The weathered stone was cool and smooth, flocked here and there with moss, its jagged edges softened by the elements and constant patter of traffic.  Flanked on each side, the perennials began to crowd the path, decked in seasonal splendor and hue.  Their blooms perfumed the air and extended towards our fingertips, longing to be admired and fussed over.

And fussing is a must.

In addition to supplemental watering, considering how hot and dry Summer has been thus far, flowers also require deadheading or “pinching”, and it’s not purely for aesthetic reasons.

Removing spent and faded flowers helps encourage reblooming while improving the health of the foliage and preventing nuisance reseeding.  Additionally, deadheading helps direct energy toward the root system, so plants are able to build food reserves for the following year.  Perennials and flowering shrubs both benefit from the practice, but you need not worry about annuals.

So, how does one go about deadheading?  Simple.  Really.  Pinching or deadheading can be as simple as pinching off the faded bloom.  Pinching may also involve removing the dominant bud, which can help encourage the surrounding buds.  Yarrow, Balloon Flower, Veronica and Russian Sage respond well to pinching.  For perennials with lots of small blooms, shearing can be done instead of trying to pinch individually.  Cutting back is another viable option to help promote new, healthy foliage.  For perennials with flowers at the tips of the stems, cut just below the faded flower.  For plants with leafy flower stems and leaves at the base of the plant, cut back to just above the top most, unopened bud.  For perennials with bare stems, cut off close to the ground.  If you’re just not sure, feel free to reach out to Sweeney’s.  We’ll make sure you become a skilled and prolific deadheader.

Plant of the Week

Photo of Salsa Red Coneflower courtesy of Midwest Groundcovers

Salsa Red Coneflower

Intense, crimson red, daisy-like flowers bloom atop sturdy, upright stems June – September.  Prefers full sun and moist, well-drained soil.  Grows 18-24″ tall and 12-18″ wide.  Attracts pollinators, butterflies and birds.  Drought tolerant.

“Give me odorous at sunrise a garden of beautiful flowers where I can walk undisturbed.”

-Walt Whitman

Best wishes,

Kim Sweeney