By the end of
July, our petunias are often looking leggy and unkempt. It's time to
cut them back. Pinching plants isn't a hard job. It should be done in
the morning or in the evening. It's easier on the plants (and you) to
avoid the heat of the day. A sharp pair of office scissors works great.
Petunia stems can
be cut back by up to 1/2 their length. Try to avoid cutting through the
leaves since a leaf cut will burn in the sunlight. As
you are working,
also look for seed pods and cut these off too, even if they have
already opened and released the seeds. (Petunia seeds look like small
poppy seeds.) If there are brown or yellow leaves at the base of the
stem, pull or rub them off as well. See photo below.
The hardest part
about pinching plants is that you will be cutting off the existing
blooms. Encourage your plant to bloom again by fertilizing. Choose a
fertilizer with a high available phosphate percentage (i.e., a high
middle number) such as 9-59-8. I recommend Fertilome Blooming and
Rooting Soluble Plant Food. You can add this to the fertilizer canister
on your irrigation system or use a watering can.
Many other plants
will do well with a trimming including verbena, phlox, coleus and dusty
miller. Dead heading (removing the spent blooms) is all that is
necessary for geraniums, nicotania, calendula and impatiens. If you are
growing herbs, most herbs should not be allowed to bloom at all.
After pruning, you
will be rewarded with a beautiful, more compact and full planter in
about a week. Happy gardening!
tel: (970) 988-3808