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Cheeky Advice: Pinch Your Mum

Pinch back chrysanthemums to get more blooms later on.

You might think my mother will read this and accuse me of promoting family strife, or that I am being just a little too cheeky. But it was mum who stopped by recently and reminded me to pinch back my chrysanthemums.

Many annuals and tender perennials survived the warm winter this year. Check your pots and gardens since most likely last year's chrysanthemums are growing back. Mine are already quite large. 

Backyard mums will bloom much earlier than those raised in the captivity of a greenhouse. If you would like to delay the display of your mums until August or September, pinching back is crucial. You can also control the shape of your plant by pinching back further on some stems. I like to create a nice round mound.

Pinch the top of each stem down to a node (see pictures). You can use clippers or a . Every stem you pinch will create 2 blossoms instead of one later on in the season. You can pinch again in another few weeks as long as buds have not yet set. Don't pinch any plant where buds have started to grow or you'll get nothing! 

The end of May or early June is a good time to too. Several plants take well to pinching, but usually at the end of April or early May. Pinching can extend bloom time as well. But not all plants are pinch-able. Stay tuned for advice next spring. And don't blame me if this inspires you to pinch a cheek or two — blame spring fever.

Aaron Weintraub June 06, 2012 at 11:30 AM
Thanks Alice! We just moved into a place with outdoor mums and have been struggling to figure out how to treat them. Great tip.
Alice Blair June 06, 2012 at 02:38 PM
Glad to hear it. Enjoy your new home!
Catherine Vega June 06, 2012 at 04:01 PM
Thank you! I was wondering how to get that store look out of my planted mums!

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