Q: I’ve heard other gardeners talk about ‘deadheading flowers’ — exactly what is that. How do I do it?

A: Deadheading is the removal of fading flowers to encourage new blooms and keep a plant tidy. Flowering is how plants make their seeds. In order to extend the life of our flowering plants, we need to deadhead spent blooms. By deadheading, you make the plant redirect its energy into growing flowers.

Basically deadheading serves two purposes: it keeps plants looking attractive, and it stops seed production. With most flowers, it’s fairly easy to tell when to deadhead — the flower begins to fade and petals are shrivelling and drying out. If the bloom has begun to lose its color, the plant will benefit from deadheading. The longer you leave fading flowers, the longer the plant will waste energy on dying blooms.

Deadheading is done in one of two ways: by cutting off fading blooms, or by pinching them off. For flowers that will rebloom, like Coreopsis grandiflora, cut off blooms with either your fingers or a set of snips, snapping off the stem above the next set of leaves. Use shears to cut smaller, more delicate flowers.
deadheading.jpg (more…)

Daylily - Nusbaum982-1APPEARANCE

The bell or funnel-shaped flower rises above the arching blade-like leaves born from a dense clump. The characteristics of the daylily, such as the size, color, blossom shape, and bloom period are dependent on the variety chosen. There are thousands of cultivars. Shown here is ‘Stella de Oro’ which is approximately 12 inches tall and has one of the longest bloom periods. The name simply indicates that each blossom dies at the end of the day but is replaced by another the following day.


Daylilies grow best in well drained soil that is high in organic matter but not over fertilized which will result in poor blooms and excess foliage. Bare-root plants can be set out any time during the growing season. Preferring full sun, they will tolerate partial shade and are moderately drought tolerant. Extra water or a little shade during the very hot temperatures of July will keep your plant looking nice. Removing spent blooms is encouraged for continuous flowering of many varieties. Although not required, you may consider dividing your plant in fall or early spring after 3-6 years in the ground. Cut leaves and stems to ground level each year in the fall to clean up the garden.


Hardy in Zones 4-10, daylilies have edible blossoms and attract butterflies. A very versatile plant, incorporate it into the garden as a mass, in mixed borders, on slopes, as an informal hedge or in a cluster. Good companion plants are Blue Flax, Yarrow, Blanketflower and Hyssop.

Contributed by Joan Nusbaum, Colorado Master Gardener. For answers to your horticultural questions, contact the Master Gardener Help Desk at 636.8921 or CSUmg2@elpasoco.com.

Photo courtesy of Joan Nusbaum.