How to deadhead marigolds in summer and winter?

Marigold is a very attractive flower and when it blooms in bunches it looks great.  Most varieties of marigold form bushes that results in multiple flowers together. These bushes may contain single to even more than 30 branches in a single plant. These branches support the flower growth in the cost of nutrients present in the soil. If your plant is in a small pot then a number of branches directly affects the quality of the flower. So to keep plants healthy especially in summer I prefer to deadhead marigolds.

What is deadheading? Cutting off used or spent flowers and dead and decaying branches is known as Deadheading. Dead branches and spent flowers are not very good to plants growth so removing them is necessary for healthy growth.


Should I deadhead my marigolds?

In nature plants care for them, we don’t need to clean or prune them. But in the home or kitchen garden, the green bushy plant is more favorable.  We all like a fresh look for our plants and being fresh means always new green leaves and bright flowers.

So the question rises- should I deadhead my marigolds?  Yes, you definitely should cut-off all the drying leaves, branches as well as flowers whenever necessary. It will help the plant to grow new branches and new branches mean new flowers. So whenever old flowers start drying and turning brown, deadheading is necessary. If any leaves are curling or wilting then you should cut them off immediately.

Check out our latest post: How to Grow Marigolds?

The ultimate answer to this question

Yes its completely up to you, It will depend on your decision. Many expert debates that is it necessary to deadhead marigold. In my opinion, Deadheading helps me a lot in keeping my garden green since my childhood. So I can say it is a good practice to keep your plants green and healthy by deadheading old and drying flowers and branches.

When Should I deadhead my marigold?

Now that we are aware of the importance of deadheading then it is better to ask when to deadhead marigolds? Deadheading marigold should be done especially in the early morning and late evening when the sun is low. High heat may damage the branches being deadheaded. So it is important to understand that plant should not be placed in direct heat for at least 2-3 days after deadheading. Watering is must to help regrowth of new branches in the marigold plant.

How to Deadhead Marigold?

Deadheading is especially important in summer. It is the time when the plant will have maximum bloom and more flowers mean more dry branches and leaves. Removing them off is necessary for healthy growth. In winter it is not the case but marigold needs deadheading in winter. It is so because flowering is low in winter but plant outgrowth is high. It will gain height with very few branches. To help in new branch growth marigold should be pruned in winter also.

Steps to Deadhead Marigold

Deadheading marigold requires mostly three important steps or just care procedures. First one is for before deadheading then the process of deadheading and aftercare for deadheading marigold. To effectively deadhead your marigolds you need several useful tools or some precise gardening equipment. These tools not only make your job easy but also keeps your garden clean and attractive.

Tools I use to Deadhead marigolds

  • Pair of scissors, especially the small ones. I generally prefer scissors in place of any pruner because marigold is a soft stem plant and a pair of scissors are delicate to them.
  • A sharp Knife, Though Scissors are better but sometimes a good quality sharp knife will do the job for you.
  • A good quality Pruner or cutter, Yes whether you believe it or not a pruner is a perfect tool for cutting of any kind of stems. It is better to use on hardwood stems but you can use it on any plant. If using on marigolds, always take care of the green stems, don’t over prune or cut the branches.
  • Finally, the best tool is always your own- hands. Yes believe it, I prefer pinching individual dead, drying flowers by my hands instead of any mechanical tools.

Steps before Deadheading

It is important to disinfect the tools like a pair of scissors or knife with an appropriate disinfectant before deadheading the plant. Disinfecting the tools help in preventing any kind of fungus or bacterial attacks in your marigold plants. You can use either any chemical disinfectant or any organic fungicide along with sterilizing the tools in boiling water. If you are sure that your tools are free from any fungus or bacteria then you can skip this step (if you wish).

Points to Remember: –

The time of deadheading is very important. You should never prune or deadhead any plant- not only marigold in mid-day or noon time when the sun is high and direct over the heads. This may lead to severe leaf burn and ultimately your plant may degrade. So the best time for pruning any plant is in the evening when the sun has set and the temperature is low.

Related article: How to harvest marigold seeds?

Also, you should not prune or deadhead any of your plant in frost like conditions, especially in the harsh winter season. This is the time when plants are fighting with the climatic condition just to keep alive. If you prune them off probably they will never grow back again.

Steps during Deadheading Marigold

  • Search for flowers and branches that are drying.
  • Check for flowers with dry petals and if the size is reduced and has any brown base leaves.
  • Check for any branches or leaves infected with fungus. This can be identified by irregular leaf shape, curling or wilting of leaves and any white powdery deposit beneath the leaves.
  • Cut off the infected branches from the base node. If will prevent the infection from spreading. Don’t leave the branch intact if multiple signs of infection are identified.
  • Cut the spent flower just below from its two base leaves. This is quite simple and should be done periodically throughout the summer.

Steps after Deadheading Marigold

After deadheading, try to keep the marigold plant in semi-shaded place to prevent the leaves from burning in direct sunlight in the daytime.  Water the plant appropriately to help faster regrowth.

After keeping the plants in shade for a few days you should put them back in direct sunlight. This will initiate faster blooming in marigold as direct sunlight is required for blooming in marigold. In the next few days, your marigold will again full of fresh leaves and new blossoms.

Related Questions: –

you should also read: When do marigolds bloom?

Should you deadhead immediately after planting marigold? It depends whether the plant is big enough to stand to deadhead by itself or not. Generally, the new plant should not be deadheaded, old leaves will dry and shed by themselves and you need not rip them off the plant.

If you are repotting the marigold plant and your plant have some dead branches or old flowers then you should cut them off but with full care. Repotting plant is very stressful for the roots and if you cut or prune the branches unnecessarily then it will create a problem for the plant to grow back again.

Can I plant marigold from deadheaded blossoms? Yes, you definitely can grow new plants if the blossoms you collected were fully mature. This means if the seeds are near black in color at the time of deadheading and flower was drying by itself then it is very likely to grow new healthy plants with these flowers with proper care.

Can I plant marigold from deadheaded branches? No, you certainly shouldn’t use deadheaded branches for growing the marigold. Deadheading is certainly similar to pruning but not the same at all. Dead and decaying branches with any fungus infection are generally deadheaded whereas Pruning is mainly done for fresh green branches good for planting. Branches being Deadheaded are certainly not fit for growing new plants. These are mostly dry branches with the least possibility of healthy growth.

Can I deadhead if my marigold won’t bloom? Yes, you can, sometimes pruning the plant’s help in developing fresh meristems that grow to form new buds. So if your plant is bushy and green but not blooming then you can prune the tips and water it properly. Also, try moving the plant to direct sunlight if possible- It will increase the chances of blooming marigold.

Is Deadheading Necessary for caring Marigold? Yes, it is very important. Deadheading is a part of caring marigold. It not only keeps plant look green but also reduces the unnecessary load for nutrients on the soil by the dead branches and flowers. It is a good and easy way to keep the marigold bush healthy especially the African and Mexican marigolds.

African marigold is very resistant to heat and forms a large number of flowers in summer so these plants require deadheading the most. If you plant African marigolds in your garden or in pots then deadhead is a must for healthy plant growth and should be done periodically.


Hi, My name is Sukant. I am an I.T professional. Gardening for me is not just a hobby, it's a way of living life with nature. My Ancestors were Commercial farmers: So I personally feel attached to the green. I am not an expert, I'm here only to share my gardening experiences. It's always Refreshing.

2 thoughts on “How to deadhead marigolds in summer and winter?

    1. Yes, Pinching in the early days (2nd-3rd month) definitely works in making a bushier plant. But don’t pinch after the buds are ready to bloom. Buds should only be removed if you want a few big blooms instead of many little ones.

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