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 Propagation Questions

Eupatorium serotinum (late boneset) for garden setting, care and propagation
October 27, 2007 - What are the prospects for Eupatorium serotinum in a garden setting? What requirements does the plant have? How large does it grow, etc.
view the full question and answer

Can Gaura coccinea be transplanted
June 14, 2008 - Hello, I had Gaura coccinea growing on my property when I lived in Albuquerque. I have been looking for it for years to plant in my xeric aroma garden. Taking a walk yesterday I found some in a ditch ...
view the full question and answer

Proliferation of Small Palafoxia in Dallas Co. TX
June 07, 2013 - A few years ago I noticed a new wildflower I hadn't seen before in the southwest Dallas County area. I found the name to be Small Palafoxia. It was growing along the edges of HWy 67 in Duncanville ...
view the full question and answer

Problems with Eves necklacepods (Styphnolobium affine)
March 25, 2008 - Mr. S-P, I urgently need your advice regarding two Eve's necklacepods that appear to be dying. They are in two completely different areas of my yard. One began leafing out and then the leaves sh...
view the full question and answer

Protecting agave pups in San Antonio
April 23, 2013 - I would like to share the soon to happen bloom of two century plants on my property; they are sisters planted at the same time. I am sad to know they will die but will do all that I can to protect the...
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