What Not To Do When Deadheading Flowers

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Deadheading flowers is a common gardening practice that involves removing spent blooms to promote new growth and improve the overall appearance of your garden. However, there are certain mistakes that many gardeners make when deadheading flowers. In this article, we will discuss what not to do when deadheading flowers in order to ensure optimal plant health and beauty.

1. Don’t Cut Too Low

When deadheading flowers, it is important not to cut too low. Cutting too close to the stem can damage the plant and inhibit new growth. Instead, make sure to cut just above a healthy leaf node or bud to encourage fresh blooms.

2. Avoid Using Dull or Dirty Tools

Using dull or dirty tools can introduce bacteria or fungi to your plants, leading to diseases and infections. Always use clean and sharp tools when deadheading flowers to minimize the risk of plant damage and ensure a clean cut.

3. Don’t Deadhead Too Early

Deadheading too early can prevent the formation of seed heads, which may be desirable for certain plants. It is important to wait until the flower has fully faded and the petals have withered before deadheading. This allows the plant to complete its natural reproductive cycle.

4. Avoid Removing Healthy Foliage

When deadheading flowers, be careful not to remove healthy foliage along with the spent blooms. Leaves are essential for photosynthesis and provide nutrients to the plant. Removing too much foliage can weaken the plant and hinder its ability to produce new flowers.

5. Don’t Overdeadhead

Overdeadheading refers to the excessive removal of spent blooms. While deadheading is beneficial for most plants, some species benefit from leaving the seed heads intact. These seed heads can add visual interest to the garden and provide food for birds and other wildlife.

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6. Avoid Deadheading in Extreme Weather

Deadheading flowers during extreme weather conditions, such as high heat or freezing temperatures, can stress the plant further. It is best to deadhead during mild weather, preferably in the morning or evening when the temperatures are cooler.

7. Don’t Forget to Disinfect

After deadheading infected plants, it is crucial to disinfect your tools to prevent the spread of diseases. Simply wiping the blades with rubbing alcohol or a 10% bleach solution can help kill any lingering pathogens.

8. Avoid Deadheading Perennials in Fall

Perennial flowers rely on their seed heads to provide winter interest and food for birds. Avoid deadheading perennials in the fall to allow them to complete their lifecycle naturally. However, you can deadhead in early spring to promote new growth.

9. Don’t Neglect Proper Clean-Up

After deadheading, it is essential to clean up any fallen petals, leaves, or debris around the plants. This helps prevent the spread of diseases and improves the overall appearance of your garden. Regular clean-up also allows for better air circulation, which reduces the risk of fungal infections.


Deadheading flowers is a beneficial gardening practice when done correctly. By avoiding these common mistakes, you can ensure the health and beauty of your plants. Remember to cut at the right height, use clean tools, deadhead at the appropriate time, and provide proper care to your plants for optimal results.