Monty Don shares ‘particular’ plant to ‘deadhead’ now to ‘extend their flowering season’

Deadheading is the simplest way to boost the performance of flowering plants – but only if gardeners do it at the right time. 

While most plants should be deadheaded once the petals begin to fade, there are some varieties that don’t need to be tidied up at all. 

Depending on the hardness of the stem, deadheading is the removal of declining flowers from a plant with fingers, scissors, or hand pruners. 

Deadheading prevents a plant from setting seed or producing fruit, and in many cases encourages the plant to produce more flowers. As an added benefit, deadheading makes plants appear tidier.

Taking to his monthly gardening blog, Monty Don instructed that gardeners need to “keep deadheading throughout October”.

He claimed that “particularly the equatorial plants like dahlias” need to be pruned this month.

The 68-year-old said: “This will extend their flowering season and squeeze the last bloom from them.”

While spent dahlia flowers can be “tricky to differentiate” from unopened buds, the “foolproof difference” is that when they have finished flowering they become pointed and a cone shape, whereas the unopened buds are rounded.

The calyx, the green outer ring of the flower, should be fanned out below the bud.

In addition, the sepals of the calyx have folded up to enclose and protect the reproductive parts of the plant.

Dahlias are among the most attractive flowers you can have in the garden. 

Not only are they easy to care for, but the rewards are long-lasting as they can go on flowering from mid-summer right up until the first frost.

To deadhead a dahlia, don’t simply cut off below the spent flower. This will leave a flowerless stem that just looks ugly, and won’t promote flowers to grow back either.

Instead, cut back to just above the point where the flower stem joins the main stem. As you do so, you’ll probably notice a couple of tiny buds nestling there.

With the removal of the spent flowers, the new bugs should come to life and bloom in a week or two.

Gardeners who are attentive in taking care of their dahlias and keep up their deadheading regime will have blooms until the plant is knocked over by the first frost.