When it comes to summer flowers, both annuals and perennials need maintenance.
Not too many gardeners like to deadhead flowers but it is beneficial to the plant. Annuals (flowers planted each spring like marigolds, snapdragons and begonias) and perennials (flowers that return each spring like daylilies, hostas and asters) need to have all the dead or spent flowers removed.
It looks better and removes dead, limp, brown, droopy blooms.
Deadhead tall flowers that sit atop a long, slender stems by cutting the stems at the base of the plant. Trim bushy plants with many small flowers with hand-held grass trimmers or small hedge clippers.
Trim the whole plant at once, even if there are some nice flowers, rather than trying to trim one flower at a time. Deadhead other plants by simply snapping or pinching off the flowers with your fingers, or cut them with hand pruners, knife or scissors.
Annuals or perennials that have dying, brown or ragged foliage should be cut back one-third to one-half. Do this either when the plant has stopped blooming or starts to look ratty. They'll usually send out a new flush of healthy, fresh foliage and flowers, or, a re-bloom.
Email your gardening questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail your questions to Sarah Fernandez, c/o Quincy Herald-Whig, 130 S. Fifth, Quincy, IL 62301.