Really tired of deadheading...any annuals you don't have to?

prairiemoon2 z6 MAAugust 2, 2007


This year, We may have a few more containers than usual and a few different annuals than usual and we are constantly deadheading. I used to like deadheading. 'Used to' being the operative words. lol

I love containers of plants all summer but I really don't like to deadhead any more, or to look at ugly plants with dead flowers on them. I did have three pots that have been easy so far.

Dahlias. I tried them for the first time this year with tubers from Brent and Becky's. Easy as pie. Keep blooming. Once in awhile I cut off a bloom.

A pot of Nierembergia Purple Robe with Four OClocks that haven't started blooming yet. Also, Four OClocks with deadheading.

I have a shade container with begonias, NG impatiens, four oclocks with nasturtium and very little deadheading. I pull some dying flowers off the impatiens once in awhile, but the flowers last a long time.

But..I have three pots with petunias in them. Petunias and annual small daisies, can't think of the name of and white, annual dianthus, lantana with coleus and lobelia. It was a very pretty pot, but the lobelia got fried when we were slow to water one week. The daisies are always needing something clipped. The petunias are the worst. Not only deadheading every day, but I hate the stickiness of it and now there is some rusty colored small beetle that comes out at night and is making the blossoms look like swiss cheese. The annual dianthus did nothing all season and when it does bloom, it lasts a day and has to be taken off. Lantana wasn't bad, deadheading but not all the time.

I have portulaca in the ground and believe it or not, I didn't know you didn't have to deadhead and I used to do that. This year I had 2 six packs in the ground and just could not deadhead and discovered they bloom every day full and pretty any way.

I grew 2 large pots of Nicotiana this year for the first time. They were interesting to grow and the fragrance at night is great, but they are always dropping dead spent flowers and then I cut back all the bases so they won't go to seed. Plus the foliage is so delicate, I am always breaking leaves when I deadhead. It's not on my list for next year.

There must be something else that doesn't need deadheading?

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lindac(Iowa Z 5/4)

Bacopa, calibrachoa, gerbera daisy need deadheading but it's really easy.
Use scissors on the petunias...hust hold out the trailing branch and snip off the flowers...
Sweet alyssum...but it does need shearing midseason.
Look at it this way...when you have to deadhead it means you had flowers.
Linda C

    Bookmark   August 3, 2007 at 10:43AM
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mxk3(Zone 6 SE MI)

I actually started growing more foliage plants in containers. I'll be the first to admit I HATE watering and I also don't like to deadhead, and the foliage plants are pretty low maintenance in this regard. Yes, they still need to be watered, but not as much as annuals, it seems. Anyway, I like elephant ears (lots of interesting cultivars!), ferns, rodgersia, but really the possibilities abound, just use your imigination. I have a few pots where I tuck in a couple annuals just for a little pop of color (I have a large clay urn of Black Stem elephant ears underplanted with a few purpley-pink impatiens - have gotten so many compliments on that one!).

I do still plant some annuals, but I'm all about low maintenance, too. Here are my favorites:

* Impatiens: A little water greedy, but no deadheading.

* New Guinea Impatiens (no deadheading)

* Browallia (no deadheading)

* Vinca (no deadheading and if I forget to water they really don't care much).

* Heliotrope (only a little deadheading, the flowers heads are large and last a long time, so it's not a constant process).

I also am a huge fan of geraniums - nothing more classic than a simple clay pot with a large geranium in it. They are also pretty drought-resistant, and I find just one plant makes a good impact. Do have to deadhead, though, but the heads are large and not a lot of them, so it's a not a constant process.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2007 at 11:54AM
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Crazy_Gardener(Z2b AB Canada)

Amaranthus caudatus Velvet Curtains and other A. varieties are pretty fuss free.

I don't mind deadheading, it's wonderful therapy ;)


    Bookmark   August 3, 2007 at 3:29PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Linda...I haven't grown gerbera daisy or bacopa...what do you mean by the deadheading is easy?

mxk3....what a good idea with the foliage plants! I hadn't thought of that at all and I could cut down the deadheading quite a bit that way. Add some annuals for color and a lot less work.

I always deadhead the NG impatiens, do they just fall off if you don't? I like them bc they don't need deadheading too often because the flowers last so long.

I look for Browalia every year, but they never have any. I tried some from seed one year and they were impossibly slow to start growing and when they finally bloomed they didn't look like I remember Browalia years ago with large blue flowers. These were these tiny blue flowers that were not very noticeable. Are Browalia sun/shade/part shade? are so right. This was the first year I didn't have those. Another plant slow to grow from seed and expensive at the nursery. Maybe I should try starting them from seed any way.

Geraniums are pretty and you don't need a lot. Could put those in a pot with foliage plants.
All great ideas! :-)

Sharon...That might be a good candidate for a container, but I would have to cut off before they went to seed, because pulling out a zillion seedlings isn't a good trade off to me. [g]

    Bookmark   August 3, 2007 at 4:59PM
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mxk3(Zone 6 SE MI)

Nope, I never dead-head New Guinea impatiens.

I find browallia easy to get started from seed, but they are a little slow under the lights in the house. Once planted outside, though, they take off. The flowers aren't large like a New Guinea, but they're not small, either. They are smaller than the size of a regular impatiens flower but not by much. Best location is part-shade. I get the seeds from Stokes Seeds. Oh, the really dark ones don't show up much in the shade, that's true; for that reason I prefer the medium or lighter ones.

Re: Heliotrope from seed: I've tried, and its a slooooooow process. I don't even bother anymore, I just buy them. I buy about 4-5 plants a season, so that's not too expensive (well, it kind of is, but I'd have to run the light stand so long in the house that I'd be paying that much in electricity anyway....). I just never got mine full and bushy like I get at the nursery. Maybe taking cuttings would work better, I'm not sure, never tried that.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2007 at 10:41AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Ok, I will have to see if I can go without deadheading the NG impatiens the rest of the summer.

I just can't do a light set up in the house so they either get winter sown, or spring sown outdoors. Is that going to work for me? Have you noticed when your Browallia blooms when you start them February, I am guessing?

I agree, on the Heliotrope. Much more reasonable to purchase and just get less than you want. [g] I wonder if you can buy them in the spring and take cuttings to increase them for other pots? Is that what you meant? I have tried taking cuttings and overwintering them with no luck at all. Not even

    Bookmark   August 4, 2007 at 11:42AM
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ellen_s(z5 centralMA)

I really like the Calibrachoa, which has small petunia-like flowers. They bloom all summer and are self-cleaning...
Also, Million Bells doesn't need as much deadheading as the regular Petunia - which I agree is tedious if you have a lot of them!

My Profusion Zinnia is looking excellent in pots and requires only very minimal deadheading...

    Bookmark   September 5, 2007 at 10:07AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Thanks Ellen :-) I thought the Million Bells were self cleaning. I have one plant in the ground in a full sun bed and haven't had to pay any attention to it all season. I will be trying to use it in pots next year. That profusion zinnia is recommended a lot, I didn't know it didn't need deadheading.


    Bookmark   September 5, 2007 at 11:21AM
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I plant a lot of begonias and they work well in a lot of ways (no deadheading, they are hardy and fill out very nicely). I like to plants shades of red, pink and white and they are very showy this time of year. They are just a nice all-around flower. Plant more of these!

    Bookmark   September 6, 2007 at 3:02PM
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If there were no deadheading needed, I probably wouldn't be as interested in the plant! I love to fuss, and pull off dried/yellowing leaves, and dead head. That's my time (in addition to the watering and weeding) to spend unwinding from the day, for me it's like therapy. But on the other hand it can be time consuming if there's too much of it to do (and I get real cranky when I see the need to clean up my containers/garden but don't have the time).

This year I grew a sweet little plant called gypsophilia (miniature baby's breath), and only periodically ran my hands over the mound to shake out the seed and bugs (aphids, although it didn't appear the bugs slowed the plants at all). Then I got to them a day late with the watering can and they looked a bit fried, so I took my scissors and sheared them back by half, fertilized and was faithful to future waterings and within 10 days they were well on their way to being covered with little pinky/purple flowers again.

Another colorful addition to your containers that need little care and are not bothered by any bugs (in my zone 3 area anyway) is coleus. Such an array of designs and colours, and the colour is there right away when you plant. On the seed grown ones you would need to periodically pinch off their flower spikes, but the work involved is minimal compared to deadheading petunias!

~ k ~

    Bookmark   September 6, 2007 at 8:47PM
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Well I love to deadhead, because I love to keep everything flowering! However the only one I've never ever had to deadhead is Profusion Zinnias....the flowers last a LONG time before they begin to fade, and even when they do fade and finally turn a buff beige (chocolate center) they still are gorgeous!
They didn't start blooming until July 15th.....

and here they still are looking terrific on August 20th...

As of September 8th I only have a few of the first ones beginning to fade.


    Bookmark   September 9, 2007 at 2:06PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

flwrchild...I do love begonias and I have many places that they will work in because I have a lot of part shade and shade. I haven't used them in awhile because I did them so much I needed something new. It has been a very long time though, so I think I wax begonias could please me again. I am thinking of doing a grouping of plain clay pots near one of my doorways next year. Pinks and whites. Thanks for that reminder.

kioni....I used to be exactly that way, but...time marches on and like many other gardeners my age, the muscles don't want to cooperate. :-) Your baby's breath sounds sweet and easy. I am already a coleus fan. They are great and I enjoy finding a new variety each year.

vera.....profusion zinnia. I have not tried those yet. I think someone else mentioned those to me and I am planning on trying them next year. Thanks for the thumbs up and the nice photos. :-)

Thanks for all the ideas! :-)

    Bookmark   September 9, 2007 at 5:24PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Just wanted to let you know that I started off deadheading the lantana in my front yard and decided to see what would happen if I didn't deadhead on one of them. After a month, they were both blooming the same amount and about the same size, so I stopped deadheading both of them and they have never been out of bloom all season and really can barely tell where the seed heads are. They look great without deadheading.


    Bookmark   October 1, 2007 at 4:13PM
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tom8olvr(Z5 MA)

I start all of my annuals from seed. If you can find ones (if you are buying plants or seeds) look for ones that don't form seed (are sterile) if possible. There quite a few choices out there.

Sounds like your happy with your Begonias, 4 o'clocks, imps, etc. but need something to replace your petunias? I'm assuming get a fair amount of sun... Petunias get ratty by nature after a while anyway...

And Niccotina - ? I'm in MA too, and that stuff reseeded itself and I had a hell of a time getting rid of it! Smells fab, looks beautiful, but OYE! It never goes away!

I tried growing Dragon Wing begonias from seed the first time this year and - Woa! NO dead heading (they're sterile)... hardly watered them, took abuse from my dogs - squirrels, etc. And I recommend them highly. They're awesome!!!! It's october - and they're still going STRONG.

There are (I'm going to use the M word) Marigolds out there that are quite nice and sterile (won't form seeds) I believe they're a triploid.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   October 4, 2007 at 3:14PM
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Try Angelonia serena. This is the first year i tried them
and they will be in my garden next year.they come in white ,purple , pink. and bloom all summer long. Parks seed co Have them.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2007 at 7:06PM
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