Don’t Deadhead All Your Roses

Traditional gardeners will often tell you to deadhead all your roses. Many gardeners will zealously deadhead their roses throughout the growing season, no matter what type of rose they are dealing with. But deadheading too zealously can mean that you lose out on rose hips later in the year.

I do deadhead some repeat-flowering shrub roses in my garden to encourage more blooms. And will neaten things up here and there. But most hip producing roses, including the roses with a short bloom period, I leave largely without deadheading.

Here’s what I do instead: Once flowers open fully, have been pollinated, and begin to fade, I collect up most of the petals. This serves several purposes. For one thing, the petals will not look unsightly, and sit around getting soggy and increasing the risk of disease. For another, the petals themselves can also be useful to us.

Some rose petals could be used in edible recipes. But I do not tend to use them in that way. Usually, I will dry the rose petals on a windowsill, and then use them later in the year to make a range of different things. I have added them to bath bombs, for example, and in other decorative ways.

Then, later in the year, we get to enjoy the visual interest (and yield) of rose hips. These are great for birds and other wildlife. And can also be used in a range of different ways.

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