Meet Mark Cullen

Canada's best known gardening personality, Mark Cullen believes that Canadians of all ages need to play more - preferably in the dirt. A best-selling author with over 400,000 books in print, Mark reaches over one million Canadians every week through various media outlets. He is Home Hardware's horticultural spokesperson and regularly contributes to various magazines, gardening shows and newsletters. With a familiar style that people can relate to, he delivers a message that is compelling, fun, informative and inspirational - all based on his organic approach to gardening. In his spare time Mark enjoys driving his Ford Model A - and of course he loves to garden.

Deadheading - Removing Spent Flowers

~ July 13, 2011

One of the many summer time chores, especially on my farm, is deadheading (removing spent blooms). Deadheading is great for plants as it prevents them from going to seed. This allows plants to conserve energy and focus on root development and overall plant growth. In fact, some perennials and shrubs like, Delphiniums, Veronica and Weigela can even bloom a second time later on in the season if deadheaded right after the first bloom is finished.

Deadheading is simple and straight forward. Once the bloom is finished use a good sharp pair of pruners like the, Mark’s Choice Forged Bypass Pruner (Home Hardware Item # 5067-130) and make a cut right below the spent bloom at the closest leaf terminal. If you want to prune back your plant at the same time make this cut lower on the branch but always at the terminal.

In a couple of weeks you will see new growth from the place where you made the cut. These new branches will contain the second flower buds so do not be tempted to remove them. Once these blooms are spent also cut them back.

Not all flowering shrubs will bloom a second time but all will benefit from deadheading. If you have roses in your garden it is extremely important to deadhead them as it will prolong the blooming season but also strengthen the plant to help it endure the winter.

Therefore, this month when you are out in the garden do a little deadheading. It does not take a lot of time and will certainly pay off as you can enjoy the colours of your garden for a second time and make the plants “last” a lot longer.