As part of your flower display, they will reward you by flowering all Summer long as long as you ensure that you deadhead your Petunias regularly. We take a step by step look here at how to deadhead Petunias correctly to make sure that you get the maximum benefit from your plants, whether they are bed or basket grown.
Petunias are fabulous! They form the basis of so many displays for gardeners as they come in such a wide variety of shapes and colors, they are easy to grow, cheap to buy, and they are readily available. As annuals, they are successful throughout the United States as well as other parts of the world, and these happy plants really offer a great return for such a small plant.
The question is do I need to deadhead my Petunias, and the answer is almost certainly. There are newly bred strains of Petunias, Wave or Tidal Wave who do not need to be deadheaded – they are more likely to be bought from plant specialists, and if you have bought yours from a garden market, or grown them from seed then the chances are that you will need to deadhead as you go through the Summer. If in doubt, deadhead.
Carefully cared for your Petunia plants will repay you with months and months of flower production – but only if you stop them from producing seed. The way to achieve this little gardening miracle is to deadhead regularly, which will keep the plant compact, and flowering again and again.
Clipping the dead heads is a simple gardening job, but it is one of those jobs that you cannot neglect or put off for too long or you will miss the opportunity, the petals will brown and drop and the plant will start investing energy in the remaining seed pot.
Once the petals start to brown and the vitality has left the flower you need to clip the stem just above the next set of leaves down.
This is such a simple task that if you have children they can help in the garden with this.
What do you use?
Well, I often use a thumbnail – it tends to be a job that I return to as I wander around the garden – but you may be more organized than I am, in which case small pruning clippers, shears, they are so soft-stemmed that even children’s safety scissors will cut through with no effort and no damage to the remaining plant.
You won’t want to be wearing gloves for this job – there shouldn’t be anything prickly nearby, and you risk inflicting damage on the remaining stems. You need to treat them quite gently, Petunias are not that robust.
It is important when you take off the head to follow the stem down and cut above the next set of leaves because this will generate additional side growth on the plant and help it to retain a lovely bushy compact growth. If you don’t take that additional stem, and just take the flower, then you will end up with a straggly, leggy plant by the end of the season.
You can take out several dead blooms at once – and indeed won’t cause any issue if a live one is in there – but make sure that you take the branch to just above a set of leaves in all cases.
If your plant is getting too leggy then you can arrest that growth by pinching out the growing tips of the plant and encourage spread rather than height. Wait until the plant has reached the height you want to maintain before doing it, or you will end up with stunted growth. This will help them spread and ensure that you get good coverage – covered ground doesn’t grow weed!
Once you know how to deadhead Petunias don’t forget to get them well in hand before going away if you are taking a holiday. You can be fairly ruthless in deadheading Petunias, and they will carry on providing more flowers regardless. If you are going on a trip prune them hard following our guide on how to deadhead Petunias and you will come back to a colorful display.