How to pinch dahlias for more flowers

How to pinch dahlias for more flowers

Did you know that you can get more flowers out of your dahlias without planting more? 

Dahlias have a branching  form, and the practice of pinching encourages them to produce more branches at the base, which increases the total number of flowering stems. 

In this blog I’ll break down what pinching is and its pros and cons (mostly pros, I promise ).

Additionally, I’ll share a quick video on how to do it and give you a list of other flowers that benefit from pinching!

It’s less scary than you think!  And you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results. Are you ready to learn? Let’s get started! 🌼🌸


What is pinching? 

Pinching plants refers to the practice of manually removing the tips of a plant's new growth. This is typically done by using your fingers or pruning shears to pinch off a portion of the stem, just above a leaf node. By doing this, you remove the growing tip and encourage the plant to branch out and produce more lateral shoots.


Why  you should do it:

Dahlias can get top heavy, especially the varieties with large flower heads. Pinching will encourage a bushier plant that will help support the heavy blooms with a sturdier base. Pinching low on the plant will also encourage longer stems if you want to cut the flowers for bouquets.


How it’s done: 

Wait until the dahlias have developed at least three to four sets of leaves and are between 6-12 inches tall. Count 3 sets of leaves from the bottom and pinch  or cut  the central stalk of the plant above the 3rd set of leaves. You can use your fingers or a set of snips to do it.



Note: Pinching when the plants are younger/ shorter is best. As dahlias grow larger they develop hollow stems. When you pinch that hollow stem you leave an opening that can invite insect pests or allow water inside the stem which can rot the tuber. 

If you missed the window to pinch your dahlias, don’t worry - you can still get a bushy plant and long stems!  

When you cut your first flower, cut the stem down low leaving only 3-4 sets of leaves on the bottom (just as you would with pinching). This will signal the plant to grow new branches from the bottom of the plant. Yes, you will inevitably cut off some developing buds by doing that, but it will pay off in the end when new stems develop!

Also, consider just pinching half of your plants to stagger blooming times. The unpinched plants will bloom sooner followed by the pinched plants.

Don’t be intimidated by pinching your dahlias! You will be rewarded with more blooms and sturdier plants. 



  • More Flowers
  • Bushier plants
  • Sturdier plants
  • Longer stems 


  • Delays flowering


Other flowers to pinch:

  • Zinnias
  • Cosmos
  • Celosia
  • Snapdragons
  • Mums
  • Marigolds


Do not pinch flowers that produce just one flower per plant, such as single-stemmed sunflowers and stock.

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