The Q&A Archives: Fuller Plants

Question: Three years ago I planted three Erigeron. The first year they became well established and last year bloomed well but were leggy and floppy. Right now the plants are about 10-12" high. What type of pruning/pinching back can I do to encourage fuller, bushier plants?

Answer: Erigeron, or Fleabane, can grow to 36" tall and about 18" wide. The plants should be deadheaded regularly, taking some of the stems down as you remove the spent flowers. This will help reduce the height of the plant and keep it neater in appearance. As you do so, you'll be encouraging new stems to grow below the cuts. Since it's early in the season, you can safely pinch out the growing tips of your plants to encourage a bushy habit, but keep in mind that the ultimate height of your plant will be close to 3'. If you cut it back continually to keep it in bounds, you'll be reducing the number of blossoms it will be able to produce. Erigeron should be divided every three years. In the autumn all of the stems and foliage should be cut down to the ground, and the roots dug and divided. Next spring the plants will be smaller and will require less summertime maintenance to keep them neat.

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