The Q&A Archives: Care for Marguerites

Question: I have several marguerites that look very deadish and leggy. Should I have cut them back in the fall? Can I cut them back now, or will that kill them?

Answer: Whether or not you can do enough pruning or pinching on your marguerites to make a difference in their growth depends on how far the legginess has gone. Keeping a marguerite dense, compact, and bushy is a matter of routine pinching from the first dayand throughout the season, cutting off old blooms and tipping stems that are getting out of bounds . Once woody stems (lots of stem and no foliage at the base) appear, you can cut the stem as far back or into it as there is foliage. Cutting the stem back to where there is no leaf will only result in die back of the stem. New growth will come out from around the leafy joint you cut back to; that still leaves the woody stem without foliage and if the woody stem is a bit too long, you'll still have aleggy plant. Heavy pruning should be done as soon as you see significant new growth. Two options: 1) trash the old plant and buy a fresh plant or 2) cut off 4-6 inches of the tip from each of the leggy stems, making sure that each cutting has some foliage on it, and pot the cuttings up in small pots of seedling mix. These new cuttings will start you on your way with some bushy new plants.

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