Thursday, August 9, 2007

How to Deadhead Petunias and Calla Lilies

I get a fair number of people searching for "how to deadhead petunias" or calla lilies. If I remember way back, I didn't know where to cut the petunia bloom either. So I thought I would do a quick post today about just that.

Many newbies just pull it off like this:

That is not enough. It will soon set seed if you leave the little tube portion that holds the flower.

You need to cut it off behind the green tube portion. I like to use scissors because petunias are sticky.

There. That one looks so much better once all those hanging deadies are gone.

Calla lilies are much easier and quicker. When the flower starts to turn green and fall over like this.........

Just cut it off. I like to go way down the stem into the leaves so none of the stalk is left sticking up.

There you have it. I hope someone who wanders in looking for this finds it useful.


  1. Would you believe, Zoey, that even on TV gardening shows I have heard the 'experts' advise gardeners to simply pull off the flower part of the petunia. I couldn't believe my ears! Do you ever cut your petunias right back to encourage a second flush of flowers, or does it get cold too quickly for that in your area?

  2. I use to deadhead a petunia just by pulling out the dead bloom but in the last few years I snip it off like you showed in the third picture:-) xox

  3. Alice,
    In the past (before the wave petunias) I have given them a drastic cutting back around July 4, just when they start to get leggy. Don't you wonder how some of those "experts" get on gardening shows? LOL.

    Pea, I bet they look better longer now that you have learned the proper way!

  4. Very useful post indeed. I recently read to "pinch petunias regularly," and just following my own instincts, I started deadheading my petunia this way as a result. I was unsure of my technique, and your post confirmed I was doing it correctly. Thanks, as usual.

  5. Thanks for the pics showing exactly how to do it.

  6. Thank You very much for the advice, hopefully my blooms will improve now. Cheers, Bug

  7. Thank you very much - I just didn't know whether I should be deadheading my calla lilies or not. They haven't turned green though the flowers have wilted and crumpled and the stalk is starting to collapse.

  8. Really helpful! Exactly what I was trying to find out :) Thank you

  9. I was looking for the answer to what to do with calla lillies after they finish blooming.
    You answered that question perfectly! and with pictures.

    Thank you!

  10. Thanks.... I have been searching for how to do this for about 30 minutes and couldn't find it explained as well as you did... and with pictures. Thanks!!

  11. Thanks this was very helpful.

  12. Thank you for this helpful post. I have a question about callas - I noticed the past couple of years that mine go to seed (I'd never heard that they should be deadheaded) - but they still bloom the following year. What does deadheading do for callas? (FYI, I leave all of my bulbs, tulips, hyacinth, etc., until all of the leaves have died back on their own and until the stalk just "pops" off...never dig them up, etc. Yes, it looks ugly while everything's dying back, but my circumstances aren't conducive to digging up and replanting every year.) Thanks for any help you can provide on the callas.

  13. LW Moore,
    Deadheading the callas just helps next year's bloom. The plant does not waste energy producing seeds. Even if you don't deadhead them, they will probably bloom the following year. They just might be less than they would have been if you had deadheaded. Also the callas get heavy with the seeds and they drop over which is unsightly.

    Yes, it would be a major pain in the posterior to dig everything up and replant yearly. I don't do that either!

  14. Thank you, Zoey. My callas just went into bloom last week and indeed, only two of the five plants are blooming this year. I will be deadheading this year! And yes, they have very large seed pods and are unsightly. The first time I saw them, I'd hoped I'd be getting more callas in a year or two, but so far, nothing new. ;)

  15. I also thank you for the pics and infor on deadheading petunias. When I get the hanging baskets, they are so pretty, you cant hardly see the leaves for the bloom, but always soon there after, they look so bad. I at first was just pulling the dead bloom, but now am doing it like you suggested, and also fertlizing more. so hopefully this will help also.You sure have a great page on here for advice. thanks so much rh hiners

  16. LW, I bet next year will be much better!

    Anonymous, I am so happy to have been able to help you and I really appreciate you taking a few moments to let me know!

  17. Thanks! My husband and I have been arguing for years on this subject. He thinks if you just pull the flower out a new one will come in its place. Can you refer me to a reliable resource that explains what really happens when you pull the flower but leave the seeds?? Maybe we can finally settle the argument! :)

    Much appreciated!

  18. Thanks so much! Googled and found you!
    Please drop by!

    Laura of Harvest Lane Cottage


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