Pruning perennials to shape them and deadheading spent flowers to keep them blooming all summer helps your garden look its best. Deadheading is the process of removing the blooms that have faded. Some perennial flowers that do not need deadheading may continue to bloom while seed heads are forming, others may stop blooming. Removing the spent blooms stops the plant from setting seed and in some cases encourages the plant to rebloom.
Hardy in USDA zones 5 to 9, this native plant grows well in both sun or shade as long as the soil is cool and moist.
Aquilegia, commonly referred to as columbine, is a short-lived perennial that is available in a wide array of colors. It is attractive to both bees and hummingbirds.
Aquilegia are perennial flowers that do not need deadheading. The spent flowers will form seed heads that can be removed from the plant once they are dry, or the seed heads can be left on the plant. If the seed heads are not removed, the seeds will drop around the plants and the following spring new plants will grow.
Some perennial flowers that do not need deadheading can take over a garden in a short amount of time. Echinacea, or coneflower as it is commonly known, is one such plant. Although it is a native, the common coneflower can be quite invasive if it likes where it is growing.
New cultivars of coneflower are available that allow gardeners to choose various colors and flower forms. They are hardy in USDA zones 3 to 9.
One of the main reasons these perennial flowers do not need deadheading is because the seed heads provide food for local birds. Bees and butterflies also find the plant attractive.
Epimedium, commonly known as barrenroot, has perennial flowers that do not need deadheading. This little-known ground cover is perfect for shady areas around trees where other plants have a hard time growing. They can be grown in full sun, but only if the ground is moist.
Epimedium typically remains evergreen all winter. In early spring, it is best to cut the old foliage off so that the flowers, which are quite tiny, can be seen. New growth, with a reddish tint, will emerge. Epimedium is hardy in USDA zones 3 to 8.
Rudbeckia, often called brown-eyed or black-eyed Susan, is a popular plant for wildlife friendly gardens, not to mention the fact that they make excellent cut flowers. Butterflies love the flowers when they are blooming.
Once these perennial flowers go to seed, expect to see them loaded with birds who will eat the seeds. Be aware, however, that dropped seeds will create new plants. Rudbeckia is hardy in USDA zones 3 to 7.
- Colorado State University Cooperative Extension: Pruning Perennials
- Michigan State University Extension: Aquilegia x hybrida--Columbine
- University of Illinois Extension: Coneflowers
- Michigan State University Extension: Epimedium X rubrum (E. alpinum)—Barrenwort
- Purdue University: The Many Faces of Rudbeckia