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Pinching Coleus

Pinching some annuals and tender perennials makes them full and bushy

Have you ever wondered how to get your coleus plant to look as lush and full as the ones you see in the pages of glossy garden magazines? It’s easy: you just need to pinch them. It may seem counterproductive to cut back a plant that you want more of, but pinching many annual and tender perennial plants—like coleus—encourages branching and full, bushy growth. Watch this video to learn how to pinch annuals and tropical perennials.

Here are some more plants that benefit from pinching: basil (Ocimum spp. and cvs., annual), plectranthus (Plectranthus spp. and cvs., Zones 10-11), alternanthera (Alternanthera spp. and cvs., Zones 9-11), bloodleaf (Iresine spp. and cvs., Zone 11), petunias (Petunia spp. and cvs., annual), impatiens (Impatiens spp. and cvs., annual), shasta daisies (Leucanthemum × superbum cvs., Zones 5-8),  and mums (Chrysanthemum spp. and cvs., Zones 5-9).

View Comments


  1. mindykleinkaufman 08/18/2014

    how do I get more color in to my coleus?
    it looks faded but when I bought it, it had beautiful, vibrant color.
    Now it's mostly green

    1. Imthebaby 05/24/2015

      A little late for a reply, but it probably has to do with the amount of sun your plant is getting.
      If it's in direct sun, trying moving it to a shadier spot.

  2. H2all 08/19/2014

    Does it make a difference if you use shears to prune instead of pinching?

  3. user-7007370 01/26/2015

    Mindy I have learned that it is the amount of light the coleus is getting! More color from more light, more green from less light. Try moving it!

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