To pinch or not to pinch; that is the question

You may or may not have heard the term pinching out when it comes to growing cut flowers.

This involves removing the growing tip of the plant just above a leaf joint (where the leaves join the main stem) by 'pinching' it between your thumb and forefinger. You can use secateurs, but there's something about feeling the connection of your fingers and the plants.

A hand pinching a green shoot between thumb and forefinger just above a leaf node

You might think that it feels a bit brutal.  Your little plant is putting all its energy into growing a flower as quickly as it can so it can reproduce and maintain its lineage and along you come and decapitate it mid-grow.

But what you're doing in this seemingly vicious act is ensuring that the beauty of said little plant and its flowers can be appreciated for that little while longer.  As a reward you get lots more flowers from that one plant!

By pinching out the growing tip you encourage the plant to send out more shoots from below the pinch point.

The result is a bushier, stockier plant with more flower stems and that means a happier flower grower- you!

It is true that by adopting this method you will have to wait a little while longer for your flowers, but your patience is oh so worth it when you're gathering armfuls of flowers and practicing your flower arranging skills to your hearts content.

Its also important to note that the resulting flowers will not be as tall as if you left them to form one single stem (with snapdragons for example), but I personally feel that its worth sacrificing the height for more flowers!

Not all plants respond well to being pinched.

Here are some plants commonly grown for cut flowers that like to be pinched:

Cosmos

Chrysanthemums

Dahlias

Snapdragons

Stocks

Sweetpeas

Zinnias

Peach zinnia flower, pink pom pom dahlia, white cosmos flowers, pink sweetpeas

I've just spent a lovely 20 minutes pinching out all the growing tips of my dahlias,  the rogue sweet peas I forgot to do a couple of weeks ago and the chrysanthemum cuttings I have successfully managed to get to root (for the first time ever I might add!).

So what has this got to do with mindfulness?  This technique teaches us to wait for something better.  It gets us out of the 'must have everything right now' mindset that Amazon prime delivery has made common place and gives us the green light to slow down and know that good things come to those who are willing to show a bit of patience.