Each summer, flower gardeners dream of ornamental beds that are bursting with seasonal color. While irrigation and the use of fertilizer can help promote bloom, other techniques may also be needed to create truly stunning floral displays. Pinching plants can encourage stronger, bushier growth in many species. Learning how to pinch off flowers in such a way can create a noticeable difference in flower beds and cutting gardens.
How to Trim Flowers
Pinching back plants is often confused with deadheading. While deadheading refers to the removal of spent flower blooms, pinching should occur before the plant has had a chance to flower. The process of pinching plants is relatively simple. Learning how to trim flowers begins with locating the soft growth tip of each plant. Next, gardeners gently remove the stem just above a set of leaves or nodes. This stimulates the plant to begin branching out and produce two new stems. Each of which will ultimately produce flowers.
Chrysanthemums, for example, are pinched several times throughout spring and summer in order to produce the desired shape as well as its signature autumn profusion of blooms. Though many perennials can also be trimmed, annual flowers are among the most common species of plant to be pinched. Some annuals that respond exceptionally well to this technique include coleus, cosmos, snapdragons, and zinnias.
Though pinching back plants does have several benefits, there are also some drawbacks. Each time the plant is pinched, flowering will be delayed by several weeks. This can be especially problematic in regions with short growing seasons. The overall size of each flower may be negatively impacted as well.
Learning how to pinch off flowers is an important aspect of learning to grow an abundant ornamental garden, but not all types of flowers will result in success. Before pinching, it is essential to conduct research as to whether or not the plant can be trimmed. In some cases, pinching flowering plants will result in the complete loss of bloom for the season. Some of the most common examples of flowers which should not be pinched back include cockscomb, scented stocks, and sunflowers.