Questions and Answers about Flowers and Ground Cover

Question:
What tool do I need to trim back blue fescue after the blooms dry out?

Answer:
To trim your blue fescue, use multi-purpose scissors. They are perfect for pruning low ground covers, flowers and small bushes. In fact, you'll find uses for these scissors all around the yard and house! In addition to removing blossoms after they have dried out, cut back the clumps in spring if they begin to look shabby. Also remove any brown foliage in the spring. The plants will benefit from dividing every few years.

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Question:
Should clematis flowers be deadheaded and if so how far down?

Answer:
Yes, clematis can be deadheaded to extend its blooming time. You only need to pinch off the spent flowers with your fingers. All that should remain are buds and flowers.

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Question:
When pruning, where do I cut my Asiatic lilies? Below the ovary? How much?

Answer:
Flower bulbs are not my area of expertise, but I can give you a little insight. Most flower bulbs do not require much pruning. If you want to increase the flowering and don't want the plant to go to seed, remove the undeveloped seedpod (ovary) just after the plant has bloomed. Cut just below the seedpod to remove it.

Each fall cut the stems to the ground. Mark the site of the bulb with a stake. If you want to thin out the lilies, dig up the cluster after it is cut down to the ground. Carefully pull the bulbs and roots apart and replant spread apart. Mark each bulb location with a stake.

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Question:
Just wondering how exactly do you deadhead tulips and daffodils.... do you just remove the spent flowers and leaves or do you have to remove part of the stem also?

Answer:
While deadheading tulips and daffodils, simply remove the spent flowers. You can also remove the stem, but don't remove any of the foliage. The foliage is what is sending down energy for the follow year's bulb. Just leave the foliage until it totally dries up and starts to pull away from the bulb on its own.

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Question:
I am confused by advice on cutting back, or dead heading. I have tried leaving dead buds on stem, and cutting back to lower leaves. Which is best? And how long does it take for new blooms to form?

Answer:
Generally annuals are deadheaded, and perennials and roses are cut back. Basically, with deadheading, the dead buds are pinched off the plant. When you cut back a plant, you cut back to lower leaves, cutting off the spent flowers. Both methods make your flower gardens look tidier without the dead flowers on the plant, and they also allow the plants to concentrate on growth instead of seed formation. Whenever you cut back a plant, it encourages new growth. It's hard to say one method is better than the other. Different flowers do better with different methods. Read up on your specific variety to find out which method is best. It's also hard to predict how long it takes for new blooms to form. That depends so much on the variety, climate, soil condition, etc. If you deadhead or cut back, flowering plants will either start to develop a new bud right away or bloom just one more time before the end of the season.

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