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HOW TO: Deadhead Salvia

Updated: Aug 17, 2021

Welcome to the first entry of my HOW TO: series. These articles are designed to be short and sweet with simple instructions on how to accomplish common garden tasks. No longwinded intro stories (LOOKING AT YOU EVERY PINTEREST RECIPE!!!), just useful information. Off we go...

I include salvia in at least sixty percent of my garden designs because it meets many of my clients' needs. Salvia is easy to grow, deer resistant, can withstand a lot of abuse (i.e. poor soil, underwatering, bad attitudes), and has a long blooming season....if you deadhead!

If you have salvia, you know the drill: in the early summer the plant will shoot up beautiful purple or pink spires of densely packed flowers, and the bees and hummingbirds come running. After a few weeks these will flowers fade and a new generation of buds will begin to grow.

Could you leave these dead blooms on your plant? Yes! Nothing incredibly bad will happen. But deadheading does your plant two favors:

1. it looks a lot nicer without the dead flowers hanging around

2. your plant refocuses its energy into creating a second generation of blooms

Deadheading is easy and takes about five minutes per plant. Just go slow- you don't want to accidentally snip a new bloom off. Use my state-of-the-art photos as your guide.

Deadhead your salvia by locating the first set of green leaves beneath the fading flower spire, and snip just above.

See the green leaves directly beneath my scissor blades? I'm cutting just above. Some flower spires have a single stem, others fork into two or three. Snip all that hold dead flowers.

The final product:

How much better does that look?! To paraphrase Princess Jasmine, it looks like a whole new plant. Now I can move on to pulling all those weeds....

Happy 'heading!

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