Pinching back a basket, is it worth it?

kristinlpMay 29, 2008

I live outside of Chicago, and every year I think about pinching back my baskets; but I'm so afraid that my plants will not spring back fast enough to make it worth while. So I watch them grow unkempt and long and I always end the summer disappointed with them. If I prune, will they have time to grow back?

I have 4 baskets this year (will post pics later):

2 baskets have: Fusion impatiens (leggy when I bought them), Nemisia, Diascias, Sweet Alyssum, Thyme, and a Begonia.

The other 2 baskets have: Begonia, Large Bacopa and Torenia

Which of these will benefit from pinching during a very short season?

As I've been reading about my plants, I'm concerned that that Begonia is not a good combination in either basket, since it likes less water. Should I move them in their own container?

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jenny_in_se_pa(USDA7 Sunset 32)

Hi kristinlp - I haven't done mixed baskets in awhile, although I have grown most of the plants you mention in window boxes... But from my experience, I think a good rule of thumb is to prune about 1/3rd to keep the flower mound shape. All of them will respond by eventually branching and if you don't wait too late, the basket should continually fill in again until frost... particularly if you are fertilizing. Some of the plants will take a break from bloom though if it gets too hot, but will bloom again as it cools (e.g., they alyssum). The begonia is an interesting one as it seems to be more versatile and tolerant of a wide range of conditions (blooming in sun or shade, and in dry or somewhat damp conditions, although too wet and they may become mush) and that is probably why it was in the 2 sets of baskets.

The thyme and alyssum are creepers so those will stay low. Of course you could use the thyme prunings for cooking!

Look forward to seeing some pics!

    Bookmark   June 21, 2008 at 12:05PM
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with all of my baskets i do regular pruning.... i never cut everything back at once... as i don't want to ruin the show...... however i am out there every weekend hacking back something.... usually i will chop 1/3 of the stems back then wait.... make sure it regrows.... then do more.... :) i wish i knew how to post pics on here.... otherwise i would show you what i have done.

good luck :)

    Bookmark   June 25, 2008 at 6:20AM
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How about cutting some of it back as soon as you plant?

    Bookmark   November 18, 2008 at 7:36PM
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