As the blooms of perennials start to fade, it is time to deadhead to encourage blooms to continue throughout the remainder of the summer months. Deadheading rejuvenates a plant’s appearance, delays the plant from going to seed and redirects the plant’s energy into root and vegetative growth. Most gardeners practice pruning to keep plants tidy and to extend the bloom period of certain perennials.
With perennials that produce several stalks of flowers above the foliage, such as Salvia (Meadow Sage), prune the center (oldest) stalk and leave the remaining two side stalks to produce new buds and blooms. For a visual, observe any three fingers on your hand that are next to each other. When you prune your salvia you will be cutting out the center stalk that is done blooming. On each side of the center stalk you will see two other (lateral) stalks with new buds emerging and blooms forming. If there are blooms done on the two side stalks you can cut those out as well. Only cut the spent stalks and the new flowers will form. I usually get about three blooms out of my salvia throughout the summer and into the early fall.
For Veronica (Spiked Speedwell), blooms start from the bottom of the stalk and work their way up. In the early stages of growth, the blooms will appear to be colorful on the bottom with green tips on the top of the stalk, making for very nice contrast! As the blooms mature, the entire stalk will be one color (mainly blue, purple, pink or white). Remove the spent blooms once the entire stalk has faded and the plant will produce new stalks and blooms to keep the interest coming. Deadheading will also encourage new light green foliage to emerge from the plant.
Daylily benefit from deadheading of faded blooms and removal of entire spent flower stalks. In mid-summer, when your daylilies are completing their first major bloom and producing seeds, remove faded flowers and seed stalks so that the plant’s energy goes back into producing new blooms. Clean up the appearance of the plant by removing any browned foliage, which usually can be seen around the base of the plant. While removing seed stalks will encourage more blooms, removing spent foliage will encourage new growth to rejuvenate the plant.
Other perennials that benefit from deadheading include, but are not limited to, Dianthus, Bee Balm, Lavender, False Sunflower, Coneflower, Yarrow, Blanket Flower, Butterfly Weed, Shasta Daisy and Aster.
By the second or third round of blooms, you may want to feed your plants to give them a boost and add energy for the rest of the season. (Note: Be sure not to feed in extreme heat as it can stress them, but rather wait for cooler temperatures). If your plants are brand new they may have been force bloomed, so for the first season you may only get one or two blooms, but come next year you will be able to push out three blooms on some plants if you time your pruning right. With regular maintenance of your perennials you can benefit from continuing blooms throughout the season.
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Author: Lee@A Guide To Landscape Design & Maintenance Copyright 2021. All Rights Reserved.