Removing Blossoms

When removing blossoms to aid plant growth, is it O.K. to cut them off or should they be plicked off by hand?
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On 6/2/2009 4:45 PM, Connecticut wrote:

In general, just cut them off. For low-growing plants with many flowers (e.g., cottage pinks, candytuft), you can even use grass shears.
I know of only one plant in my garden -- Alstroemeria -- for which the recommendation is not to cut but to pull. When a shoot is through blooming, I give it a steady pull (not a sudden tug) and pull the entire shoot out of the ground. Sunset recommends this as something that will promote the growth of new flowering shoots. I experimented with cutting the top off the shoot. The shoot did not grow any side shoots and eventually yellowed and withered. I did indeed get more flowers when I pulled out the old shoots.
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David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
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Rhododendron is another plant for which deadheading by cutting may be disrecommended. In this case the problem is that you can't cut off the flower heads without taking out the new buds.
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Stewart Robert Hinsley

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writes

You can cut off the old flower heads without taking out the new buds, but you do have to be careful, and should use narrow-nose pruners, not regular garden pruners.
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I putter with bonsai style pruners.
Similar to these but no vinyl.
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Bill
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Garden in shade zone 5 S Jersey USA

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On 6/4/2009 5:06 AM, Stewart Robert Hinsley wrote:

Azaleas are a form of rhododendron. I cut the spent flowers off my azaleas along with the terminal growth buds. The branches send out new shoots from dormant buds where leaves are (or were). This makes the plants more bushy.
I'm not familiar with the care of non-azalea rhododendrons. They don't grow well in my climate.
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David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
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How about the Vireya Rhodies? or is it too dry where you are?
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09=IX
Prunedale California
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On 6/5/2009 2:20 PM, Garrapata wrote:

Sunset says Vireyas are for zones 17, 23, 24, and Hawaii. They need a frost-free climate. We consistently get night frosts in the winter, sometimes every night for a week or more. Also, since I'm somewhat inland, the air might be too dry. It's too dry for fuschias.
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David E. Ross
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There are enough buds so that if you carefully cut at the base of the flowers you will not hurt it. But there is an abscission layer just above the buds that breaks cleanly if you bend the stem just below the flowers if you don't want to risk cutting
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09=ix

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I do this with Japanese Anemones when they start to look ratty and go to seed. They break off at the base of the rosette and the roots form new rosettes at the break.
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09=ix

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