Deadheading flowers is the process of removing spent blooms from the plant. Deadheading carnations encourages flowering plants to rebloom, as the process of removing the bloom frees up the plant's energy to create new foliage and blooms. Certain varieties of carnations will more readily rebloom than others. In some areas and climates, deadheading can also improve the chances that the carnation plant will come back the following year.
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Clip carnation blooms as soon as they show signs of being spent: wilting, browning, staining or shriveling.
Clip at the first node, under the bloom and right above a new leaf.
Clip carnation blooms where it emerges from the stem for single blooms on long leggy stems. Long leggy clippings might be able to be planted as cuttings to start a new carnation plant, make sure to cut the dead flower off before trying to grow the clipping.
Clip carnation stems lower than the first node if the blooms are well spent and the leaves under the blooms have browned. Clip off all leaves and stems that appear "older" and "spent."
If you miss clipping the blooms immediately, salvage the seeds from the spent carnation blooms. Clip off the blooms early, before they are spent, withered, browning, staining or drooping, to display in a vase.
Always use sharp scissors or sharp pruning shears; dull blades can damage the stems and introduce disease or infection.