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Pinching Flowers and Houseplants

Give ‘em a pinch and make them grow fuller and more compact. You may have received this gardening advice but were a bit uncertain about where and how to make the cut on your plant.

Pinching simply means to remove part of the plant.  This term is usually used with flowers and houseplants.  Some gardeners pinch with their fingers but I prefer sharp garden scissors or hand pruners.

A soft pinch removes just the upper most portion of the stem with developing leaves and the stem tip.  A hard pinch removes the tip and several inches of the leafy stem.

Removing a small or large portion of the growing tip encourages the plant to form more branches and compact growth.

Make your cut just above a set of leaves so the plant remains relatively attractive while you wait for new leaves and stems to grow.  Plus leaving stubs can create entryways for insects and disease.

A bit more information: Pinching just the outer stems on late season perennials can provide multiple benefits.  The pinched stems are shorter, help support the taller stems in the center and bloom a bit later. 

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