How far back should I cut my perennials?
Deadheading perennials is a good idea. Removing spent flowers encourages rebloom, eliminates seed production and self-seeding, and makes your garden and landscape look nicer. It does take time, but it's easy to do and it brings great satisfaction. To deadhead plants that produce single bloom stalks, such as blazing star (Liatris) or delphinium, cut back the flowering stem all the way to the ground, if possible. On plants that have a single flower on a stem, such as daisy, you want to get rid of only the flower that has finished blooming. Do this after the flower has become unattractive but before it sets seeds. You can let the flower stalks fall to the ground, but for the best effect, you'll want to remove them from your garden. Deadheading shears are available that cut the stem and hold it until you release the handle. This allows you to deadhead with one hand, easily moving the spent flower stalk into a container so you can carry it to the compost pile. Here are some pointers on where to deadhead specific types of perennials. Remove the entire bloom stalk of delphinium, blazing star, and other plants that flower from a single stem. Deadhead lilies just below the bottom flower to keep as many leaves on the plant as possible. On plants that produce several flower heads on one stem, such as false sunflower (Heliopsis), deadhead the stem at foliage level. Cut back plants that produce plumes, such as Russian sage (Perovskia), just below the bulk of the flowers. Shear plants such as coreopsis that produce flowers at the same level as the foliage. Deadhead individual flowers of plants that produce single blooms on long stems, such as Shasta daisy (Leucanthemum).
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