Garden Scissors for Pruning and Deadheading

One of my early morning rituals as a gardener is deadheading flowering plants. I've often advocated this practice in several deadheading entries in this blog.

Deadheading involves cutting or removing spent blooms and this seemingly triggers the plant to produce more blooms. There's a better scientific explanation for this phenomenon, but suffice it to say that deadheading flowers puts the plant into a panic mode.

Flowers, through pollination, eventually become fruits and that's where seeds come from. Seeds are nature's way of propagating plants, ensuring survival of their species.

When flowers are deadheaded, naturally, there won't be fruits to produce seeds. And when plants sense that flowers disappear, they produce more flowers.

Basically, it's as simple as that.

Problems with Regular Pruning Shears

A favorite flowering shrub in our home is the Rose Cactus or Pereskia bleo. It flowers all through the year and deadheading the shrub ensures it has new blooms everyday. The flowers are bright orange during the hot dry season and become pink orange during the rainy season. A few friends have taken notice and commented how they admire the flowers.

Deadheading the rose cactus flowers isn't easy though with a regular pruning shear.

  1. Flower buds tend to grow in small clusters.

    A branch would produce about 3 to 5 flower buds, and each would bloom at different times. Typically, the flower buds will be close to each other. A regular pruning shear is able to cut a spent bloom, but because of the size of the blades, it could knock out or even inadvertently cut nearby flower buds. You could deadhead the spent flowers by twisting the bloom and pulling it outwards, but your fingers could also knock off the flower buds in the process.

  2. Avoiding thorns and branches.

    In spite of its bright pretty flowers, the Rose Cactus is notorious for its needle-like thorns, and it's one reason other gardeners wouldn't grow it. The Rose Cactus grows branches rather easily and could grow numerous branches, if not regularly pruned. Each thorn node along the stem is a potential branch. With a regular pruning shear, you'd have to be skillful and careful enough to maneuver the pruning shear around the thorny branches or your skin would be caught by the needle-like thorns.

    Be sure to take precautions when throwing pruned branches. Here's a tip to dispose the thorny plant stems and branches.

Deadheading Flowers with Cheap Garden Scissors

The picture below shows a pair of pruning garden scissors I bought from ACE Hardware.

It's inexpensive at Php159.75 with a 10% discount. As you can see, the garden scissors extends my height (just a little bit, though) when reaching for the topmost spent flowers. The blades are thin enough not to disturb the nearby flower buds on the same branch, thus ensuring new blooms in the next few days. Deadheading the Rose Cactus spent blooms with the garden scissors is more precise.

The scissors allow you to remove the part of the flower that becomes a fruit pod. Deadheading by pinching with the fingers sometimes leaves this fruit pod on the stem.

Because of its long slender body, the pruning garden scissors also allow you to get through the branches without having to pull other branches aside. You won't be able to do this with the regular-sized pruning shears without getting your arm pricked by the thorns.

Other Uses for the Gardening Scissors

Other than deadheading, the gardening scissors is useful for pruning adventitious growth buds as shown below.

As mentioned, this shrub is capable of growing numerous branches and cutting off these young growths prevent unwieldy branching. I've used this garden scissor for thin twigs and it's sharp enough to cut those too. I'd rather reserve this garden tool though for soft stems and flowers, so as not to lose its sharpness.

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