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How to Deadhead Petunias

By: Jennifer HowellJennifer Howell
Not sure how to deadhead petunias? Jenny shares a few different methods to tidy up your petunias and her favorite tools for the job.

3 Ways to deadhead petunias in summer

Petunias are great for providing summer-long color in the garden, but to keep them blooming their best, be sure to deadhead them. This entails removing spent flowers as they fade. There are a several ways to do this:

1. Remove dead flowers

The simplest method is to just pluck faded blossoms off as they wilt and dry. They pull off easily, and the plant looks cleaner. However, this method leaves the base of the flower, which will continue to form seed. Petunias that are producing seed won't bloom as much, so it may be better to try another method.

deadheading petunias with ring pruners: Ring pruners make deadheading petunias a snap!

2. Snip off petunia flower and stem

A better way to deadhead petunias is to snip off the flower and its stem as close to the branch as possible. You can do this by pinching the stem between your thumb and forefinger. A thumb pruner is a handy tool for this job that slips on your thumb, creating a sharper "thumbnail" to snip the stems. Another great tool to use is a ring pruner (in the photo above), which has a small blade for fine detail work like this.

3. Prune petunias to encourage branching

In midsummer, your petunias may be getting a bit leggy, with a lot of spent blooms that are time-consuming to snip individually. It's a great time to use a pruner or shears and cut back the plant by a third to half. This causes the plant to grow more branches with more flowers for the rest of the season.

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How to deadhead petunias

Published: March 31, 2023

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