The Q&A Archives: Shearing Sweet William

Question: I planted some Sweet William last year, and they bloomed beautifully this year. The flowers are now starting to die(after several weeks in full bloom). What should I do now? Should I shear them back? Is there any way to get the plants to flower again?

Answer: Dianthus barbatus (Sweet William) is a vigorous biennial providing dense clusters of flowers on tall stems. Sown from seed in late spring, they will bloom the following year. Once they've flowered, they won't flower again. You can shear back the spent blooms and stems to keep the plants looking attractive, or you can leave them alone, allowing the flowers to produce seed and deposit them in the bed. This self-sowing habit will perpetuate your Sweet Williams, so you'll have plants of flowering age each year.

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