How to Clip Flowers


Taking good care of your flowers will yield a fuller, better blooming and cleaner looking garden. There are several different techniques when clipping flowers, which depends on your purpose, including clipping cut flowers, deadheading and pruning. While every plant has its own needs, there are some general rules you can apply to the different kinds of clips you make when taking care of your flowers.

Step 1

Clip flowers for cut flowers in the morning when they are most hydrated. Cut at a 45-degree angle, and place the cuttings immediately in water. Choose stems that have partially open blooms or buds that have not yet opened for a longer display of flowers.

Step 2

Deadhead flowering plants after the blooms begin to fade. This is not necessary on all plants (e.g., impatiens), but on some, like pansies and petunias, deadheading will encourage the flowers to bloom longer. Flowers are usually pinched off just below the bloom or are clipped with a pair of hand clippers just above the first leaf node.

Step 3

Prune flowers to train, improve health and to control growth. Flowers have varying pruning needs so always adhere to the proper pruning techniques for your types of flowers. For example, flowering ground covers and bulbous plants are usually cut back to the ground with pruning shears in the fall. Other flowers, such as roses, are thinned and pruned back with lopping shears to 1 to 2 feet in the winter or early spring, about one month before the last spring freeze.

Things You'll Need

  • Hand clippers
  • Pruning shears
  • Lopping shears


  • University of Minnesota Extension: Keeping Cut Flowers and Flowering Plants
  • University of Missouri Extension: Removing Spent Flowers/Deadheading
  • Texas A&M University: Follow Proper Pruning Techniques
Keywords: clip flowers, cut flowers, prune flowers, deadhead flowers

About this Author

Melissa Lewis has been a professional writer since 2005. Her work has appeared in various online publications. A former elementary classroom teacher and media specialist, Lewis is also a script writer, with a movie script, "Homecoming," she co-wrote currently in production. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology.