Picking and deadheading flowers


Learn how to pick flowers carefully for a display inside. Learn to recognise when a flower has finished flowering and how to remove it to encourage more flowers.

  • Estimated time: 30 minutes
  • Location: Outdoors
  • School term: Late Spring, Early Summer, Late Summer
  • Level of experience: No experience needed
  • Subject(s): Science, Art&DT

Learning objectives

  • Be able to pick flowers carefully.
  • Know when to dead-head old flowers to encourage new blooms.


Check there are flowers in the garden that are ready to pick or in need of dead heading.


  • Scissors
  • String 
  • Bucket with water
  • Trugs/ buckets for dead heading
  • Gloves, especially when cutting flowers with sappy stems such as daffodils or tulips.

Step by step

  1. Show the pupils a flower that is ready for picking, then one that is too young, a bud, and one that has gone over, so they are sure of all the stages of a flower’s development.
  2. Using scissors, carefully cut off the flowers for picking, follow the flower stem back to the point where it joins the main stem and cut there.  This ensures the flower comes with the longest stem possible, for arranging in a vase.
  3. Place the cut flowers straight into a bucket of water to keep them fresh.
  4. Dead heading: look for old flowers, the petals will appear old and faded and may show the beginning of the fruit or seed pod.
  5. Using scissors, cut off the old flowers, cutting back to where the flowering stem meets the main stem. Be careful not to cut off any young buds.
  6. Collect the old flowers and put them on the compost heap.
  7. Take cut flower stems inside for arranging in a vase or tie in bunches for sale.  Repeat every few days to encourage further flowering.

Hints & tips

  • Faded flowers often show the beginning of the seed pod. Flower buds can also look like seed pods – point out the difference so pupils don’t cut off the buds by mistake.
  • With small flowers ‘pinch off’ the old flower heads with your finger and thumb.
  • Use this activity as part of Flower Power class growing topic.

We've won awards!

Winner of the Drum Marketing Awards 2017
Winner of the ERA 2017 awards
Winner of the Third Sector 2017 awards