The Q&A Archives: Pinching Back

Question: I have started Sweet Peas and Painted Daisies and I would like to know if I should pinch them back to force side shoots? If so when and at what height should this be done?

Answer: You can pinch back painted daisies (Pyrethrum) when they are young, to encourage side branches and a bushy shape. Don't pinch back after late spring/early summer, because you may pinch off flower buds. Sweet peas, on the other hand, are climbers. I've never pinched mine back, since I like to encourage them to grow tall on my trellis. I suppose you could pinch them back to a node to encourage side shoots, but this might delay flowering a little, and since they prefer cool temps and die back once the heat of summer arrives, I'd probably leave them alone and get the earliest flowering possible.

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