Pruning Tickseed

Tickseed plants make a beautiful and colorful addition to any garden. Although they don’t require much maintenance to stay healthy, your plant should definitely be pruned to maintain its appearance and produce more blooms. Deheading or cutting back tickseeds will work to lengthen their overall blooming period so you can get more flowers out of your plant.

Even though tickseeds typically have a compact habit, growing no more than 2 feet high, they can become overgrown, which will affect the appearance of your plant. In this case, shearing back a few inches can keep the plant tidy. We recommend leaving the spent foliage in place over winter to insulate the crown during cold temperatures.


When to Prune Tickseed

The best time of year to prune your tickseed will highly depend on what you’re trying to achieve. If you want to boost the number of blooms, you should be deheading faded blooms on a regular basis throughout the summertime. Spent blooms can drain energy from your tickseed, reducing the reserves for further blooming. Pruning regularly will also improve the chances of possible reblooming in the fall.

Early spring is the time to remove any over-wintered foliage and stems before your tickseed’s new growth cycle. If you have a large-flowered tickseed, multiple flower buds may grow from a single stem. Remove the entire stem once the flowers have faded. If you have a thread leaf tickseed, shear back the plant by about half of its size after the first flush of flowers.


Why Prune Tickseed

The main reason you need to prune is to encourage continuous blooming. As mentioned, leaving spent blooms on your plant will make it difficult for new blooms to form. The plant will focus its energy on producing seeds instead of more blooms. Deadhead frequently to prolong the bloom period. 

Furthermore, you will need to cut your plant down to approximately 6 inches from the ground when frost occurs during autumn. Remove spent foliage, but leave some stems to help keep the crown safe during winter.


How to Prune Tickseed

Step 1 - Remove spent flowers to boost blooms.

Deadheading can encourage your plant to continue blooming. Use a pair of pruning shears to snip each flower stalk at its base on the main stem.

Step 2 - Cut back overgrown plants.

Plants in part shade can become leggy. To address this, shear the plant back to a couple of inches above the ground. Make sure to leave enough growth to protect the crown.

Step 3 - Prepare tickseed for winter.

When frost arrives in autumn, it’s time to cut back your plant to about 6 inches from the ground. Be sure to leave stems near the crown as they will help protect your plant during harsh, low temperatures.

Tickseed Pruning Tips

  • Keep plant deadheaded
  • Prioritize maintenance pruning to avoid an overgrown tickseed
  • Cut your plant back to 6 inches above the ground when frost arrives in autumn
  • Leave stems around the crown to protect during winter


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Author Chris Link - Published 07-26-2022