How to Deadhead Flowers


Some flowering plants are "self-cleaning," which means that as the flowers fade, they fall from the plant naturally. Other flowering plants will not release the faded flowers, and a gardener must remove them to keep the plant looking neat and attractive. This process is called "deadheading." Not only does deadheading keep a plant tidy, it also encourages the plant to continue blooming because new buds are encouraged when the gardener deadheads the spent blossoms.

Step 1

Watch the flowering plants daily during the blooming period so you will see when flowers fade and need to be removed.

Step 2

Clip the blossoms and the stems off at the base of the stem where it intersects with another lateral flower or a lateral bud. Lateral flowers and lateral buds are flowers and buds that are growing on side stems and not the main stem of the plant. This will eliminate unsightly blossomless stems from the perimeter of the flowering plant.

Step 3

Discard the spent blossoms in the trash instead of a compost pile. The seeds in the spent flowers may sow themselves in the compost pile if you compost the blossoms.

Tips and Warnings

  • If you want to control the spread of flowering plants, deadhead each spent blossom promptly before it spreads its seed. Always deadhead with pruning shears to prevent the introduction of disease from an uneven stem edge.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears


  • University of Minnesota: Pruning
Keywords: deadheading, deadhead spent blossoms, clip blossoms, pruning

About this Author

Kathryn Hatter is a 42-year-old veteran homeschool educator and regular contributer to Natural News. She is an avid gardener, seamstress, quilter, painter, cook, decorator, digital graphics creator and computer user. She is interested in natural health and hopes to direct her focus toward earning an RN degree.