En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
4 ratings

Sunday - July 13, 2008

From: Bellevue, OH
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Non-Natives, Propagation, Pruning, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Deadheading a petunia and why
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Can you please tell me the correct way to de-head a petunia and why?

ANSWER:

Petunias are highly hybridized for color, shape and height, so they're not in our Native Plant Database. However, we can tell you that deadheading an annual plant such as petunias will help to encourage more bloom. The whole point to having an annual is to have a long blooming season, and then the plant dies and is discarded. A plant's goal in life is to reproduce itself. In order to do that, it must produce seeds. In order to do that, it must flower. If, as soon as a flower has faded, you snip it off, the plant will immediately try to flower again. There is no point in trying to gather seed from a hybridized plant such as a petunia, because it will rarely breed true from seed. Besides, petunia seeds are like dust, and very difficult to gather, store and germinate. You can, of course, just pinch the spent blossom off with your fingers, but we always preferred some sharp snips or garden scissors, and snipped off the stem above the next leaf.

For more general information on petunias, read this University of Minnesota Extension article by Deborah Brown on Growing Petunias.

 

More Pruning Questions

Trimming live oaks in Mamou LA
August 24, 2009 - We have 3 large Live Oak trees in our yard. The problem we are having is when we trim a branch off so we can walk under the branch, the whole branch dies back. Is there a certain way to trim the limbs...
view the full question and answer

Mimosa shape
November 27, 2007 - I planted a summer chocolate mimosa, and although it has bloomed lovely foliage, it has two main branches growing in a vee shape. Is this normal? Do I need to do anything to spur the growth in a more ...
view the full question and answer

Live oaks lifting up sidewalks in Palm Coast FL
December 12, 2013 - My live oak trees roots are lifting up my side walks. Can I cut just the roots that are causing the problem without hurting the trees? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

What to do with bloom stalk on yucca
June 08, 2008 - Six years ago, I dug up two small narrow-leaf yuccas from a deer lease outside of Junction, Texas. I planted them in a raised bed in my yard and the smaller of the two survived and grew. To my surpris...
view the full question and answer

Non-native Podocarpus macrophyllus in Ft Worth TX
November 12, 2011 - I know this question does not pertain to a native plant but I've spent too much time not finding an answer to my question. I have many mature Podocarpus macrophyllus bushes at my house I purchased in...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center