Pinching, Deadheading, and Pruning

Get more out of your garden by understanding and applying this trio of techniques.

By Oscar H. Will III
Winter 2017

Petunia

Photo by Getty Images/Kudymov

Folks have been messing with plants long enough to have discovered that those very plants might serve human needs better if their physical growth were restricted in a more or less systematic way. In some cases the plants might grow taller, or shorter, or with a different shape; in other cases they might produce more fruit or flowers. Some manipulations are even designed to enhance fruit ripening, or simply to add some visual statement to the plant’s growth habit.



Three of the most common techniques that gardeners use to manipulate their prized flowers, fruits, and vegetables are pinching, pruning, and deadheading. All three of these activities are actually some form of pruning, but each is employed for a specific outcome.