How to Trim and Prune to Produce the Best Flowers

Flowering shrubs do not always flower. When they do the output is meager at best. Pruning and trimming your favorite perennial plant can give you the results you desire. It comes down to technique and timing.

Pinching Buds to Create More Flowers

When an annual or non-woody perennial is first planted nip off the very end of each stem between your thumb and forefinger. This will stimulate more flower production when the plant begins to mature. After the plant has grown another few inches and nodes have developed on the stems, complete the pinching, or heading, process again. Nodes are small bumps that indicate where a new branch is starting. Pinch just above nodes that are on the outside of the plant so the new growth will be directed outward.

Choosing How Many Flowers Will Bloom

Once a plant begins to bud, you can choose which results you would like to see. Pinching off all the larger central buds will produce a high number of smaller flowers. Conversely, pinching off all but the larger central buds will produce fewer but more impressive flowers. Once a plant has bloomed and the flowers begin to fade, pinch off all of the remaining flowers. This will cause the plant to flower again during the same blooming season.

It is also possible to control which parts of the plant bloom at what time by staggering the pinching in stages. By pinching every other bud several times throughout the season, a gardener can ensure the plant will flower consistently for months on end.

Preparing for the Next Season

Remove all flowers before they go to seed. Once flowers begin to develop seeds, the plant will not flower again that season. Prune flowering shrubs back by half once they are finished blooming for the season. This will help keep your garden neat in appearance and stimulate more stem and bud growth the following year.

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