The Q&A Archives: Deadheading Flowers

Question: My question is very basic, but I'm new to gardening. I know that you're supposed to remove the spent flowers ("deadheading"). But do you just remove the faded/dead petals (head) or is it best to remove the entire bloom with stem and all or do you just leave the stem? And, some flowers have blooms/stems that can not be pinched off. In this case, is it okay to snip with garden scissors?

Answer: Deadheading your plants serves two functions; it stops seed production, which in turn encourages development of additional blooms, and it helps groom the plant and keep it more attractive. When you pinch off a spent bloom, you can take some of the stem with it, thereby removing an unsightly stub. If you can't remove the bloom and stem by pinching it with your fingernails, by all means use pruners or a pair of scissors to accomplish the job.

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