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  • Writer's pictureJulia Watson

Pinching Plants to Get More Flowers

Updated: Feb 22

Dahlia bloom
Dahlia 'I'm A Hottie' in our garden

Did you know that you’ll get more blooms from your flowering annuals if you cut off the first, early buds? It sounds like a strange idea, but it’s true. By cutting the center flowering stem, you encourage side shoots that will produce flowers, thus giving you more blooms.

Here are some of the flowers that I pinch:








And here's a list of those that I never pinch, because it won’t increase blooms. Most of these are programmed to produce only one flower or flowering stalk.





Single stem sunflowers

In some flowers (strawflower, for example), you can choose whether to pinch or not. Pinching will give you more blooms, but by not pinching you’ll get one large flower from the center stem. By pinching off side buds, you help the plant channel all its energy into the central flower. This is especially true with heirloom chrysanthemums. Mum growers call this ‘disbudding,’ but it’s the same idea – pinch off buds and the one remaining bud will produce a larger flower.

yellow chrysanthemum
Mum 'Kokka No Waza' in our garden - it's one that I disbud.

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