*Deadheading refers to the removal of dead or spent flowers either to encourage more flowering or to improve the general appearance of the plant. Most annuals and many perennials will continue to bloom throughout the growing season if deadheaded. Rudbeckia and Echinacea are good examples of perennials that benefit from deadheading.
Deadheading can be accomplished by pruning the spent flowers or even by pinching them off with your fingers. For plants with a profusion of tiny flowers, like threadleaf coreopsis, it is often easier to deadhead by shearing back the whole plant. It will take a little longer to set new flowers, but it will.
Sometimes it seems tedious to deadhead my flowers, but the new blooms make it worth it.
*A hybrid is a cross between two different plant varieties to get the valued attributes of each variety. Hybrids are developed for disease resistance, size, flowering, color, taste and any reason a plant might be considered special. Most modern plants currently on sale are hybrids.
*Perennials are considered to be ornamental plants that are expected to live longer than 2 years. Unlike annual plants that complete their life cycle in 1 growing season and biennials which need 2 growing seasons to mature and go to seed, perennials may go to seed every year and may even die back to the ground at times, but their root systems are very much alive and the plants will continue growing when conditions are right.
This does not mean they live forever. In fact many perennials are considered to be short-lived, lasting only 2-3 years. Rose campion is a short lived perennial, but because it self-seeds so readily, it appears to live much longer.
*A true annual is a plant that completes its life cycle in one year. This means it goes from seed to seed and then dies off, during the course of one growing season. The whole mission of an annual is to produce seed and propagate. That's why deadheading or removing spent flowers before the seed matures, produces more flowers and therefore more potential seed.
· *Full Sun: At least 6 full hours of direct sunlight. Many sun lovers enjoy more than 6 hours per day, but need regular water to endure the heat.
*Soil pH is a measurement of the alkalinity or acidity of soil. pH is measured on a scale of 1-14, with 7 as the neutral mark, anything below 7 considered acidic soil and anything above 7 considered alkaline soil.
Technically, pH is a gauge of the hydrogen-ion concentration in the soil. For the gardener's needs, it is enough to know whether your soil is alkaline or acid because certain nutrients can only be accessed by plants when the soil pH falls into an acceptable range.