The pinch

The term “pinching” hides a very simple gardening technique which consists of pruning the ends of a stem using the fingernails of the thumb and the index finger united in a pinch. But why have to practice this mutilation? What are the interests? Here’s everything you need to know about pinching.

The pinch of a fuchsia
The pinch of a fuchsia

Why pinch plants?

The pinchor reduction of the end of an unlignified stem, is necessary for the branching of certain plants. Without this intervention, the stems would then be long but not very floriferous.

Pincer a rod in a specific place helps guide the flow of sap to forming buds. New stems then develop; the plant will be fuller, more beautiful, and will therefore bear more flowers.

Another type of pinching will be practiced during cultivation to gradually remove faded flowers ; Unable to make seeds and therefore reproduce, the plant will develop new flowers and you will enjoy long-lasting flowering.

Pinching is also commonly practiced in the vegetable garden, where it will be used either to speed up the fruiting process on species requiring a lot of heat (cucurbitaceae) or to maintain good fruit size by pruning so as not to exhaust the plant.

How is pinching done?

We have seen it, the pinching is practiced with a sharp gesture by cutting an end of the non-lignified stem between the nails of the thumb and the index finger.

We pinch usually above a pair of leaves to cause stalks to spring up in their armpits to branch out a subject. Other types of pinching can be carried out: removal of the lateral branches, the lateral stem is then cut at its base to keep only the main stem, or the pinching of faded flowers which consists of pinching just below the receptacle from fleur.

Which plants are affected?

In the ornamental garden:

Many perennials require pinching, including Chrysanthemums, les Asters, Passionflowers. The majority of aromatic plants will also appreciate this treatment: monthly, sage, basil, oregano, lemon verbena or even thyme will be boosted by a correctly done pinch, they will thus produce more leaves.

At the end of spring, certain annuals or biennials will be magnified by this operation: pinch the young subjects petunias, de zinnias, Tagetes or impatiens to branch them out and get fuller plants. Some succulents like sedums or the graptopetalums will benefit from being pinched from time to time.

In the vegetable garden:

The pinching of the tomato remains the most famous act. It is remove side shoots starting between the main stem and the leaves to drain a maximum of sap towards the fruits. At the end of the season we pinch the head above the 4th or 5th bouquet of flowers so that the plant does not produce new fruits which would not have time to ripen and so that it retains its strength for the fruits already present.

The pinch of the melon is also very common. There, it is a question of pinching in several stages the end of the main stems to stimulate the formation of female flowers which will bear fruit.

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Source: Au Jardin, conseils en jardinage by

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