Pinching Back or Pruning Chrysanthemums
If you want bigger flowers on you Chrysanthemums or a bushier habit than you will need to prune or ‘Pinch Back’ at the right time of the year. And if you have ever wondered how those great flowers that appear at Chrysanthemum shows are grown, its all about pinching back.
Chrysanthemums are pinched back, or pinched out for two reasons, firstly to maintain a bushy habit, secondly to promote larger flowers.
They a large group of plants, from small bushy cultivars to rather rampant growers, and a few well behaved upright growers as well.
With flowers varying from large open blooms to small round buttons and a color range that uses the whole palette they are often underused in gardens.
You might want to try pinching pack Chrysanthemums to get those exhibition quality flowers, just like the one pictured right.
Or you may simply want to grow a good bunch at home, knowing that every mothers day, these reliable flowering plants will reward you with a great display.
If you want to make the most of these colorful, hardy plants them a few basic tricks can be used.
Pinching Back for Bushy Growth
If you are looking at getting a mass flower display and a bushy habit from your chrysanthemums in the garden then you will need to know a little about pinching them back.
- As chrysanthemums flower in autumn the time to pinch them back is in summer before the buds form.
- A general rule is to pinch back a few weeks after the foliage (vegetative) growth has started.
- Start by reducing each stem to around 15 cm tall, or 6 leaves on a stem, this will provide a good strong base to work from.
- You can use the cuttings for new plants.
- As soon as these stems put on another 15 cm of growth, pinch the top out of these stems, so now we have two sets of 15 cm growth with multiple stems from each.
- Keep this up until the weather begins to turn cool, und once buds begin to set leav e the plants to flower.
Pinching Back for Larger Flowers
If you are looking at getting those large flower heads, exhibition type flowers then things are a little different.
- Start by pinching back to 6 leaves again, the plant will send up new stems and these need to be kept to 3 main stems. Choose the strongest top tree and pinch out the rest.
- A month or two later look for strong healthy leaves on the outside of the stem and cut back the them to maintain height.
- You will need to stake these tall growing stems to prevent damage.
- For larger flowers you want to encourage the pant to put all of its energy into few flowers. So we pinch out the side shoots instead.
- Do this until the plant is about to set buds, then pinch out the very tip of the stem. Wait a while and the plant will set 5 – 6 buds.
- At this stage you have a choice, let the cluster of flowers all bloom, or just go for one large flower.
- Choose the one that is at the top and pinch out the others. Also disbud any that have formed lower on the stem.
- You will get one flower and good foliage beneath it, or if you leave the 5 – 6 buds you will get a spray of medium sized flowers.