More bush for your buck

Lots of herbs and other garden plants respond well to a little trim by growing even more! Sometimes damage can stimulate growth and we can emulate damage with out secateurs or fingers.

A lot of plants respond to having their growing tips pinched off by growing more leaves and stems below the pinch. This is known as ‘tip pruning’ or ‘pinching off’. Plants pit a lot of energy into their growing tips and removing them causes the plant to use that energy further down.

You can take advantage of this tendency to get bushier plants with more leaves and therefore bigger harvests. All you have to do is pinch off the top couple of leaves at the tip of a stem or cut a stem or two a little further down. Every cut you make will reward you with new branches or stems from below the cut upon which are of course, more leaves.

The pic here is Feverfew and toward the bottom middle, you can see where the old stem was cut and all of the new stems branching out. Each of these will end in flowers, ready for harvest. What would have been a single corymb will now be many.

A ‘corymb’ is a flat topped cluster of flowers with the youngest in the middle such as Feverfew produces.

Basil is a fast growing, delicious plant that is well known for this habit and even when I’m not actually harvesting, I’m prone to snip here and there to keep the plant compact and bushy. This us a great tip for gardeners with limited space.

Other plants have this habit, plants as diverse as Elder Trees, Tamarillos, Mints. and Edible Chrysanthemums, so its not restricted to one Family. For a chance of getting bigger harvests or to bush up a plant that’s got a bit straggly. Give an existing branch or stem a cut about half way down and see what happens. You may be surprised.

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