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Fall Dead-heading: And Winter Pot Pourri

Sounds brutal, but dead-heading is important for promoting new growth.

The autumnal equinox occurs during the third week of September. It is the time when the sun crosses the equator making day and night of equal length on all points of the earth. After the equinox in Autumn, the days grow shorter.

In September we stop fertilizing plants, but we continue dead heading our fall bloomers, as we want flowers to continue coming until frost.

The purpose of cutting off the spent flowers is so the plant won’t produce seeds.

How It Works

Once seeds are set, a plant shuts down because it has completed its primary purpose, which is to reproduce itself. When we dead head we snip the spent flower off right above a leaf axil where the top most leaves join the flower’s stem.

When dead heading roses, cut just above a group of 5 leaves on the stem, as this stimulates the development of new growth.

Pot Pourri

Carry a bucket around the garden to collect the flower heads as you cut them off the plants.

Then set the bucket of spent flowers in a cool dry spot out of the sun and when the flowers are completely dry, place them in an airtight container and add some fixative such as arris root to which you have added a few drops of perfumed essential oil available at hobby shops.

Your pot pourri will be then ready to use this winter.

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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