Pinching Back Marigolds #448220 - Ask Extension


Pinching Back Marigolds #448220

Asked April 17, 2018, 3:50 PM EDT

I'd like to encourage bushier growth on my marigold seedlings. Some are now several inches in height but no longer growing up straight and are flopping over. I've read that "pinching" them back may help them to grow bushier. I've never done this before. Can you explain how much of the stem to remove? Also a round structure is forming at the top. Is this a flower head? If so should I remove it since I'm at least a month away from transplanting them?

Mahoning County Ohio

Expert Response

Pinching back the tips of marigolds just below the first set of leaves is usually all you need to do and you can do it easily with your fingers or small shears. Marigolds are annuals and will not bloom continually unless you deadhead the flowers. Even so they may not continually flower all season long. You need to pinch off the flower head and the seed pod which will form directly behind the flower. I imagine I would allow the flower you see to develop and bloom and then I would pinch it off when it starts to fade. That way you will know what color you have. You may have started the seeds too early for this Spring and that is why they are getting leggy already. Spring is late this year in my area. You can check on Ohioline and the internet for more info on Marigolds care and culture. Just enter Ohioline marigolds or just enter marigolds on your search engine for more information.
Patricia Smeby_MGV Replied April 19, 2018, 11:38 AM EDT

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