dead heading your roses

I just returned from a quick trip to Ohio and back for business.  For my day job that is.  Did you know that I have a day job?  Yeah, I do. Honestly I don’t love it and so that’s why I don’t discuss it here (plus I’ll bore you to sleep).  After all this blog is about things I love.  And it is a creative outlet from the 9-5 grind.

So enough about boring.  Let’s talk garden.  I suppose this is boring to some but I love gardening and have neglected it a wee bit this summer with all of the other things I’ve had going on.  Fortunately my garden consists of primarily perennials that tend to maintain themselves.  However, quite a bit of dead heading needed to be done last week on my Knock Out Roses.

Are you familiar with Knock Outs?  They are incredibly hardy and are one of the most drought and disease resistant rose bushes on the market.  In other words, they stand up to the neglect that they got from me half of this summer.

I decided it was time to dead head the spent blooms so I could get another round of knock out deep pink blooms in my yard.  It didn’t take much time to clean out the old blooms.  I get many questions from backyard gardeners on how to properly dead head their roses for optimal blooming so I thought I’d break it down for you.

First let me tell you the wrong way to do it.  Do not cut just below the dead head.  I know it seems like an obvious place to prune because the stem below the dead head is typically green but that green stem will quickly turn brown and then you will have a shrub full of dead twigs.  Which isn’t pretty.  Nothing blooms from a topped off stem.  Ever.

The proper way to dead head the rose is to follow the aforementioned stem below the dead head back to the new growth (or leaflet) on the plant which is typically about 3 to 5 inches.

Clip just before the new growth of the folded leaflet.  This sends the energy back into the plant so that leaflet will quickly flourish into a strong stem of rose blooms.

With Pink Knock Out Roses, the new leaflets grow in a deep red color which is kind of like a color coded cheat sheet for you to know where to prune.

And that’s it!  Pretty simple.  In summary, just be sure to trim off the dead bloom and the stem it is attached to.  This rule can generally be followed for dead heading other plants as well.  Think Geraniums.

I like to make dead heading less daunting by capturing the dead blooms in my favorite, vintage yellow enamel pot!

How is you garden growing this summer?

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