Deadheading Columbine, Helitrope & Sweet Alyssum

misspennyMay 20, 2007


These are all new plants to me, I'm assuming that with the Columbine & Helitrope you cut off the spent blooms, what about Sweet Alyssum? Am I doing it right with the Columbine & Helitrope?




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Nancy zone 6

I think you are quite right. Keep in mind that columbine is considered a short lived plant, 3 or 4 years, so you might allow a bit of reseeding to keep a few plants going. Normally though, deadheading will keep its energy longer than normal. That is just a general rule though, because I have some columbines that last longer.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2007 at 7:15AM
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Maryl zone 7a

As Grahm states leaving the seed heads on the Columbine ensures that they will reseed and you will have more for next year. Be aware that Columbines are notoriously promiscuous. If you have different colors or types close to each other you may find a totally different color/form pop up next year when they bloom...The Sweet Alyssum I'm thinking about is an annual, so after it flowers it will die. Again, I let mine reseed around instead of deadheading it. Then next spring I can usually count on it coming up on it's own without having to replant it. That's of course if I didn't disturb the soil around where the plants had been too much. Small seed such as Alyssum and Columbine do best with only a light dusting (if that) of soil over them for germination. Heliotrope is a tender perennial for you (and most of us). I've always cut mine back just because it should bloom most of the summer for me (unlike Alyssum and Columbine which are good only in our cool spring).

    Bookmark   May 20, 2007 at 1:20PM
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I deadhead my columbines as each blossom fades, until the last few, which I leave to go to seed. Otherwise they make way too many seeds for reseeding purposes.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2007 at 6:53PM
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I have the white alyssum and they bloom all summer. When they get too leggy I give them a hair cut. I leave about 1 1/2" or so left of the stems. Keep them watered well and fertilize and you'll get more blooms. The other colors of alyssum seem to die off when the heat hits, but the white ones just keep blooming. Some years they reseed well, others they don't.
Good luck and enjoy!


    Bookmark   May 21, 2007 at 12:03AM
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Thanks everyone,
I will let a save a few columbine seed heads for reseeding and cut the rest. I don't mind other colors really. I actually bought seeds in color mixes as well as a few plants. It sounds as if I would be best srpinkling the rest of the seeds where I would like them in the fall. My seedlings arnt doing to well and I had wondered about that. I also bought the native variety seeds the pretty ones that I see at the state parks, they arn't coming up at all so we'll see what happens with fall planting instead.
Thanks for the alyssum advise as well, I bought one white and one purple mix. I love that sweet smell. I'll let them be for now and cut back later if neded.
I didn't realize Heliotrope was a tender perennial. Hopefully it will survive the winter if not I also bought a packet of seeds yesterday I can try it from seed each year I guess.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2007 at 4:04AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

If you deadhead columbine, will you get more blooms or just cut off the seed capsules?

    Bookmark   May 21, 2007 at 12:12PM
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Miss penny - I've had more luck removing the seedlings from the garden and growing them on in pots until they reach a size where they can fend for themselves. Usually by Fall I can put the seedlings into the garden.
Prairiemoon - My columbines do not develop any more buds on deadheading.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2007 at 1:57PM
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mxk3(Zone 6 SE MI)

Definitely dead-head the Heliotrope, you will get more blooms. Heliotrope is one of my favorite annuals, wouldn't be without it! (and don't forget to stick your nose in it and take in that wonderful fragrance!)

    Bookmark   May 23, 2007 at 1:35PM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

Prairiemoon, it seems to depend on the columbine. McKana's hybrids I can keep blooming for more than 2 months if I keep them deadheaded. OTOH, chrysantha blooms for about 3 weeks no matter what I do.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2007 at 2:44PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA first year with columbine and I am very pleased with them. I was discouraged with the leaf miner I had last year on some plants that hadn't bloomed yet. I saw a post in one of the forums suggesting to cut off any leaves with leaf miners in the fall and get rid of the leaves. Sure enough this spring on the plants I did that to, all the foliage is clean and leaf miner free. So now I am thrilled with them and looking forward to reseeding. I might have a McKana will have to wait to see them all bloom.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2007 at 8:09AM
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I don't deadhead my columbine. I've found that it is a great trade seed. And with close to 75 seeds per pod I get lots even though I only have a few plants.

I was told that they live for 7 years but that the 3 and 4 year at the best year for blooms.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2007 at 10:06AM
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I have collected some seeds from my columbines and had heard that you are to clean the seeds before you store them correct? How do I clean them?

    Bookmark   May 30, 2008 at 1:27PM
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Columbine seeds are already clean when they shake out of the dried pods - you don't have to do anything further prior to storage.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2008 at 1:45PM
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