Okay, you know all those bushy plants you see in your garden centers? You take them home and the next year they are LAN-KY! One spindly stem with a single flower? Well, I am here to tell you a secret! It doesn't have to be that way.
Most likely the plant you bought was on a chemical product to make it branch and grow bushy. I'm not a chemical girl. The big growers use these chemicals because it is effective and achieves their goal of bushy plants, it is cost effective, and the whole plant is affected, they don't miss any growing tips.
The home gardener can achieve the same results, mechanical.
Pinch, pinch, pinch.
Here in central Wisconsin, you want to pinch back a great long list of plants so when they do bloom you get multiples and bushy plants. I pinch nearly all of the
Plants on this list through at least the third week in June. Some, like goldenrod 'Fireworks' and turtlehead, I continue to pinch into the first couple weeks of July.
Here's the list! Pinch away! You'll see multiple shoots coming from the leaf axials in just a few days to a week of so. You'll be glad you did when you are rewarded with multiple blooms!
Turtlehead - Chelone (all)
Phlox (all with the exception of subulata or creeping phlox)
Beebalm - monarda
Nepeta - catmint
Sedum (can be pinched, but the effect which causes branching changes the basis look of the plant)
Do not pinch lilium species, echinea or coneflowers, liatris, astilbe, daylilies, hosta, geum, and iris.
Trimming back panicum and miscanthus as they start sending up fresh growth can make them denser.
I'm sure there are more that can be added to the "Please Pinch Me" list. Let me know if I missed your favorite!
Click on the picture to view the album of plants in my garden.
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