July 31, 2010
An often overlooked part of gardening both indoors and outdoors is pinching back. This is a very easy to do bit of plant maintenance that can give you healthier and bushier plants. Unlike cutting back very little plant material is removed by a simple pinching motion removing the shoot apex (arrow). This sends the growth hormone auxin to the axially buds located in the Y formation between stem and leaves. As these secondary branches grow the shoot apex at the end can also pinched back to create a nice full, bushy plant rather than a tall, leggy one. The method is used on soft stem plants like chrysanthemums, basil, mints, coleus and similar types of plants including tomatoes. The more pinching back you do the bushier the plant so don't forget to do a bit of pinching back!