|K-State Research and Extension Horticulture Newsletter
Though some garden mums do not require pinching back, most varieties will benefit. Pinching is done by removing the top inch of growth by pinching it between your thumbnail and forefinger. Pinch to just above where a leaf is attached. Pinching encourages lateral buds to break and grow resulting in a shorter, sturdier and fuller plant. The first pinching is usually done when the mums reach six inches in height. A second pinching should be done when the new growth from the previous pinch reaches six to eight inches. Usually that is all we have time for because the last pinch should take place before July 15. Pinching later than that can delay flowering resulting in a shorter time of flowering before frost kills the blooms. (Ward Upham)
Ward Upham runs the Horticulture Response Center in the Department of Horticulture and Natural Resources at Kansas State University. Other contributors include K-State Extension Specialists.