The summer seems to be flying by, and with all the flowers, fruits and vegetables arriving in abundance, it can be tempting to simply harvest the crops, smell the flowers, sit back and take it all in. However, with just a little continued pruning and deadheading, you can keep the blooms coming, as so many summer-flowering shrubs and perennials will keep flowering up until the first frosts. Here are five flowering plants that are worth deadheading and cutting back over the summer for later blooms in the early autumn.
Dahlias are the quintessential autumnal plant – with many flowering well into September and even October, as long as the first frosts keep away. It is very important to deadhead dahlias regularly, as they will continue to produce many flowers from summer to autumn, as long as this method is kept up. Deadheading stops the plant from putting unnecessary energy into producing seeds and seedpods, therefore discouraging the plant to shut up shop for the year. Removing spent blooms before this happens will redirect the plant’s energy into further growth and bud formation before the weather turns.
Helenium – Sneezeweed
Heleniums tend to be mid-to late summer bloomers, and keep going into the autumn. For the vibrant colours they produce as summer gives way to the fiery tones of autumn, it is worth removing faded flowers, so the plant keeps going as long as possible. Keep in mind though that the seed heads look particularly ornamental when caught in a frost, so refrain from deadheading from mid-September onwards.
Geranium – Cranesbill
This can apply to the hardy perennial geraniums in your border or to the tender bedding pelargoniums generally used in summer containers. Both types benefit from regular deadheading to keep producing more blooms.
Penstemon – Beardtongue
A long-season bloomer, Penstemons produce long spikes of flowers and look quite similar to foxgloves. However, unlike foxgloves, they will keep flowering all summer and well into autumn. It is worth giving penstemons a gentle tidy up as they start to fade, removing spent blooms. However, refrain from cutting them back until fresh growth appears next spring, as often it is the old faded stems that protect the plants during our wet, cold winters.
Rosa – Rose
Before you deadhead a rose in late summer, check that it isn’t a variety that will produce ornamental hips in the autumn. If it is, then don’t deadhead, as you will remove the potential rosehip fruits in the process. There are many roses that do not go onto produce hips though, and if yours is one of them, you might as well try and encourage your rose shrub to produce a few more romantic blooms before the autumn sets in properly, so get deadheading!