How to Deadhead Annual Plants


When the bloom of an annual starts to wither and die off, the plant will often start producing a seed instead of another flower. These seeds can be collected for growing next year, but if you'd rather have your plant continue flowering you need to prevent it from producing the seed. When you deadhead plants--remove dead and dying flowers--early enough, the plant will produce another flower. This allows you to keep colorful blooms appearing all season, and prevents your plants from looking unkempt and uncared for.


Step 1

Check your flowering annuals daily for withering and dying blooms. Prolific bloomers such as vinca, pansy and morning glory will need to be deadheaded almost daily, while others might need it just once each week.

Step 2

Brush dead flower blooms off the plants gently with your hands and fingers. Those that don't fall off easily need to be pinched.

Step 3

Grasp the base of a dead flower bloom in a pinch between your thumb and forefinger, then pull gently to remove it.

Step 4

Add the spent flower blooms to your compost pile, or allow them to scatter to the ground.

Snap or Snip

Step 1

Deadhead plants with flower blooms at the end of long stems by snapping them instead of pinching. Use your fingers to follow the long stem to its base, then make a quick, downward bend to snap it off. Use a hand pruner for stems that bend or tear instead of snapping cleanly.

Step 2

Deadhead tough and woody plants like roses by snipping them with hand pruners. Snip just below the spent bloom, above the first set of leaves to deadhead. Make a clean, smooth cut so you don't injure the plant.

Step 3

Snip further down the stem above another set of leaves if the branch needs to be trimmed back a bit.

Things You'll Need

  • Hand pruners


  • Midwest Garden Tips: Deadheading
Keywords: deadheading flowers, how to deadhead annuals, deadhead annual plants