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Dahlias are among the most attractive flowers you can have in your garden. Not only are they easy to care for, but the rewards are long-lasting as they ca go on flowering from mid-summer right up until the first frosts.
What is deadheading?
Deadheading is a term used to describe the removal of flowers from plants when they are spent.
The practice of deadheading helps keep your plants attractive and can help with prolonged flowering.
Deadheading helps a plant produce more flowers as it boosts its drive to produce more seeds.
How do I deadhead Dahlias?
When a Dahlia flower has surpassed its lifespan, it can sometimes be tricky to differentiate it from a new bud.
If you look at your flower, you can tell it is. a bud if it is shaped like a flattened sphere and is hard if you hold it between two fingers.
The calyx, the green outer ring of the flower, should be fanned out below the bud.
A spent flower looks similar to this, but there are some notable differences.
The overall shape of a spent flower will be pointed rather than flattened, making a cone shape.
In addition the sepals of the calyx have folded up to enclose and protect the reproductive parts of the plant.
Now that you’ve identified what you should and shouldn’t cut, you can take some sharp secateurs and get to work.
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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 a 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.
If you are attentive in taking care of your dahlias and keep up your dead heading regime all summer, you’ll have blooms until the plant is knocked over by the first frost.
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