A lot of my time spent in maintaining my summer garden is spent in deadheading. So, finding plants that don’t need deadheading to add to my garden beds is something that I am always in search of.
What is deadheading?
Basically, this gardening term refers to the time spent removing old flower blooms to allow the plant to keep blooming longer. Many re-blooming plants will just get more and more untidy and stop flowering if the spent flowers are not removed.
So, deadheading is a garden task that occupies a lot of time for most gardeners. Roses are one plant that needs a lot of deadheading to remove the old blooms so the plant will continue flowering.
Most annuals and many perennials will continue flowering all season long as long as you remember to get rid of of the faded flowers. Deadheading makes for a better looking plant and a longer flowering season.
As the flowers fade away, they begin to form seed heads. This means that the energy of the plant is being spent on the development of seeds, not more flowers. So to direct that energy to blooms, just deadhead!
Plants that don’t need deadheading
As a lazy gardener, the next obvious question is “are there plants that DON’T need deadheading? Yes, there are. Some of these plants are called “self cleaning” plants. They will continue to flower even if you don’t remove the old blooms.
A few are low maintenance that need to be tidied up occasionally, but give masses of color for the time spent. Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy my gallery of plants that don’t need deadheading.
The seed heads remain on this plant right into fall. Since the seed heads are attractive in their own right, many gardeners allow them to remain on the plant right through the winter months and only prune the plant back in the early spring.
Joe Pye Weed
This popular perennial plant that attracts butterflies like made actually used to really be a weed. The cultivars are less invasive and very pretty. The mop head flowers appear in early fall and there is no need to deadhead them. Hardy in zones 4-8.
If you want lots of butterflies in your garden, plant Joe Pye Weed.
This pretty annual plant cleans itself by dropping the flower heads below. The plant will continue to flower all summer long with no extra work from you spent removing it’s pretty blooms.
Also known as Leopard plant, ligularia need lots of moisture, so be prepared to water it or having it growing as a pond plant. If you have the conditions it needs, it will reward you with stunning flowers that multiply quickly. Hardy in zones 5-8.
Ligularia is a perennial that is happiest when grown as a shade plant.
Baptisia Australis have lovely violet blue flowers. The have quite a long bloom time in early summer but if you leave the flowers on the plant, they will form into purple pods that rattle in the wind and have interest on their own.
Both the tall flower stalks and the graceful foliage of astilbe is attractive in the garden. The flower stalks sit well above the foliage and will continue sending shoots upwards for many weeks. The older flower stems dry into pretty plums that look nice in the garden, so there is no need to remove them.
New Guinea Impatiens
This pretty annual has a self cleaning habit, so there is no need to remove the old blooms to keep the color coming all summer long. This larger version of the impatiens family has both colorful leaves and larger flowers than the normal annual impatiens.
Almost all types of begonias keep themselves clean and re-blooming by dropping the old blooms. This goes for the common wax begonia, angel wing begonias, and tuberous begonias as well. This amazing angel wing begonia has been going strong for me for months, with no sign of slowing down, and no deadheading!
This pretty plant forms clumps of low growing mounds that are just covered in flowers. The plant is self cleaning, so you don’t need to deadhead the old flowers.
These colorful plants are butterfly magnets. You will need to water and fertilize to keep them blooming but deadheading is not required.
Calibrachoa has the common name million bells, which gives a hint to it’s lack of a need to be deadheaded. After all, a plant can’t have a million bells if the gardener has to be deadheading all the time can it? This pretty plant looks like mini petunias and attracts both butterflies and hummingbirds.
This self cleaning plant has dead foliage that dries up and disappears. It comes in many different colors.
This pretty perennial is also known as Russian Sage. The plant is hardy in zones 5-9 and has lovely soft gray leaves which contrast beautifully with the pastel or purple flowers. The flowers are long lasting and you can enjoy them for months without deadheading.
Like it’s larger cousin, the New Guinea impatins, the smaller regular varieties of impatiens clean themselves and don’t need you to do the work of removing the flowers.
Plants that require Light deadheading
Some plants flower well all summer long but can be even more spectacular if you do a bit of light deadheading. Black Eyed Susans and Purple Coneflowers will bloom all season long but will look more tidy if the spent blooms are removed occasionally. Here are a few more:
Geranium flowers are super long lasting. They grow on long stalks that just keep blooming over a long period of time. Each big flower head has masses of smaller flowers on it. When the petals have completely finished opening it is very easy to just snip off the whole stem.
While not 100% deadheading free, wave petunias drop most of their flowers below and continue to bloom. Even though they do require a tiny bit of maintenance, their long lasting color is totally worth a bit of extra tending.
Even though peonies only bloom for a short period of time, the wait is so worth it! Their fragrance is welcomed in any neighborhood in late spring.
After the plant blooms, it sets seed pods. Unless they are very heavy and weigh the plant down, you don’t need to remove them. The flowers will still remain attractive. Light pruning will make the plant look even better, though. This perennial is hardy in zones 3-8.
This is not by any means the only list of plants that don’t need deadheading to stay pretty all summer long. To find others, look for words like these on the plant labels:
- low maintenance
- self cleaning
- no deadheading required
- little care needed
For more lovely flowers be sure to check out my Flowers Board on Pinterest.
If you would like to be reminded of this list of plants that don’t need deadheading, be sure to pin this to one of your gardening Boards on Pinterest so that you can easily find it later.
Admin Note: This post first appeared on the blog in July of 2017. I have updated it to include new plants as well as a video to enjoy.
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small commission from the sale, but the price is the same for you. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."