Should you deadhead tulips? Gardening authority Monty Don has the answers

Are you wondering what to do with your drooping or wilted tulip heads? Monty is here to save the day

 composite image of Monty Don and tulips to share advice on deadheading tulips
(Image credit: Getty Images)

As we head towards the end of the month, many of your wonderful spring florals like tulips may be starting to wither away and lose their petals. If so, Monty Don has some advice for you. 

It doesn't matter what garden trends we're following, if Monty shares his golden wisdom we drop everything and listen. So when he shared what to do with tulips after they flower, we were all ears. 

Whilst you may be hesitant to cut anything off your flowers, the gardening guru is here to say that not only is it okay but it's actually quite beneficial. 

Monty Don's advice on deadheading tulips 

From Monty's bulb lasagne method to his unique lawn 'scratching' advice, there's not much we won't try in our gardens if it's coming from Monty Don. So when we saw in his monthly blog post that he'd offered up his late spring, early summer guidance we had to share. 

He begins his post with a look back on the previous weeks and how the gardens across the nation had responded to the unusual weather. Monty says, "The tulips have been fantastic and all the fruit trees seemed to blossom at once at the end of April spilling into May in a glorious froth of flower."

"In Britain, May is often the most beautiful month because not only does the whole natural world burgeon and blossom but there is a thrilling sense of hope and expansion like a slow and beautiful explosion of life," he continues. 

Whilst we certainly took his compost-making advice, it was his call to deadhead tulips that we paid particular attention to. If you've ever wondered whether you should deadhead your tulips, wonder no more. 

"If you have tulips growing in borders, deadhead them once they are past their best. This will stop the development of seed so that all the energy goes into forming new bulbs for next year’s flowers," explains Monty. 

Similar to what you do with daffodils after flowering or succession planting, one of the benefits of growing tulips and eventually deadheading them is that they will come back the year after just as beautiful. 

deadhead pink tulips

(Image credit: Getty Images)

When it comes to the method of deadheading, it's very different from say how to prune a rose bush. Monty explains, "The best way to deadhead them is simply to snap off the spent flower with the growing seed pod using your fingers." 

The only tools needed are your fingers for this one, however, we would recommend putting on your favourite gardening gloves, just to keep your skin protected from any dirt or pollen left over on the plant. 

Monty goes on to say that you should not cut back the stem or any of the foliage as this will all contribute to the growing bulbs as they slowly die back. 

Homebase Protect & Grip Gardening Gloves: £4 at Homebase 

Homebase Protect & Grip Gardening Gloves: £4 at Homebase 

These gloves are perfect for any garden job you're tackling, they're made from durable materials so they'll last year after year too. Their specialised gripped design is ideal for deadheading plants. 

Once your tulips are deadheaded, why not try out Monty's Chelsea Chop in your garden? You might be surprised just how effective and beneficial it is for your plants. 

Emily Smith
Digital lifestyle writer

Emily joined woman&home as a staff writer after finishing her MA in Magazine Journalism from City University in 2023. After writing various health and news content, she now specialises in lifestyle and home writing where she covers all things cleaning, interiors and homeowning.