Pulling Dead And Faded Flowers Off Plants

Pruning Of A Dead Flower From The Garden
(Image credit: Lex20)

While a plant's flowers are very beautiful, they are a rather fleeting beauty. No matter how well you take care of your plant's blossoms, the course of nature demands that those blossoms will die. After a flower has faded, it is not nearly as pretty as it once was.

Why You Should Be Removing Dead Flowers

The question then becomes, "Should I pull the old flowers off the plant?" or "Will removing the old flowers hurt my plant?" The answer to the first question is "Yes, you should pull the old flowers off." This process is called deadheading. Unless you plan on collecting seeds from the plant, the old flowers serve no purpose once they have lost their beauty. The best way to remove these faded blossoms is to snip or pinch the base of the flower to separate the flower from the stem. This way, the clean cut will heal faster and there is less likelihood of damage to the rest of the plant. The answer to the second question, "Will this hurt my plant?" is both yes and no. The removal of the old flower does cause a small wound on the plant, but, if you are careful to make sure that the old flower is removed with a clean cut, the damage done to the plant is minimal. The benefits of removing the flower far outweigh the damage. When you remove the faded flower on a plant, you are also removing the seedpod. If the flower is not removed, the plant will put an enormous amount of energy towards developing those seeds to the point where root, foliage, and flower production is negatively affected. By removing the faded flowers, you are allowing all the energy to be directed towards better growth in the plant and additional flowers. Pulling the old flowers off your plants is actually doing both your plant and yourself a favor. You will be able to enjoy more blooms from a larger and healthier plant if you do this.

Heather Rhoades
Founder of Gardening Know How

Heather Rhoades founded Gardening Know How in 2007. She holds degrees from Cleveland State University and Northern Kentucky University. She is an avid gardener with a passion for community, and is a recipient of the Master Gardeners of Ohio Lifetime Achievement Award.