With finger and thumb
The simplest method is to just pinch off the faded blooms with finger and thumb. Aim to remove the flower with its stalk to ensure the plant looks tidy.
With secateurs, scissors or a knife
To deadhead plants with tough or stringy stems, use secateurs, scissors or a knife. This includes dahlias, calendulas, marigolds and shrubs such as lilac.
Where to cut
- For border perennials and annuals, trim away the old flowers, generally cutting back to a bud or leaf
- Some hardy geraniums, delphiniums and lupins produce a second flush of flowers if cut back close to ground level. This is known as the Chelsea Chop, as it is carried out at the end of May, at the time of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Others, such as lady’s mantle and oriental poppies, can still be cut back near ground level but, usually, only produce fresh foliage
- Gently snap off the faded flowers of roses, breaking the stalk just below the head (rather than cutting just above a leaf, as the snapping method results in more blooms being produced more quickly on repeat-flowering cultivars)