Join the RHS today and support our charity
Free personalised gardening advice
RHS members get reduced ticket prices
RHS members get free access to RHS Gardens
Reduced prices on RHS Garden courses and workshops
020 3176 5800
Mon – Fri | 9am – 5pm
Make a donation
I have forgotten my password
Keep me signed in
Register for free to receive our newsletters, add comments to blogs/articles and to save content.
See what events are on near you and browse your bookmarked pages.
Don’t miss out - book in advance and save
Deadheading is the term used for the removal of flowers from plants when they are fading or dead. It is done to keep plants looking attractive and encourage more blooms, whether in beds and border, containers or hanging baskets.
Most flowers lose their attraction as they fade, spoiling the overall appearance of beds, borders and containers, and are best removed. However, there are other reasons:
Remove the spent flowers as soon as they look scruffy. In practice, gardeners usually have to remove them as soon as they can and, thankfully, a few days delay won’t make a difference.
The simplest method is to just pinch off the faded blooms with finger and thumb. Aim to remove the flower with its stalk to ensure the plant looks tidy.
To deadhead plants with tough or stringy stems, use secateurs, scissors or a knife. This includes dahlias, calendulas, marigolds and shrubs such as lilac.
Should I be deadheading everything? Thankfully, no;
Container maintenanceFlower ballingHanging basket carePerennials: cutting backPerennials: dividingPerennials: stakingRHS video: dead heading for more flowersSweet Pea Society
the RHS today and get 12 months for the price of 9
RHS members can get exclusive individual advice from the RHS Gardening Advice team.
Register for the site or sign in to share your experiences on this topic and seek advice from our community of gardeners.
VivieSov on 01/06/2015
Does anyone else have my problem of differentiating between a seed head and a bud on Scabiosa Pink Mist? I don't know if I'm cutting off the wrong part.
We're a UK charity established to share the best in gardening. We want to enrich everyone's life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.
Join the RHS today and get 12 months for the price of 9