Pinching Plants

Pinching the growing tips of certain plants significantly improve their appearance
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The Fuchsias and Coprosmas are actively growing here now, so  it's time to thoroughly pinch them into bushy fullness.   Pinching is something I enjoy doing.  I can walk by a plant and pinch it a bit, no tools required.  This is good because I rarely have the right tool for the job--I've tried digging with Felcos and pruning with a utility knife on occasion, with less than satisfactory results.    Pinching Fuchsias and Coprosmas require only fingertips, so I can always do the job correctly.   Done regularly as the plants grow over the course of a few weeks, it produces satisfying results. 

Each pinch (in the white circles) produced a new pair of stems.  For Fuchsias, the more stems, the more flowers:
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Left to themselves, some plants would be lanky or spindly, but constant grooming every few days when they are growing rapidly at this time of year produces tight globes of foliage.  Then the pinching stops and the Fuchsias are ready to begin producing flowers, while the Coprosmas look beautiful just as they are.  I didn't even recognize the first Coprosma flowers I've ever seen.  At first I thought it was an infestation of small caterpillars, but it turned out to be their highly inconspicuous flowers.  They are thrilled by the rain.

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This Coprosma was a single rooted stem in a 4" pot a few years ago.  It's about 30" (75 cm) tall and wide now after several years of patient pinching. 

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I've been working on this one only since last spring.  Also originally a single stem in a 4" pot:
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Many Pelargoniums also benefit greatly from pinching.  It is a good way to start off a newly rooted cane begonia, and for Chrysanthemums it is a must, though because of the pests Chrysanthemums attract here, I do not even try to grow them.  I also confess to pinching a couple of weed-tree seedlings by the side of the road on our daily walk.  I may be able to transform them into bushy shrubs, given enough time and pinching. 

All the pinching gives me something to do while awaiting the roses.  A few are opening.  They are a bit damaged by the several days of off-and-on rain we've had.

'Ebb Tide' is somewhat soggy:
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'Glamis Castle' looks quite well despite the rain and inevitable Thrips:
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And the rain hasn't damaged Japanese Maple 'Oshio Bene' at all.  It is enjoying all the moisture as it continues to leaf out.  It's about half way though the process now.  
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Comments

  1. Great info...know I know what to do with Coprosma. I love the foliage but the shape of the plant is spindly...why didn't I think to pinch? Maybe because it is a shrub.

    Love your blog; I always liked to read your post on GardenWeb Roses too.

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