Improving Next Seasons Flowering

Posted: May 27, 2013

Your spring flowering shrubs were full of color this spring, but now that they are done, you should start thinking about boosting next year’s bloom.

One of the best things you can do for your spring flowering shrubs and some perennials, is to remove the spent blooms or deadhead it.  Deadheading is great for plants because it prevents them from going to seed, which is a waste of energy for the plant.  

Once the bloom is finished, you can use your fingers (or a pair of sharp hand pruners) and remove the flowers before they begin to produce seed.  Take Rhododendron for example, if you pinch off the spent flowers, there will be more energy to produce larger flower buds for next spring on the new growth.   On some shrubs like lilacs, the spent flowers and seedpods are not attractive
Some perennials and shrubs such Delphiniums, Veronica and Weigela can even bloom a second time later on in the season if deadheaded right after the first bloom is finished.  Not all flowering shrubs will bloom a second time but all will benefit from deadheading.  

If you have roses in your landscape, it is extremely important to deadhead them to prolong the blooming season as well as strengthen the plant prior to winter. 
Some shrubs such as viburnums, silky or red-stemmed dogwoods, and shadbush produce seeds or fruit that are attractive and beneficial for songbirds, and should not be deadheaded following bloom.