How To Deadhead Petunia Flowers

Petunia is among the most popular seasonal flowers for a reason! Young plants are easy to get in the spring at reasonable prices.

They can be grown from available and cheap seeds, bloom all summer, and do not require special conditions, so even beginners can decorate their windowsills and terraces with these heavy bloomers! 

However, if you want the plant to remain in full bloom for the entire season, prepare for a treatment integral to petunia care – deadheading!

Why Do Petunias Need Deadheading?

Petunias are grown in continental climates as annual flowering plants whose life cycle lasts several months, from planting seeds in February indoors and April outdoors until the first frosts when the plant dies due to the cold. 

How To Deadhead Petunia Flowers

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The plant produces its first flowers two months after sowing. Flowering is a sign of maturity, followed by the last stage of seed formation. Trying to provide a new generation, the plant will bloom and, at the same time, form seed pods.

The plant, therefore, redirects its energy to the formation of seeds, which is why the number of new flowers decreases as the season progresses. If you want the plant to continue to bloom profusely, removing the spent flowers is a way to trick the plant and stimulate it to form new buds.

RELATED: Petunia Plant Care

How To Deadhead Petunia Flowers

Removing dead flowers is a simple procedure that does not require particular expertise. However, here are some simple tips that can help you do it right and achieve the best possible effect.

Do Not Cut The New Buds

Petunia trumpet flowers do not last long and, depending on the species, remain open for several days, after which the trumpet closes and shrinks. The flower in the first wilting stage may look like unopened new buds because it still retains its color!

So, carefully check whether it is a new or an old flower, or postpone deadheading until it has withered.

However, don’t wait too long because when the flower’s withering becomes evident, a seed capsule has already formed inside the petioles at the bottom of the flower funnel, and you want to prevent that!

Use Sterile Tools

Although the flower stalks are soft and fragile, and you can break them with your fingers, it is always better to use sterilized scissors or garden shears.

Petunias secrete a gooey material that covers the leaves and stems so the cut parts will stick to your fingers!

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Where to Cut?

The petunia flower grows on short petals that connect to stems at one end and green sepals from which intensely colored petals grow at the other.

When removing dead flowers, you should cut either where the stems and petals are assembled or below them. It is vital to cut the sepals because they hide the flower’s reproductive organs. Removing the fallen petals is unaffected if the cocoon embryo remains in the sepals!

How Often To Deadhead Petunias

Considering that each petunia in the season can produce dozens of flowers that last only a few days, you might think that you have a lot of work to do, especially if you have a lot of plants! But of course, you don’t have to cut every flower as soon as it starts to wilt. 

Make it a point to do this once a week in large plants or every few days if you only have a few plants. If you miss some flowers and manage to form a cocoon with seeds, it’s no big deal – collect the ripe seeds and save them for the next season!

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