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Best Tools for Deadheading

By: Sherri RibbeySherri Ribbey
Discover the best tools for deadheading, keeping new blooms coming and helping plants look their best.

Best tools for deadheading

Find the best tool for deadheading flowers

If you've spent even 15 minutes deadheading in an afternoon, you know that it can be repetitive and tedious work. Matching the right sized tool to the job can make a huge difference and prevent frustration (and hack jobs!). Here are a few of our favorite tools for deadheading and the situations in which to use them.

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deadheading a flower with garden snips: Use snips to get into tight spaces where you want to remove one spent stem among others that are still blooming.

Garden Snips

Snips are great for detail work in tight spots or cutting a handful of slender stems all at once.

When to use garden snips

Use the narrow blades of a pair of snips to get in between foliage and stems to remove a spent bloom from among several fresh ones, as with annual salvia (Salvia farinacea) or the black eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida) above. The center blooms fade first so if you cut that out of the center, the fresher side stems will take off more quickly and look better without the faded one nearby.

Snips we recommend

Fiskars Micro-Tip Pruning Snips
Mueller UltraPrecise Garden Snip
Fiskars Garden Herb Snip


guide-to-deadheading-perennials-pv2r: As pulmonaria flowers fade, stems lean toward the ground. That's a good time to grab a handful and cut them off with scissors.

Garden Scissors or Shears

Scissors aren't just for your kitchen or craft room. Be sure to have a pair handy in the garden and you'll find all kinds of ways to use them.

When to use garden shears

Garden scissors are a good bet when snips are too small for the job. They can still fit in tight spots but have longer blades and a bit more heft. They're perfect for cutting a handful of slender stems all at once like when pulmonaria (Pulmonaria spp. and hybrids) or yarrow (Achillea spp. and hybrids) are done blooming.

Scissors we recommend

LIVINGO Multipurpose Heavy Duty Scissors
CastleGreens Plant Scissors


Deadheading bearded iris with pruners: Bearded iris blooms are staggered along the stem and fade at different times. Cut off the spent ones so they don't detract from the show.

Pruners

If you have a pair of pruners in your pocket, you can tackle almost any deadheading job in the garden.

When to use pruners

Though pruners can deadhead just about any plant, they really come in handy when you want to cut thick or woody stems. They're a great solution for the pithy stems of bearded iris (Iris hybrids) or tough coneflowers (Echinacea spp. and hybrids).

Pruners we recommend for deadheading

FELCO Classic Manual Hand Pruner
Mueller Soft Grip Garden Pruning Shears
gonicc Professional Rotating Bypass Pruning Shears


Using hedge shears to deadhead coreopsis: Hedge shears are a great way to cut off a lot of stems all at once.

Hedge shears

Sometimes you want to give an entire plant a haircut without needing to be careful about where the cuts happen.

When to use hedge shears

When you're in a hurry with lots of stems to cut, hedge shears make quick work of a plant, such as the big leaf coreopsis (C. grandiflora) above. Even better, you can tidy up perennials like threadleaf coreopsis (Coreopsis verticillata) that have hundreds of spent blooms on slender stems — it would take forever to cut them individually! Just be sure to trim the sides lower than the center to keep its mounded shape.

Hedge shears we recommend

Fiskars Powergear2 Hedge Shears
Tabor Tools Telescopic Hedge Shears
ARS Professional Hedge Shears

Published: July 20, 2022
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Product Recommendations

Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work in the garden. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality.

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