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Deadheading rhododendrons

janebaljanebal Posts: 130

When I moved into a new property, my neighbour said I must remember to break off the old flower heads of the 10 different rhododendrons in the garden. Do I really need to do this? Little shoots are already growing at the side of the old flowers. Surely in the wild there is no one to do this so why is it necessary?

Last edited: 15 July 2017 18:45:11


  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 34,739

    you don't have to dead head. As you say, in nature it doesn't happen. But flowers want to set seed and in doing so use up a lot of energy, energy better used in making new shoots.

    I'd carefully snap them of with a thumb and forefinger.

    You garden, your plants, your choice.

  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,700

    It's interesting comments from your neighbour. You should only prune when you want to re-shape it. There's no need to snap flowerheads off.

  • janebaljanebal Posts: 130

    Thank you Hostafan and Borderline - good news. It took me ages to do just one bush and I couldn't face 9 more.

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,353

    If you want them to look tidy, then deadhead Jane. If not, then leave them to their own devices. The dying flowers can look very messy, so it really depends on how much it bothers you! image

    It's easy enough when there's only one or two, but it's a big task if you have a lot. 

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • OvergrowthOvergrowth Posts: 41

    I have to say, I generally do but I have only a couple of Rhododendrons (albeit fairly large ones). I've always been lead to believe it improves flowering the following year as less energy is expended setting seed. . . truth be told, I find it immensely satisfying snapping them off! 

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