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Dahlias Seeds

Maximizing Crop Yield

In the world of gardening and farming, maximizing crop yield is a top priority for growers. While traditional methods focus on soil health, watering schedules, and fertilization, there's another technique that can significantly boost your harvest: pinching and using the cuttings. Let's delve into the art of pinching and using cuttings to unlock the full potential of your crops and extend the growing season.

Understanding Pinching

Pinching is a simple yet effective technique that involves removing the growing tip or terminal bud of a plant. By doing so, you encourage lateral growth and branching, resulting in bushier, more prolific plants. Pinching is commonly used on herbs, vegetables, and flowering plants to promote fuller foliage, more abundant blooms, and increased fruit production. When harvesting it is also wise to cut stems deep. By cutting stems closer to the base of the plant, growers can access the portion of the stem that is typically longer and straighter, providing a more elegant and graceful appearance in arrangements. This practice also encourages the plant to produce new growth from lower nodes, promoting bushier and healthier growth overall.

Pinching is most often done on flowering annuals with branching forms. If you are unsure then watching how the plant develops can give you a good clue as to wheather it will respond well to pinching or not.. If the plant naturally branches then it should respond will.  Pinching is also done in some flowers to produce larger blooms on roses, dahlias, peonies, and chrysanthemums. Pinch off most flower buds, and the remaining flowers will be larger.

Benefits of Pinching:

  1. Increased Yield: By encouraging lateral growth, pinching stimulates the production of additional stems, flowers, and fruits, ultimately leading to a higher yield per plant.

  2. Improved Aesthetic Appeal: Pinching creates a more compact and well-balanced plant structure, enhancing its overall appearance and making it more visually appealing in the garden or landscape.

  3. Extended Harvest: Pinching can help stagger the harvest by promoting continuous flower or fruit production, extending the harvesting period and ensuring a more prolonged supply of fresh produce or blooms.

  4. Healthier Plants: Removing the terminal bud redirects the plant's energy from vertical growth to lateral growth, resulting in stronger stems, increased nutrient uptake, and improved overall plant health.

Antirrhinum Appleblossom Eeeds
Zinnia seeds
Dahlias Cafe Au Lait
Strawflower seeds
Growing Crysanthemums

It is also important to know which flowers can and can not be pinched. Some of the most popular pinched flowers: 

Zinnias are versatile annuals prized for their vibrant colours and long-lasting blooms. Pinching zinnias helps produce bushier plants with more flowers. Pinch off the growing tips of young zinnia plants when they are 6-8 inches tall to encourage lateral growth and a profusion of blooms. Repeat the pinching process throughout the growing season for continuous flowering.

Dahlias are prized for their showy flowers in a wide range of colours, shapes, and sizes. Pinching dahlias promotes bushier growth and more flower production. Pinch out the growing tips of young dahlia plants when they have produced three sets of leaves to encourage branching and the development of multiple flower stems. Regular pinching will result in abundant blooms that last well into the fall. Deep harvesting will also result in longer stems. 

Salvia with its spikes of colourful flowers, is a popular choice for borders, containers, and pollinator gardens. Pinching salvia encourages branching and leads to more flowers. Pinch back the growing tips of young salvia plants when they are 4-6 inches tall to promote bushier growth and a longer blooming period. Deadhead spent flowers regularly to encourage continuous flowering.

Snapdragons are known for their tall spikes of colourful, snap-like flowers. Pinching snapdragon plants encourages branching and results in more flower spikes. Pinch off the growing tips of young snapdragon plants when they are 4-6 inches tall to promote bushier growth and a profusion of blooms.

Celosia are prized for their unique flower heads and vibrant colours. Pinching pluming celosia plants encourages branching and leads to more flower production. Pinch off the growing tips of young celosia plants when they are 4-6 inches tall to promote bushier growth and a continuous display of blooms.

Cosmos are beloved for their delicate, daisy-like flowers and fern-like foliage. Pinching cosmos plants encourages branching and results in more flower stems. Pinch off the growing tips of young cosmos plants when they are 6-8 inches tall to promote bushier growth and a profusion of blooms.

Strawflowers are known for their papery, straw-like petals and long-lasting blooms, making them excellent candidates for drying. Pinching strawflower plants encourages branching and results in more flower stems. Pinch off the growing tips of young strawflower plants when they are 6-8 inches tall to promote bushier growth and a profusion of blooms. Regular pinching throughout the growing season will help maintain a compact, dense habit and prolong the flowering period.

Chrysanthemums Pinching helps prevent them from becoming tall and leggy, promoting a more compact and well-branched form. It also stimulates the development of additional flower buds, leading to a more abundant display of blooms when the plants eventually flower.

Other flowers which will benefit from Pinching: 

Ageratum, Amaranth, Anemone,Ccalendula, Carnation, gomphrena, marigold, phlox, ssweet peas and sunflowers (branching varieties).

Using Pinchings to Multiply Plants

Instead of throwing away your pinchings it is possible in some cases to root these cuttings very successfully. Sweetpeas, crysanthemums and snapdragons are particularly good for this. 

Read the guide to Taking Sweet pea cuttings. 

Plants which should not be pinched

Bulbs such as alliums, Tulips & Daffs, Statice, Ammi, Daucus Carota, Foxgloves, Delphiniums, Ranunculus, Matthiola, Cynoglossum. 

Pinching and using the cuttings are valuable techniques for maximizing crop yield, promoting healthier plants, and extending the growing season. Whether you're growing herbs, vegetables, or ornamental plants, incorporating these practices into your gardening routine can lead to a more abundant harvest. 

Statice seeds
Ammi Seeds
Foxglove seeds
Cynoglossum Seeds
Matthiola Seeds
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