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Gardener issues warning against commonly botched flower-care technique: 'I have been doing this wrong all these years'

"I've been needing this video for about 40 years."

Correct way to deadhead flowers

Photo Credit: @partytildawn / Tiktok

Every gardener has dealt with "deadheads" β€” flowers that have shriveled up and died on the plant. 

But one TikTok user is showing the gardening world how to remove these buds from the plant correctly. 

@partytildawn My favorite garden tip! πŸ‘©πŸΌβ€πŸŒΎπŸŒ± ##gardening #inthegarden #garden #pruning #gardentip #deadheading ♬ Summer Background Jazz - Jazz Background Vibes

The scoop

In a recent video, gardener Dawn Parsons (@partytildawn) shows viewers her "deadheading" trick. 

Using petunias for her demonstration, Parsons says, "Don't just pull off the bloom," suggesting that viewers "reach down all the way to the stem and pinch it back there." 

Parsons explains that this method is crucial for maintaining the plant's shape. "It forces [the plant] to fill out and not get so leggy." Otherwise, as she notes, the plant starts to spread out and thin rather than being bushy and full. 

How it's helping

Plants expend a lot of energy in growing seed heads, which are left behind when a plant starts to shed its flowers. Regular deadheading causes more energy to go toward flower production rather than seeds, which means the plant will return with more vibrant and prolific flower production. A healthy flowering plant is essential for attracting pollinators and building a habitat for helpful insects, too. 

Deadheading flowers is important for more than just the aesthetics of the plant. As the blooms die, the plant material acts as the perfect host for bacteria and pathogens that may put the plant at risk. If plants are deadheaded properly and regularly, it could reduce their dependence on synthetic pesticides and fungicides later on.

Properly deadheading flowers also allows a gardener to control how fast a plant can reproduce and spread its seeds. Deadheading should be completed regularly as part of garden maintenance starting in the late spring rather than at the end of the season, as this creates a more manageable upkeep plan and regulates early-season growth.

The plants that benefit most from regular deadheading are cut-and-come-again annuals, including bleeding hearts, Shasta daisies, and sage.

What everyone's saying

Many viewers were shocked that they had been deadheading another way for so long. 

One viewer wrote, "Omg my poor petunia! I have been doing this wrong ALL these years!"

"Ive been needing this video for about 40 years lol, thank you!" another commented.

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