Flowering plants use their flowers as an advertisement to attract pollinators, who help the plant to achieve its goal in life – to reproduce.
Flowers of course come ion many shapes and sizes and flowering plants flower at different times of year – this can be linked to what their targeted pollinator partner is, or where in the world the plant originally comes from.
by Gareth Austin
A general job in gardening which should be undertaken by all gardeners is regular dead-heading of your ornamental plants, think here about your bedding plants, your roses, your hanging baskets and your perennials in the garden.
When a plant such as a Petunia goes out of it flower, the spent flower then produces a seed which completes the reproduction stage, the plant will then die off- it has completed what it set out to do!
We as gardeners interrupt this process by removing the spent blooms, the plant then has to produce more flowers to (hopefully) produce seed, this continual dead-heading ensures a repeat of flowers over a prolonged period. Combine this dead-heading with some regular liquid feeding and you’re in Horticultural heaven! This regular dead heading, carried out on a weekly basis should be a stable part of your gardening house-keeping on all your tubs, bedding plants and hanging baskets.
With garden shrubs many don’t respond in the same way, some will flower once and that’s your lot, these however benefit from having old flowers removed so that the plants doesn’t waste energy producing unwanted seeds, instead they can refocus this energy on producing more root and shoot growth. Others such as the modern garden roses do really well with dead-heading and as a result of the weekly inspection will continue to reflower for many months.
In the vertical garden the regular dead-heading of sweet peas will not only encourage more flowers, but will also gain you wonderful scented vase fulls of flowers for the home, likewise with your climbing roses.
Many perennials in the garden will throw out some minor secondary flowers if dead headed quickly, the classic Lupin will do this, as will the Penstemmons and Poppies.
Your tool of choice for dead-heading will be either sharp scissors or sharp secateurs, the key word here is SHARP, everything is easier if tools are kept in good order, so regular sharpening of your hand tools should be carried out (and you can even push the boat out and give them a wee squirt with WD40 now and again too!)Tags: