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Aquilegia McKana - deadhead?

Hopefully one of you experts can advise! My Aquilegia McKana were planted last year as bare root and did well. This year the flowers are about 4ft tall and some have gone over with the recent heavy rain. At what point should I deadhead and how? Should I wait until all the petals have dropped, just start dropping, 50% dropped? And do I cut the whole flowering shoot back to the base or just cut off the flowers? Will I get more flowers?  All the videos I have found deal with much smaller varieties that don't look like mine


  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Posts: 11,391
    edited June 2021
    I found dead-heading aquilegias doesn't prolong flowering significantly, and they only bloom once per year, so (IMHO) the best thing to do with them is wait until the last flowers have finished then cut the whole plant (including all leaves) right back to the ground.  They'll then produce fresh new foliage which looks a lot better than the aged and often mildewed old leaves, and which also helps to build the roots up for next year's flowers.
    I do snip off forming seed pods if I notice while passing, mainly to reduce the self-seeding (they can be a bit weed-like in that respect.)
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,419
    You can also do as Bob says before they finish flowering, if they have got bashed about a bit and you're getting fed up of the sight of them.
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,023
    I deadhead when they drop petals, but that's because I don't want too many self seeders and I don't like them being tatty. I take the stem back to the next leaf joint -they often snap off easily with your fingers.
    I also do as @BobTheGardener does though. They can get very mildewy, so when they're finished flowering completely, chopping right back benefits them enormously. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Thanks all, very helpful advice as always
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