Deadheading is the process of cutting off the spent blooms of flowers to encourage other blossoms to form and bloom. It’s a time-consuming, almost Zen activity which all good gardeners must do. The trick is to learn which flowers benefit the most from dead-heading and which plants it doesn’t help. Here’s my guide to dead-heading plants in the butterfly garden.
Dianthus – perennial – Most dianthus bloom once and that’s it. Deadheading is generally impractical and not done. I cut it back and save the seed.
Echinacea – I dead head some, but leave others for the gold finch to nibble on. I do it more for aesthetics. It will help a little, but at some point later in the season they will stop blooming. Try and keep varieties that do well and attract the butterflies and dig out and pitch the rest. Make sure you save the seed of the great plants and plant in the fall.
Globe Amaranth – no deadheading needed.
Lantana – not necessary to deadhead.
New England Aster – normally this blooms in the fall, but this year it bloomed in June. I’m cutting it back to the ground to see if I can add a 2nd blooming – July 15th.
Salvia – perennial – No need to dead-head. When this is finished blooming, cut it to the ground and it will come back and give you a 2nd bloom.
Shasta Daisy – deadheading will help the plant look better, but won’t keep it from blooming forever.
Slender Mountain Mint – this perennial will bloom most of the year with no deadheading needed.
Verbena bonareinsis – this tall verbena is an almost constant bloomer and doesn’t need deadheading.