Petunias, a common annual bedding plant, are garden favorites because of their carefree, consistent blooms. With a multitude of flower forms, colors, and sizes, the trumpet-shaped flowers are grown in bunchy clumps, trailing vines, or in containers. Create more blooms and a healthier, more vigorous plant by pinching off spent petunia blooms.
Grasp the portion of the petunia flower at the base of the trumpet's neck. You'll notice a bulbous area, which is the ovary where the seeds are developing. This is the juncture where the flower connects to the stem.
Pinch off blooms that appear wilted, opaque, droopy, or are beginning to turn brown. The plant will go through cycles of flowers all summer, so "deadheading," as this procedure is also known, will ensure continuous blooms.
Pinch off the spent flower with your thumb and forefinger, at the spot where the flower meets the stem. Include the seed area when you remove the bloom, as a plant will spend more energy trying to produce seeds rather than on new flowers.
Pinch off 1 to 2 inches of growth early in the season or during mid-summer. Branching will occur from the site of the pinching, creating a rounded appearance and more blooms.
Discard spent blooms, and any leaf litter or dropped blooms around the base of the plant, away from other compost. Disease can spread quickly from infected leaf litter to other plants, even from compost bins.