By G. Bosley  a.k.a.  “groundhog”

Do you have fall blooming garden mums growing in your garden?  These plants can often become tall and floppy by the time they bloom, to prevent this give your mums a pinch.

When the stems are 6″ to 8″ tall pinch them back to about 4″.  Pinching back means cutting off the top of the stem by 3″ or 4″ to a set of leaves.  Pinch as close to the leaves as you can where they meet the stem.  If you pinch higher on the stem above the leaves, that piece of stem will dry out and die, turning brown and not being very attractive in the garden.  Pinching back will slow the upward growth of the plant and cause it to branch out more for a bushier plant.  When these new side shoots develop 8 leaves you can pinch them back again leaving 4 leaves on the stem.

This pinching back will create a dense, well-branched mound that will produce a beautiful show of blooms in the fall.  Do not pinch your mums after the first of July or you may be removing some of the developing flower buds.  If you are unable to pinch your plants back before July 1st, no problem, they will still bloom this fall.  Next year you can try pinching back for a more compact plant.

I welcome your comments.

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