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How to Pinch Geraniums

geranium image by szildy from

Geraniums are a tender perennial that are often grown as an annual flower outside. There are many varieties available that come in a range of colors. Unlike many other flowering plants, geraniums survive and bloom in partial shade, making them a suitable addition to gardens that receive minimal light. Geraniums also thrive year-round when planted in containers that are brought inside in winter. Pinching back geraniums encourages full, bushy growth and helps encourage further blooming whether the geranium is planted in a bed or a pot.

Cut back overwintered plants in spring before they begin actively growing again. Cut off all dead or damaged foliage and stems but cut the plant back by no more than 2/3 its previous height. Use sharp, clean shears for pruning.

Pinch of the top 1/2 inch of each stem once the plant is actively growing again or after transplanting new plants to a permanent bed or pot. This encourages further branching and leads to a fuller plant.

Pinch off the flowers once they begin to wither. Pinch off each flower stem right above the nearest set of leaves. This prevents seed production and leads to further bud setting.

Rejuvenate geraniums in midsummer if they become leggy or bedraggled looking. Pinch off the top 3 to 5 inches of each stem to give the plant a rounded look. Pinch off each stem right above a leaf or a leaf node. The geraniums will quickly fill in as a bushier plant and resume blooming again.


While pinching with your fingers is suitable for most trimming, you may use shears if the entire plant requires rejuvenation.

Fertilize the plants after major trimming. This encourages quick foliage growth on the plant.


Plants may cease blooming for one to three weeks after pinching. Continue to water them regularly and they will resume flowering shortly.

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