By Phran Novelli

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The dead of summer is the season of deadheading – that’s the habit of taking off the old flowers from an annual, perennial or shrub as they wither. Why bother?

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Part of it’s purely cosmetic – most plants look prettier without wilted, faded flowers. But the other reason to go around your garden pinching or pruning off the browned blooms is because many plants make new flowers when you take off the old ones.

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Like most living things, plants are programmed to reproduce. By removing flowers before they get the chance to make pods or berries or hips or whatever kind of fruit holds its seeds, the plant tries to make babies by blooming again. That’s how cutting gardens work too; as you snip the roses or zinnias or phlox, the plant makes more flowers because it knows that no seeds were created yet.

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And so, by deadheading spent blooms, you prompt plants into producing more pretty flowers for you to enjoy, as they simply try to reproduce.