The Q&A Archives: Pinching Back Petunia Seedlings

Question: Last year my petunias became very leggy before I got them planted outdoors. I understand I should have pinched them back to make them more bushy. When and where do I pinch? Also what other plants benefit from pinching back?


You can pinch back your petunias seedlings after they've developed 2-3 sets of true leaves. After pinching out the very tip of a stem, growth hormones will be redirected to lower leaf nodes. New shoots will develop beneath the current leaves, and the leaves will drop off to make room for the new shoots. Waiting until the new stems elongate enough to produce several sets of new leaves before pinching again will provide additional nodes from which new shoots can develop. Pansies, petunias, impatiens, and fuchsias all benefit from pinching back in the early spring to encourage bushy plants with many flowering stems

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