By: Becca Badgett, Co-author of How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden
Platycodongrandiflorus, balloon flower, is a long-lived perennial and the perfect flower for amixed bed or as a stand-alone specimen. The buds swell and become puffy andfull before the five-lobed blossoms of balloon flower appear, hence the commonname. A member of the bell flower/campanula family, blooms begin in summer and last into fall.
You may ask, do balloon flowers need deadheading?The answer is yes, at least if you want to take advantage of the longest bloomperiod. You can let the flowers go to seed early if you want to feature otherblooms in the same area.
You can keep your plants bursting with blooms all season byusing this technique of balloon flower pruning along with some deadleafing(removal of spent leaves). This keeps more flowers coming if you remove thefading bloom before it goes to seed, along with the top leaves. Seeding of justone flower signals the others that time has come to stop producing flowers.
Learning how to deadhead balloon flowers is a simpleprocess. Simply snip off the flower as it declines or break it off with yourfingers. I prefer clipping, as it leaves a clean break. Take the top couple ofleaves off at the same time to deadleaf. This directs the plant’s energydownward to force out more flower buds.
New branches grow and sprout more flowers. Deadheading aballoon flower is a worthwhile chore. In summer, you can prune further down andremove up to one-third of the branches for a total rebloom.
Deadheading a balloon flower doesn’t take long, but yourefforts will be rewarded largely with a bounty of blooms. Check weekly to finddrooping blooms on your balloon flowers and remove them.
You can also take this opportunity to fertilize your plantsto speed up their growth and get the biggest flowers possible. Be sure to waterbefore feeding. It is also a good time to check for pests on your plants. Pestsare rarely a problem on this specimen and they’re deer resistant, but it neverhurts to be vigilant.
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Deadheading sounds like a funny name, but it’s an actual term. When you deadhead a plant, you cut off the flowers of the plant which are dying or have already died.
You’ll realize a flower of a plant is dying or dead because the bloom will wilt and the colors will fade. At times, the petals will even begin to fall off the plant.
If you see any of these signs on your plants, you’ll know deadheading should be in your near future.
I want to leave you with a few final tips about deadheading. Here are a few ideas to make your life easier when it comes to deadheading:
The first is perhaps the essential aspect to deadheading your flowers.
When deadheading, you should be sure to perform this task regularly. You should begin deadheading your plants in the late spring.
From there, make it a point to deadhead your flowers every day or at least every other day.
However, if you choose to wait until fall to begin deadheading, understand you will have a mess on your hands.
By this point, most flowers are beginning to die off on their own. This is their usual time to start wanting to sow seed for a future generation and prepare to die off.
This equates to a ton of work for you with many dead blooms coming on at one time.
Which is why it’s important to deadhead regularly and early on in the growing season to avoid an overwhelming amount of work.
There are many different flower varieties which have different specifications. Some could be annuals (meaning they only grow for one year and die off.)
Other types could be perennials (meaning they come back year after year in most climates.) Each flower variety will bloom differently and have different needs.
It’s important to read the packaging (if you purchase your flowers) or research via the internet (if you grow your flowers from seed) to understand if your flowers will give you a second bloom if deadheaded and to know if deadheading could be harmful to them (mainly with perennials.)
Once you know this information, you can safely deadhead the plants which need it and have healthier, prettier plants because of your extra effort.
Well, you now know all you should about deadheading your flowers. It’s a simple task, and if by some chance you deadhead a flower you shouldn’t or cut too deep on a plant, you’ll learn and know what not to do next time.
After all, this is how gardening works. We learn by doing. Some mistakes happen, and it’s okay.
But now I want to hear from you. Do you deadhead your flowers? Do you have specific flowers in your garden which particularly prosper because of it? Any which don’t?
We love to hear from you. Leave us your comments in the space provided below.