Guide To Calendula Deadheading – Removing Spent Calendula Flowers

Guide To Calendula Deadheading – Removing Spent Calendula Flowers

By: Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist
Image by lenta

Calendula flowers seem to be floral representations of the sun. Their cheery faces and bright petals are prolific and last well into the growing season. Removing spent calendula flowers can help increase the production of blooms. While calendula deadheading isn’t necessary, the process can improve the appearance of plants and make way for new buds to receive the sun’s kiss. Some tips on how to deadhead a calendula will have your plant in season-long production, bearing a thick head of golden blooms.

Should You Deadhead Calendula?

Should you deadhead calendula? Honestly, you don’t have to, as the spent heads are also rather interesting. However, removing spent calendula flowers will increase air circulation and light penetration, promoting even more of the charming blooms. The process may be a little tedious but all you need are some scissors or garden snips and a little patience.

Calendula flowers lose their petals and leave behind interesting heads that will produce numerous seeds and, in some instances, reseed themselves. If you want a steady annual supply of plants, just leave these little heads attached so they can ripen and disperse seed. All you really need is a couple of heads unless you want a field of flowers, so why not remove the spent blooms and let new flowers take their place?

Plants will benefit aesthetically from calendula deadheading and removing the spent blooms lets more light in to feed the production of new blooms. It also increases plant health by allowing air in to prevent pest and disease issues.

When to Deadhead Calendula Flowers

Because calendula blooms prolifically and all season long, you will need to look at the plant at least every few days to check for dying blooms. If you are removing spent calendula flowers to prevent the plant from reseeding itself, do so just as the petals fall.

For seed head saving, wait until the entire seed head has turned tan and is mostly dry. Allow seed heads to further dry for 5 days before saving them in closed bags and storing in a cool, dry location until the next season. Plants rebloom every two weeks on average, although new flowers arrive daily. If you want to simply shear off the dead heads on the entire plant, do so just above the new buds that are forming.

How to Deadhead a Calendula

There are two ways to deadhead calendula. Which you use will depend upon how neurotic you are about the plant’s appearance.

If you just want to remove the seed heads, you can simply pinch off the bloom just as it attaches to the stem. This will effectively prevent the plant from over-seeding itself.

For true perfectionists, use scissors or snips and cut the entire stem off as far down into the plant as you can, ideally a few inches (8 cm.) from the crown. This keeps the plant’s appearance neat and tidy without drying, browning stems distracting from the green and gold glory of the plant.

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