Monty Don shares the ‘easiest way’ to keep your flowers alive after summer

Gardening: Expert demonstrates how to deadhead flowers

Dahlias are breathtakingly gorgeous flowers which appear in every colour and are relatively easy to grow. 

They are best planted in a warm part of your garden as they need around six to eight hours of sunlight each day, but will not thrive in very dry conditions so will need to be placed somewhere shady, such as near a fence, shed or building if they are to survive long–term. 

However, gardening expert Monty Don has shared how to keep this pretty flower alive and thriving much longer, as they begin to die during the late summer if not properly maintained, but with the right care, they can continue making your garden look stunning through Autumn. 

In his latest blog post about the best gardening jobs to do this August, Monty said that now is the time to deadhead summer flowers, and explained how to tell when they need to be maintained.  

Monty wrote: “Dahlias will keep producing new flowers well into autumn as long as they are deadheaded regularly.” 

He continued: “The easiest way to tell the difference between a spent flower and an emerging bud is by the shape: buds are invariably rounded whereas a spent flower is pointed and cone-shaped. 

“Always cut back to the next side shoot – even if it means taking a long stem – as this will stimulate new flowers and avoid ugly spikes of stem.”

However, if you do not own dahlias then Monty said that his advice applies to all flowers. 

Monty added: “If you do not have dahlias then deadhead anything and everything daily – nothing else is so effective in keeping summer flowers from lasting as long as possible.”

The simplest method for deadheading flowers is to use your finger and thumb to snap off any faded flowers, but plants with tough or stringy stems may require secateurs, scissors or a knife.

Most flowers do not need a specialised technique to deadhead them, but it is important that you have the correct equipment so you do not damage your plants. 

Deadheading most flowers, including dahlias, should involve only removing the spent flower buds in order to encourage the plant to not waste energy of dying blooms but focus on maintaining the root and flower. 

Erin Benzakein, the author of Floret’s Farm’s Discovering Dahlias, explained: “’Unless you’re leaving seedpods to mature on the plants for breeding purposes or collecting seeds, be sure to remove any spent blooms so that the plants continue to put energy into flower production rather than making seeds. 

“This practice is an important ritual in the cutting garden if you want a steady stream of beautiful blooms for the longest amount of time.” 

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