground as we do with many other perennials.  Agastache and Centranthus are more reliable if they are not trimmed to the ground, lavender also should only be trimmed in the spring to new growth.

Agastache Rosita benefits from deadheading all summer, continual flowering.  Leave this plant standing for the winter, cut down a little for neatness but do not cut to the ground.

Agastache Blue Fortune

Centranthus Alba can be deadheaded all summer for continual bloom, trim in fall but not to the ground.

Gaillardia Mesa can be deadheaded all season for continual bloom.  This plant can be trimmed low in the fall.

The above plants are all waterwise and are some of the plants from the alley garden.  They have done very well obviously because they do not require much water and love the heat.

Most other perennials and grasses can be trimmed to the ground in the fall without any ill effects, unless you want the winter interest of seed heads.  I would not recommend leaving the Miscanthus grasses up for the fall and winter.  They do not hold up to the snow and become quite messy and labor intensive the following spring.  Even my Carex on the north side of my house is a major problem to cut back if we do not do it in the fall - it becomes mushy..  Panicum Northwind is the exception in that it turns a tan in the fall and stands very well through snowstorms and most of the winter until March.  This grass is not a problem cutting down in the spring.

Panicum Northwind can be left standing for the winter.  It becomes tan in the fall and can withstand snow and ice until March.

Miscanthus Udine will flop if not cut down in the fall.

Pennisetum Hamlin does not need to be cut back for the winter.
Carex Ice Fountains requires cutting back in the fall

If you have hydrangeas that bloom on old and new wood you can leave them dried on the stems for winter interest and cut them down in the spring.  Limelight, Endless Summer, Unique, Pink Diamonds are just a few varieties that bloom on old and new wood.


Gloria, Dakota Garden said...

Great tips on deadheading - I love your grasses they are so beautiful and healthy looking. Just last year I added a few to my garden.

Anonymous said...

Dear Eileen, I am completely at one with you on dead heading as a way of not only increasing flowering but also of keeping plants in good form throughout the growing season. Also, there is something quite satisfying about snipping off spent blooms.

In London most of my perennials are cut hard back to the ground in late autumn, the exception being those which I consider to be on the border of hardiness.

garden girl said...

I can get a little compulsive about deadheading sometimes, and the results, especially on rebloomers make it a worthwhile task to keep up with.

I do leave some blooms on select plants though, so that I can collect seeds. This year I even let some of the greens in the veggie bed go to seed. I've collected arugula, radish, and a few varieties of lettuce seeds that I can save for next spring's garden.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Gloria, the grasses have really liked the heat this year. They did get a little floppy with all of the rain.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Edith, I do cut my perennials back hard also. When my bulbs come up in the spring I don't want them competing with all of the matted foliage.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Garden Girl, I have never collected seeds, except for some marigold seeds several years ago. They must have been hybrids because they did not grow true to the parent plant. I should try it again.


Karen said...

I wish I had heeded your advice about deadheading earlier in the season; then I would be seeing flowers now instead of seed pods.

So many of my grasses flopped this year too, but we have had over 20 inches of rain since June, so the fact they are standing at all is a plus. Panicum 'Northwind' is the exception, isn't it a lovely grass?

Off to see what can be salvaged, thanks for the reminder!

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Karen, I did get out to do a little maintenance today, much cooler. I do like that Northwind grass - have you been to Northwind Perennial Farm in Burlington, Wisconsin where it was discovered?

The Miscanthus is much prettier, but it is a beast to cut down if not done in the fall.


Bernie said...

All of this is quite fascinating to me as we don't do a lot of deadheading at all here in my part of the world ... apart from a little deadheading of annuals such as Petunias! About the only thing I do ever have to cut right back are the Torenias ... which for us are not annuals. Lots of great photos ... those grasses are simply stunning!

Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...

Great tips, especially for grasses!

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Bernie, deadheading is a real chore. Be glad that you do not have to do it.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Thanks Tatyana, I have learned by not doing the grasses in the fall and then have twice as much work in the spring.


allanbecker-gardenguru said...

Because phlox blooms late in my area, it never occurred to me to dead head this plant because of, what I thought was, its impending dormancy. I simply cut it down when it was done.
Your advice on dead heading has inspired me to experiment with this perennial to see if it will reward me with a second flush of blooms.