Petunia – Deadheading

Q: We have some old-fashioned reseeding petunias from the home of my great-grandmother. They’ve bloomed there since my father was a child. I know that in order to keep petunias blooming, you should remove faded flowers. I’m afraid if I deadhead these flowers, they will not be able to reseed. What should I do? Deadhead or not?

A: Your intuition is absolutely correct. Hasty deadheading would remove the seed pods beneath the flowers. However, failing to deadhead would greatly reduce the number of flowers you get. One idea would be to deadhead just half of the flowers every three weeks. That should give enough time for seeds to develop in some of the pods. Once a pod has turned brown and started to crack, crush it into an envelope, where you can store the seed while they continue drying. Scatter the tiny seed onto warm soft soil early next May. Leave some pods on the original plants and they should reseed as they always have.

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