Pinch your dahlias for more blooms!
By pinching your dahlia plants early in the growing season you will encourage the plant to branch out and not only make more stems, but longer stems too. And as cut flower growers, we always want nice long stems to work with in our bouquets!
We pinch all of our dahlias, no matter what size or type, but I think it’s especially important for your large Dinnerplate types, (especially like these Cafe Au Laits!). If you’ve grown these varieties before, you know that the central stem of the plant can get BIG! I mean these stems can be like tree trunks by the end of the season, and if you’re hoping to make bouquets or arrangements with your dahlia blooms, you know that a stem with a 4″ diameter is pretty tough to work with. By pinching out that center growing stem, the plant will begin to branch out more all the way around and you’ll get flowers that are more manageable and stems that are longer and not so unwieldly.
The process is simple and I encourage you to not overthink it and to just go for it! We’ve pinched plants when they were small as well as some that somehow had been missed in the field and were already quite large- and they both came through just fine! These are just some general guidelines to follow. If you wait and pinch a plant later in the season, it just means that it might take it a little while longer to bloom., but you’re not going to damage the plant.
How to pinch dahlias:
Wait until your plant is around 12 inches tall
Look for the main, central growing stem
Cut the main stem just above a set of leaves, (these are the pairs of leaves that are growing opposite to each other off the main stem) leaving at least 3 to 4 sets of leaves.
That’s it- it really is that simple! I’ve also made a short video to show you how we do it here on our farm.