pinch back tips - Knowledgebase Question

Name: Suzanne McCarthy
port charlotte, Fl
Question by psychedelics
June 23, 2010
i received your answer to promote growth on my wave petunias is to prune them and every few weeks i was told to pinch back the tips to promote more growth. do you mean to just take off the dead flowers (dead heading)? what does pinch back the tips mean? how much do i pinch back size wise?

Answer from NGA
June 23, 2010


I know it sounds confusing, but the tips of the stems of your plant is where new growth will emerge. If you pinch back only about a quarter inch of the very tip of the stem you will redirect the plant's energy to the nearest node (leaf scar) on the stem. Two new stems will emerge from near the nodes on the stems. Allow these to grow 3-4 inches long and then pinch out the very tips of these stems. Two more stems will grow, etc., etc. You'll end up with a bushy plant. Once it is full and bushy you can allow the stems to grow 8-10" long before pinching out the tips again. If you're still not sure how to go about this, do a test on just one of the stems. Pinch it back by a quarter of an inch and watch to see what happens. Once you figure out how to guess where new growth will emerge on a stem you'll be able to pinch and prune with confidence. Hope this information helps!

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