The Art of Pinching to Increase Harvest

Want to triple your harvest of cut flowers? Then you need to learn the art of pinching.

Pinching is nicer way of saying “hack off the top of your healthy young plants.” Basically, you wait until your young plants are 8-12 inches tall then cut them down by 3-4 inches.


I didn’t want to do it either. You know how long I waited to get my plants that tall?!

Here are THREE reasons to pinch young plants:

  1. Pinching encourages branching. So instead of that single snapdragon stem, your plant will make 3-4 usable stems.
  2. Pinching encourages taller stems for cutting. Taller stems are better for floral design work.
  3. Pinching increases the amount of usable stems. This relates to plants that get really beefy stems that are too thick to use in floral design arrangements. Pinching those monsters (think dahlias) will result in more stems that are ALSO a more reasonable thickness.

Even with all those reasons to pinch, I was still scared to do it. It feels very counter-intuitive to behead your young healthy plant babies.

However, I forced myself to do it on at least half my snapdragons to observe the results for myself.

My non-pinched snaps bloomed weeks sooner than the pinched stems, but my pinched plants have triple the amount of stems per plant.

Do note that you do NOT want to pinch a single stem blooming plant like your typical sunflower or stock.

Reserve pinching for branching varieties such as; snapdragons, dahlias, sweet peas, zinnias etc.

Erinn from Floret Farm has an awesome free video tutorial that shows how to pinch some of the common cut flower garden varieties. Check it out here.

As always, thanks for stopping by my little website. I spend days putting together posts that will help you have an abundant cutting garden or farm of your own. I am usually being crawled all over by my two rascally kids as I write and edit my posts. I’m also usually keeping said kids from eating dirt while I get some photos of the grow space. You can probably relate to the struggle! If you found this post useful, please comment below. It is encouraging to hear from you and it gives my website a boost on the Google search engines! I hope you will follow along on Instagram where I bear my soul on all the struggles and successes related to growing cut flowers. Happy Flower Farming!