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How to Deadhead Petunias | Endless Summer Blooms!

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Petunias continue to be one of the most popular annual flowers. Learning how to deadhead petunias can pretty much ensure more blooms throughout the summer.

Deadheading petunias means you pinch away the spent flowers. Remove faded blooms once they’ve lost their luster to make room for new blossoms.

Try these easy tips on how to deadhead petunias so you can keep your garden in bloom all season long!

How to Deadhead Petunias - Removing Spent Blooms from Pink Petunias
Deadheading Petunias – Removing Spent Blooms from Pink Petunias in our 2022 garden

When do you deadhead petunias?

Knowing when to deadhead petunias is easy! Check your plants regularly and remove any petunia flowers that no longer look nice. Once they’re done blooming, pinch or cut off the fading or dead petunia blossoms.

Should You Deadhead Petunias?

Most of the time, yes, you should deadhead petunias. Removing spent flowers from your petunia plants allows the plant to direct energy to making more flowers instead of trying to form seeds.

Pink and purple petunias - many flowers become more productive with deadheading.
Pink and purple petunias – many flowers become more productive with deadheading.

Do you have to deadhead petunias?

If you wish to enjoy continually blooming petunias, deadheading is a good idea. Your garden will go on even if you don’t have time to deadhead petunias, but you may not see as many flowers.

It can be a quick and easy task, unless you have hundreds of plants to care for! Either way, try not to lose any sleep if you don’t get around to deadheading petunias in your flowerbeds.

The bottom line – make an effort to deadhead petunias if you can, but it’s okay if you can’t. Most times the worst that will happen is that your petunia plants may not bloom as prolifically or they may remain as green foliage for part of the season.

Do Wave petunias need to be deadheaded?

Unlike traditional petunias, Wave petunias do not need deadheading. These petunias are cultivated to grow beautifully without a ton of extra maintenance. Along with not needing deadheading, Wave petunias also don’t need pruning.

Wave Petunias in shades of pink
Wave Petunias in shades of pink

Where to Deadhead Petunias

When deadheading petunias, pinch the bloom at the base of the flower above the first set of leaves. Remove the spent flower including the sepal / calyx and pedicel. (The often green part of the plant holding the flower and the first bit of stem beneath it.)

How to Deadhead Petunias in Pots, Hanging Baskets, and Gardens

Your process will be about the same whether you are trying to deadhead petunias in hanging baskets, pots, or directly in the ground.

Follow these steps to deadhead petunias:

  1. Locate spent petunia blossoms throughout the garden, hanging basket, or flower pot.
  2. Use your thumb and fingernail to pinch and pull away any faded flowers.
  3. Discard petunia deadheads with your yard waste or compost them.

Figuring out how to deadhead petunias in hanging baskets is basically the same. Check your baskets for spent blossoms anytime you walk by!

Deadheading coral petunias wearing garden gloves
Removing petunia deadheads from lovely coral petunias in our 2022 garden

Deadheading Petunias Tips

Keep these tips in mind to help you keep your petunias in bloom all summer!

  • Scheduling – Sometimes having so many things to do all the time makes it overwhelming to stay on track. Set a calendar reminder for deadheading flowers if it will help you feel more productive.

  • When Walking by – Sometimes scheduling isn’t the answer. Some deadheading is better than no deadheading. Pick a few spent petunias any time you walk by!

  • Get Kids Involved – We are all about getting little hands busy in the garden! Show your kids how to gently snip away dead petunia flowers. Also, let them know they can watch and be proud when new flowers open thanks to their efforts!

  • Seeds Instead – If you do wish to save some petunia seeds, leave some spent flowers attached toward the end of the season.
Gorgeous purple and fuchsia petunias - Cleaning up spent blossoms on petunia flowers is pretty easy!
Gorgeous purple and fuchsia petunias – Cleaning up spent blossoms on petunia flowers is pretty easy!

Deadheading petunias is really simple! Just a few minutes here and there can make a big difference in the number of flowers you can expect.

Feel free to hit us up with questions in the comments or share some tips or discoveries of your own. We always love hearing from you and always respond personally.

Happy Gardening!

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2 Comments

  1. This article about deadheading Petunias is very interesting.

    I have a question about starting a garden from scratch.
    I haven’t had a garden in quite a few years. Because of two meal rods along my spine I haven’t attempted gardening again.
    My mother started many gardens by layering newspapers. I have a lot of brown packing paper. Would the brown packing paper work in the same way that newspapers do. Also I’d like to plant a lot of seeds for my garden. Should I just spread a lot of potting soil on the brown paper and then plant the seeds in the soil?
    Thank you for any help you can give me.
    Warmly, Karen

    1. Hi Karen,
      Thanks so much for stopping by and for your excellent question! So sorry to hear you’ve missed gardening for a bit, although I am confident you can find lots of creative ways to enjoy a garden and many wonderful plants. A lot of gardeners swear by putting down cardboard for a no-dig type garden and then putting soil on top rather than tilling or weeding a whole patch. I do believe your method would work pretty well – I did this with my raised beds, using cardboard instead of brown paper, but directly over the grass and it worked out great. Now in year 2, I am seeing a little grass coming through but I am still very happy with the whole experience so far. I would try a layer of cardboard if you receive any packages in the mail, but if not, try layers of your brown packing paper and see if that does the trick! (Also, I love growing some plants in hanging baskets as well! Even some vegetables and fruits. Feel free to keep us posted!

      Happy Gardening!

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