Thursday, December 06, 2007

New question: seedheads

Mary's wondering what to do with her Black Eyed Susans:
I love the seed heads, like black q-tips as I look out onto the garden through the winter...must I remove these, 'cuz I sure don't want to. Since I don't remove, is this making for less than FABULOUS flowers? I also think they just need to be thinnned by ripping out some here and there and planting down the street in a wasteland? Yes?
Deadheading during the bloom season may make the plant bloom (even) longer. Cutting off the last of the flowers before seeds form may make it more vigorous next year - it takes plant energy to make seeds. But at this point, they're dormant.

Reasons you might want to remove them: to stop them from seeding in all over the place; for neatness; to do some work now that you don't feel like doing in spring. But you don't want to - for the reason that you want to look at them (this is an even better reason than "don't feel like it," and that's legimate, too).

You can rip some out and throw them in your wasteland down the street - we call that dividing, and it will make your planting more vigorous. Spring or fall would be best, but as you may recall, I took my black-eyed-susans out of your garden in July and left them in my hot car before planting them. They still bloomed till Thanksgiving that same year.

In nature, the only seedhead removal that happens is whatever the birds eat, plus whatever dries up and blows away between now and spring. I hope this makes you feel better about doing nothing - often a fine choice.

p.s. I think it's fine to post questions in comments. I'm pulling them into a new post to answer, for folks who don't read down to the last drop in the land of comments.


Andrea said...

Sara - I find your website very interesting! I do much better with silk plants, although the remembering to dust them part I'm not too good at! Call me black-thumb! I'll live vicariously through you (and Mary!).

SaraGardens said...

Andrea, I'm so glad you're visiting! I doubt you're a black-thumb... I think Carter and Olivia are probably keeping you plenty busy. (Maybe Carter can help dust the silk plants... and maybe in another couple of years, he and Olivia can help in the garden, too!)

Anonymous said...

LOVE what you're doing here, congrats on getting it going! Ever-so-readable and helpful, not to mention entertaining. I'll have questions for sure when I pull my head out of the 'launch-my-own-new-website-with-a-race" hole that it's currently buried in. All the best to you and yours, and very sorry to read about your dog :(.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Informative and interesting. Please publish more.

Prior deletion due to spelling mistake. Sorry!

SaraGardens said...

Thanks, Oliver - I'm going to take you up on it and post more, so please drop in again. (And you never need to apologize for correcting spelling with me!) Love the tractor, by the way.