Maintaining your landscape beds year-round doesn’t have to be a chore. You can reap the benefits of arranged pruning with a few simple steps. Take note of the specific types of plants in your garden. Do they have singular or lateral stalks with blossoms? Identify which blooms need to be pruned or simply removed. Prune all necessary perennials. In less than a week, you will see rows of new color and refreshed plants.

Why should you deadhead your perennials?

Dead-heading is defined as, “the process of removing spent blossoms.” This process can prolong the bloom period of your plants and prevent further seeding of plants you may not desire growing in your garden next season. Perennials will have a cleaner appearance when you prune the dying flowers from each spent stalk. A few other benefits include the appearance and growth of new buds and blooms.

Plants consist of a stem, nodes, internodes, flower stalks, and leaves. New flower stalks form at leaf nodes (where leaf meets the stem). Each plant should be investigated as to whether it has a lateral or singular stalk. Lateral flower heads can be pruned back to the node. Terminal flower heads may be cut back to the terminal leaves or the next lateral bud. When in doubt you can always prune the stem back to the closest lateral leaf.

A few plants with singular stalks may be pruned to the ground including: Hostas, Coral bells, and Lady’s mantle. Whereas lateral stalks produce new buds near the leaf nodes, they may be pruned back to the original node, just before the leaf stem. Some flowers requiring this type of pruning include: Salvia, Spiderwort, Golden phlox, and Roses. If you want a low maintenance gardening routine, you may consider planting: Astilbe, Sedum ‘autumn joy,’ and Russian sage. Contact your local nursery for more plants that require little or no pruning during spring and summer months. Then sit back and enjoy your revitalized garden.

Charlie Allen
BS Horticultural Science, NC State University
MBA, Business Administration, Methodist University
Operations Manager