The Q&A Archives: Pinch Dwarf Asters?

Question: In the Spring I planted some dwarf purple asters which grew all summer and bloomed beautifully in the early fall. Can I pinch these several times in spring and summer as I do my mums to promote bushiness and more profuse blooms? They do well left alone since they are a dwarf variety but I am greedy and want the most bang for my care.

Answer: Yes, you can prune for enhanced bloom, although pinching isn't usually done with asters. In my experience it works well to cut the plant back hard or shear it off by about half in late spring. This promotes denser branching and consequently produces more blooms. It also causes the plants to bloom a bit later in the season and in some cases keeps the plants a bit shorter than they would be otherwise. It's especially helpful with the larger asters but works well on the small ones, too.

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