To Deadhead or Not to Deadhead…That is the Question.

To Deadhead or Not to Deadhead…That is the Question.

I walked by a mixed planter on the front lawn ofNatureworks and noticed the above blue berries covering a lantana. Horrors! If you let your lantana form seeds they will stop flowering. Which leads me to the burning question of the week: what should I deadhead right now?

In mid-August, I do continue to deadhead all of the annuals and most of the perennials UNLESS they have attractive seed pods OR if I want to encourage them to self sow. The Vernonia (ironweed) seed pods below are valuable to me as I am trying to naturalize it in my wet lower yard. I let them ripen into fluffy heads on the plants and then I cut them off and put them where I want this plant to grow next year.

deadheadIf you have too much of a plant, you should deadhead it quickly. I allow Queen Anne’s lace into my yard as it is so good for the beneficial insects. I cut off all the seed heads in their green stage, immediately, before they ripen, to keep if from becoming a pest. I deadhead garlic chives fast for the same reason. I leave up the seed pods of Echinaceas and Rudbeckias for bird food, but pay the price by having to weed out lots of self-sown seedlings. It’s a balancing act.

Belamcanda chinensis is called the blackberry lily. The pods open up and are quite decorative in the fall.

As August turns into September, I am much looser in whether I leave seed pods on a plant or not. They seem to look more appropriate as fall approaches! BUT, if you expect your flowers to keep on blooming, whether they be annuals, perennials, or shrubs (such as butterfly bushes and roses), you must keep on deadheading. And don’t forget to keep feeding those container gardens. I fed mine again on Sunday and they are looking mighty sweet this week!