Old Wives Tales

Kenneth Hixson khixson@nu-world.com
Wed, 05 May 2004 00:43:14 PDT
Dear Members;
>think removing the seed heads (only) does help many plants. Some 
>plants even die if you let them go to seed. 
	Mostly not bulbs, but my experience:
	Pieris (japonica, etc), lily-of-the-valley shrub, definately performs
much better when deadheaded immediately after flowering.  If deadheaded, each
branch terminal will usually make three or four branches.  If not deadheaded,
often no new branches, or only one.  If you have a Pieris that is thin and
ragged looking, try deadheading.
	Rhododendron racemosum sets an enormous number of flowers, and each
flower becomes a seed pod.  Whole branches die, so you seldom see a plant of
this rhododendron that doesn't have dead branches.  The answer is very
simply take a pair of pruners and cut off most of the previous years' growth
and resulting flowers/seed pods, either during flowering (take them into the 
house for a bouquet) or after the flowers fall.  New growth will normally
than make up for what is pruned off.  You don't need to remove all of the
flowers/seedpods, just most of them.
	Pyracantha, or firethorn bush, does the same thing--branches that have
had masses of berries will usually die back part way, and should be pruned

	I can't give statistics, but lilies (Lilium) which have set a large 
head of seedpods normally do not flower as well the following year.
	It is also worth noting that the common tiger lily, (Lilium lancifolium,
formerly L. tigrinum), is a triploid, does not set seed, but does produce
numerous bulbils in the axils of the leaves.  The diploid forms of L.
are much less vigorous, and produce few or no bulbils.  The triploid form is
seen everywhere, while the diploid forms are only found in the gardens of lily

Ken Z7 western Oregon

More information about the pbs mailing list