Deadheading sounds like something related to our presidential election choices or something, but is actually an important process of caring for annual and perennial flowers in Oklahoma landscapes. Deadheading is the removal of spent flowers that have finished putting on their show so that more flowers can then be produced. It refreshes a plant’s appearance, controls seed dispersal, and directs energy from seed production to vegetative growth and flowering. The goal of any annual plant is to grow, set seeds, and die. So by removing the spent flowers and stopping the seed process, many plants will then produce more flowers, providing your landscape with a continued display of color into the summer months.
Some common Types of flowers in Tulsa and Oklahoma City which are good for deadheading are:
Phlox, Sage, Salvia, Veronica, Daisy, Marigold, Zinnia, Geraniums, Coreopsis, Petunias, Snapdragon, Begonias, and Roses to name a few. In most cases, one can take a pair of scissor or shears and just cut off the spent flower at the stem, just above a leaf or another stem. In some flowers, such as Day Lillys, one can cut off the flower stalk more at the base of the plant, and a new stalk will generate from the base. On some flowers such as Marigolds, the spent flowers can just be pinched off, and if you don’t want the seeds to germinate and produce more flowers, dispose of the seeds.
The following chart shows perennial flowering plants that do well with deadheading. Most annuals do fine also. Photo courtesy of Bob LaPointe.