How To Prune Flowers

How to Increase Flower Production

How To Prune Flowers-pruning-rose-flowers
Pruning a rose bush

I read a story many years ago about a farmer’s wife who grew beautiful roses that she loved dearly, one day she was asked the question about pruning her rose bush and her reply was “before I prune my roses I would rather cut off one of my chicken’s head”. I believe when it comes to pruning our plants, especially for the beginner there is fear of making even one snip and I understand in part.

It could be for the most part not knowing where to start or what to do, there is the fear of killing the plant or pruning in such a way that will cause the plant to lose its natural form and beauty and while plant pruning is important for a plant to thrive and grow healthy you shouldn’t be fearful, why because there are so many benefits to pruning which we will be discussing a bit later.

But for those of you who are a beginner when it comes to pruning, I want to take the fear out of this procedure and let you know there is nothing to fear, in fact, once you start pruning your confidence will grow as you see how easy this method of plant care is and how beneficial pruning is to plant life. Pruning procedures are not only base on knowing how to prune but having the right tools such as a hand pruner, pruning saw or lopper shears, or maybe the job may require all three. A hand pruner is used to cut wood that’s about half an inch or less while lopper shears are used to trim back thick branches up to two inches in diameter. A pruning saw can cut wood from 1.5 inches thick or larger.

When is the Best Time to Prune Flowering Plants?

The ideal time to prune flowering plants is after the first display of flowers, discontinue pruning at the end of the plant’s growing season. Carrying out pruning procedures before the bloom period or during the bloom period will rob plants of producing flowers because of the removal of the flower buds before they have time to open.

When pruning flowering plants remove dead and spent flowers, stems, and foliage, especially if growing perennial plants. Try not to prune perennials too close to the bloom time which will delay flower bloom.

If your desire is for your plans/plants to grow lush and full then prune more often which will encourage new growth that’s constant. On the other hand, plants that are being grown for less fullness along with seeking to increase growth ( height) rate require less pruning.

How to Prune Flowers?

A good starting point when pruning is to look for disease, dying or dead stems, look for crossing branches and remove them as well. The reason to remove crossing branches is these branches rub together during mild windy conditions. This constant rubbering causes friction which in turn causes the wood underneath to open up encouraging disease followed by decay.

Why Deadhead or Remove Spent Flowers?

The reason to deadhead or remove spent flowers is deadheading will improve a plant’s appearance along with controlling the spread of seeds. When a plant starts to produce seeds will stop growing because all of its energy is focused on setting seeds. Deadheading will also encourage your plant to produce more flower blooms while growing fuller or bushier.

How to Remove Dead or Spent Flowers?

When the flowers fade remove them by pinching or cutting the stems or removing the stems below the spent or fade flowers and just above the first set of leaves, that’s healthy. (the cut should be made at a 45-degree angle) If there are too many faded flowers the use of shears is a great tool to make your job a lot easier by shearing back entirely. Shear back the first top few inches of the plant by 5 to 10 cm.

Before shearing flowers however thoroughly inspect the plant to make sure no flower bud is out of view or is being hidden among the faded blooms. If new buds are discovered the stem should be cut just above them.

When is the Best Time to Deadhead Faded Flowers?

Depending on the number of flowering plants you’re growing can take time, the ideal time to start deadheading your flowering plants is in late spring. The reason for this is there are fewer plants with faded flowers, each day spend a short time in your garden deadheading faded flowers. About half an hour to forty-five minutes is sufficient, doing this on a daily basis will decrease the amount of time spent in your garden deadheading.

If you decide to wait until early fall which is later in the season you will be getting a late start that will make your deadheading task a lot harder because of the number of plants with faded flowers. So get into the practice of deadheading early which will make this procedure much easier.

The Benefits of Pruning

  • Pruning removes dead and dying branches
  • Pruning keeps a plant’s upward and outward growth in control
  • Pruning can direct a plant’s growth
  • Pruning improves a plant’s appearance
  • Pruning improves a plant’s health
  • Pruning brings plant pests under control
  • Pruning aids in disease control (stopping the spread of disease)
  • Pruning improves security measures by making it possible for the occupants of a home to have a clear view of the outside from the inside allowing them to see their surroundings better
  • Pruning helps the sunlight to get to the lower branches where it’s needed
  • Pruning promotes, flower and fruit production
  • Pruning encourages a bushier fuller plant

 Bonus Points just for You

1. Some flowering plants don’t need to be deadhead, these self-seeding plants are better off if you let their blooms grow and fade naturally. When purchasing flowering plants from your plant nursery find out which flowering plants can be deadheaded and those that are best left to bloom and fade naturally.

2. Most flowering plants need to be cut back once a year.

3. Flowering plants that have been cut back should be monitored, make sure that the plant is getting the required water.

4. Some plants like roses have thorns so ensure you are wearing thick garden gloves and a long-sleeved shirt.

5. Pinching flowers in between annual trims will encourage healthy growth and will provide more flower production during the growing season.

The final word on how to prune

Our garden plants are depending on us to maintain their beauty and luster, the only way this can happen is for us to give them a helping hand. Carrying out pruning procedures is so important for garden plants to grow healthy, now that you have the basic know-how of how to prune along with the benefits of pruning, you are now equipped to perform these techniques in your garden. Go for it, you will be so happy with the results as your plant rewards ( a fuller plant with more foliage and flowers) you with their performance.


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About the author

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Norman loves being in the garden, both at home and for his job....
he is 'Natures Little helper' being outdoors, growing his vegetables and flowers from an early age.
Now having spent over 22 years in the profession he want to give some of his knowledge to others...
his vast array of hints and tips you will find scattered over this site will help you no end growing plants in your garden.

2 thoughts on “How To Prune Flowers”

  1. Hey Great post!

    I am totally new to this and your post was super helpful, full of information and answers to questions I was previously unsure about so thank you!

    I’m the one to worry about accidentally damaging so I tend to not prune myself but instead call my neighbor who is an avid gardener. But now I’m definitely going to try myself once I’ve got the correct tools as well!

    • Hello I am so happy to help and thanks so much for your kind words, wishing you the best of success with your garden project. Have a good day!!


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