Deadheading Flowers- To do or Not to do?

Who likes looking at these nasty looking dead flowers?

No one really, most pick them well before they get to this stage, but I leave them. Why? Because I want the seeds.

The definition of Deadheading flowers is the act of removing spent flowers or flower heads to prolong bloom for up to several weeks or promote re bloom to the plant and prevent seeding.

My take? Why would you want to prevent seeding? I don’t want to have to buy seeds next year or the next year, it’s the same reasoning behind harvesting my own vegetable seeds. To keep them going, to persevere and even be able to customize my garden. I could really get into this because it’s a huge passion of mine, being able to preserve the heritage of  heirloom plants, something that has been around longer than you or I have been alive. I will save you the huge lecture and just say this, it’s a lost art seed savings from any kind of plant. Heirlooms are endangered, these are the varieties that have been handed down from generation to generation. Commercial seeds, are bred by the thousands, and lose traits from seed to seed. Which can be an entirely different discussion but I will get into that some other time. Back to the deadheading flowers and why I won’t do it-

 Seeds, they are important to save. You only really need to collect form a few plants at a time, leave the rest to deadhead and you can have your pretty flowers blooming longer, a win win in this case. As long as you know what your looking for you could have yourself a wonderful collection of seeds.

No it’s not pretty, but the seeds are curled up where the flower petals used to be. Once the petals die off you will see green curled seed pods to this flower. You wait till they are brown, and dry like the picture at the beginning of this post. Simply snip it off in a bag and take it apart later on. 

If you don’t catch the flower at the right time your seeds may already be gone. Flowers purposely either spring or burst open so the seeds scatter around, it’s their own way to survive. Your job is to simply catch it before that happens. Take California Poppies, these seed pods dry then burst open to spread their seeds sending them every which way.

These are already splitting open and ready to spread their seeds. 

So the question is, do you or don’t you deadhead your flowers? That’s up to you. I leave half of them to dry so I may collect their seeds while the others are snipped and keep blooming throughout the season. I don’t mind looking at dead flowers because of what’s to come later on. Find all my seed saving posts here

2 thoughts on “Deadheading Flowers- To do or Not to do?

  1. Grace

    I don't do much gardening any more but I use to keep my marigolds blooming from the seeds I took from the dying plants.

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