Yesterday I nearly succeeded at doing just one thing in the garden after my bike ride. I decided to deadhead the large container of purple verbena on the deck. Of course I deadheaded a few more things on the deck, too. Deadheading is one of my favorite gardening tasks. It’s easy, and it has a great payoff–more blooms! That’s why I call it flower power. Yes, fertilizer is flower power, too, but after fertilizing the containers heavily in June and July, I have stopped adding fertilizer this year. Deadheading is what I’m doing to get more blooms now.
Thanks to several deadheading sessions, my purple verbena has performed several great flower shows already this year. Fortunately, a couple of those shows coincided with the big events in my garden this year, the garden walk in July and the tomato tasting party in early September. That’s because I had been careful to do a thorough deadheading job 1-2 weeks before those events.
I don’t have any special event planned in the next week or two, but it’s time to deadhead the plant again as most of its blooms have faded. So that’s what I did yesterday morning. By the way, I achieved this nice full container simply by buying a hanging basket and transplanting it there in the spring. Using hanging baskets is one of my favorite tricks for getting a head start on full containers. I usually split the plants in each basket up among different containers, but for this one I wanted the visual impact of just one beautiful flower filling the whole container.
Deadheading is the way to keep that visual impact repeating itself throughout the season. I also like to use plants that do not need deadheading, such as Wave petunias or Million Bells in the sun and impatiens in the shade. (Besides, I don’t have time to deadhead ALL my containers!) I have a rose tree on the deck which is a Knockout rose, and those technically do not require deadheading; they will keep blooming even if you do not remove the spent blooms. However, they do look nicer and perform even better if you deadhead them.
The rose tree is the most prominent of my Knockout roses as it’s my tallest plant and it’s right in the middle of the deck. Therefore I like to keep deadheading that, too. So although my goal was just to deadhead the verbena, I went ahead yesterday and deadheaded the rose tree again. Why not? I was there, so were my clippers, and it needed it.
AND I deadheaded and cleaned off the yellowing leaves on my two hibiscus plants on the deck. They don’t require deadheading either, but they look better now. THEN I was done with my little bit of gardening for the day–only half a morning lost in the garden this time.
WA LA! This is what my purple verbena looked like month later: