Deadheading Flowering Shrubs
This practice refreshes a plant’s appearance, controls seed dispersal, and redirects a plant’s energy
Deadheading—the practice of removing a plant’s spent blooms—refreshes a plant’s appearance, controls seed dispersal, and redirects a plant’s energy from seed production to root and vegetative growth. In this video, Lee Reich, author of The Pruning Book, covers the basics of deadheading flowering shrubs.
After flowers fade and seedpods start to form, snip off the flower head. For example, this rhododendron has little seedpods starting to develop where the flowers once were. If you use your fingers to pinch those off, no energy will be going to grow that seed and will instead be used for growth. On most plants you won’t even need to use pruners.
This deadheading isn’t completely necessary for the health of your plant; it is mainly for the purpose of encouraging growth. Once the shrub gets to an appropriate size, you can stop this task (unless you want to continue for cosmetic reasons).
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