Do you deadhead Salvias?

Yes, you should deadhead salvias to make sure that they look bushy and also if you want to make sure that they focus their energy on giving you a lot of new flowers over a longer period of time. Deadheading is not essential and If you don’t deadhead your plant it will move into seed producing phase and its blooms will wilt. These seeds can be very good for birds and pollinators and the seed heads can also look attractive so you can even go about without deadheading salvias.

When to deadhead Salvias?: Timing

You should deadhead salvias when the first bloom has faded and flowers have started to wilt and become brown which is usually in the middle of summer. Fading of colors of the bloom starts from the stalks at the bottom and goes upwards through the stems to the tips which are the last to fade When 70 to 80 % of flowers have died or have faded then your salvia is past its prime and it is time to deadhead the plant by removing that particular flowering stem.

Timing of deadheading salvias is important if you deadhead them early then your flowers will only last a couple of weeks at the most while if you wait and deadhead them after the flowers have started to wilt then the new flowers which you will get will bloom for more than double your normal blooming period.

You should also make sure to deadhead salvias just before winter so that when they come back in fall they come back stronger. Also, make sure that you don’t cut salvias in autumn even though they might start looking bare in winter

How to deadhead Salvias Step by Step

Step 1: Arrange Your Tools

The first step of deadheading salvias is to make sure that you have the right tools which in this case is a sharp and clean shear for pruning. Your shear needs to be sharp in order to make sure the time taken is shorter as dull shear will take a longer time also a blunt instrument can cause damage while the shear needs to be clean to prevent infecting the plant. As a best practice make sure your shear is clean by using a mixture of a tablespoon of bleach along with two cups of water and spraying it on both sides of the shear. If you don’t have bleach available you can use other cleaning agents like rubbing alcohol that can help disinfect your shear.

Step 2: Find the fading Salvia flower stalk

During the middle of summer find the stalk of salvia flower stalk that has started to fade and turn brown and see if 70 to 80% of the flowers on that stalk have also turned brown if so then it is time to cut back that stem as it is done and deadheading that stem will redirect the energy of the plant into making more flowers.

Step 3: Deadhead and cut back the Salvia Flowering Stem

To Deadhead the salvia plant take out the salvia stem that had flowers that had turned brown and faded and find the highest point where this stem meets the leaves on the salvia plant and cut the spent stem on the same point with your clean shears this will make sure that new growth of the plant will happen from the same point. Salvia plants have a central stem that is surrounded by other flowering stems and your goal should be just to remove the stem where flowers have spent. The whole idea of deadheading is to remove the dead flowers and the stem carrying them so that it encourages the plant to refocus its energy on growing new flowers and new growth.

Step 4: Post Deadheading Add Fertilizer

The first step after deadheading the plant is to add more fertilizer and organic mulch to the plant in order to encourage new growth . If you get deadheading right and you add fertilizer then you should be able to get one more cycle of new flower growth with the plant. If you grow salvia plants in pots or containers then it is even more essential to feed your plant with a liquid fertilizer diet that is rich in potassium in the middle of summer after deadheading.

How Many Times Should You Deadhead Salvias?

You should deadhead salvias at least once and ideally two times during the year but there is no limit to the number of times you can deadhead salvias. Whenever you see that your blooms are looking faded or your flowers are wilted you should deadhead your salvias even though that may mean you are deadheading your salvias every couple of weeks.

When do salvias bloom

Salvias start to bloom in the middle of the summer in May and June and if you deadhead them at the right time will continue to bloom throughout the summer.

How long do salvias bloom

If you deadhead salvias correctly salvias can continue blooming for 5 months from May to September with some varieties going up to November. Most Salvias bloom for 5 to 6 weeks during summer and also bloom twice during their growing season if you don’t deadhead them by deadheading them correctly you can increase the number of times they bloom and the period of time they bloom.


  1. It is important to Deadhead the salvia plant so as to encourage it to focus its energy on growing new flowers and if you don’t do it plant will go into the seed production phase.
  2. Ideally, make sure that you deadhead the salvia plant at least two times a year.
  3. You should deadhead the plant during the middle of summer when the first bloom of flowers on the salvia plant has started to fade.
  4. To deadhead the plant identify the stem where at least 70 to 80% of flowers have faded and then make use of kitchen shears that are sharp and clean and cut at the point where the spent flowering stem meets with the highest set of leaves on the plant

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By Pete