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'Pinching out' Fuchsias & Sweet Peas

"Pinching out" is really just a fancy name for pruning fuchsias and sweet peas when the stems are young and thin. It's called pinching out because it can be done with your fingernails.

Most varieties of fuchsia, if left to their own devices, tend to sprawl with long stems. As the stems grow longer the number of leaf nodes also decrease in frequency.

Pinching out the growing tip after allowing 2 or 3 pairs of leaves to fully expand will force the plant to put more effort into growing the two side shoots from the set of leaves just below where you pinched out. So now you will have two stems growing at full steam in place of just one which will result in a much bushier plant and one with more flowers.

You will probably need to do this a couple of times, towards the end of April, and middle of May, then you can expect have a nicely formed, bushy plant with plenty of flowers.

Sweet Peas should be pinched out when the main stem reaches anything between 4 and 8 inches (10-20cm), and with sweet peas, when they are on flower, the more blooms you cut, the more they will grow!

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Oliver Hayes

Garden Centre Manager

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