How to Pinch Dahlias for more Blooms

Pinching dahlias in Spring is an easy way to get more blooms from your plants. I show you step by step how to pinch Dahlias to get more blooms. 

Pinch dahlias when they are rapidly growing and just above a pair of leaf nodes, this will make them bushier and more robust. Want to see it done? Keep reading and there is a video at the end of the post that shows you exactly how it is done.

I confess I avoided growing Dahlias for year as having to dig the tubers each Fall seemed like too much work.  But I have found they are well worth the effort and now I love them, I know you will too if you give them a try!

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If you love dahlias and want more then visit my Dahlias from Cuttings post.  It is an easy and free way to propagate your favorites. 

Why Pinch Dahlias?

Dahlias will grow just fine without pinching. Now that has been said then why do I pinch back dahlias? 

Because it results in not only more blooms from a single plant but it also makes them busier and sturdier. You want them to be sturdier since the big fat blooms can make the plant top heavy.  

dark pink dahlia growing in garden, Flower Patch Farmhouse

When to Pinch Your Dahlias

When your dahlias begin to grow in Spring let them get to at least 12 inches to 16 inches tall with 4 sets of leaves on the stalk.  This is a rule of thumb but not law so if your plant has gotten a bit taller don’t despair it is not too late. 

dahlia growing in a pot

How to Pinch Dahlias

Find the top sprout on the stem between two leaves and cut off with your pruners or pinch if off with you thumbnail.  This one is lower on the plant but that will work too.  I was trying to get the best photo for you.  If you look to the left you will see the other stems pinched off farther up. 

dahlia stem being cut back or pinched with pruners

Closer up on this one you can see it towards what your dahlia plant will look like once pinched.

close up of dahlia stem pinched back, Flower Patch Farmhouse

A few weeks later you will see this…

new growth on pinched back dahlia plant

New growth on either side of the pinched area on the dahlia stem.  That means instead of one bloom you will get two. 

How does Pinching Dahlias work?

By pinching or cutting back the dahlia stems you are stimulating the plants energy to producing more stems and leaves instead of flower buds. In the video I state I leave one stem alone so it will produce a bud sooner while the cut ones will take a bit longer. 

Instead of tall, lanky plants you will have bushier, stronger ones that will be easier to maintain. The big plus is you will get more blooms from each plant. 

pink with yellow center cactus dahlia, how to pinch dahlias, Flower Patch Farmhouse

Dahlias for a Cutting Garden

The most fun is dahlias are the perfect plant for your cutting garden.  The more you cut the more flowers it will produce! When they are in full bloom cut flowers frequently for bouquets.  Just like pinching, cutting the flowers stimulates new growth and flowers keeping the dahlia healthy and blooming! Win, win. 

Even though pinching Dahlias make them sturdier you will need to proved support like a stake, or wire cage, obelisk etc. 

Watch the video as I pinch Dahlias for you

I hope you give dahlias a try in your garden. They will reward you for years. 

Happy Gardening!

How to Pinch Dahlias for more Blooms

Islander Dahlia planted in a container
Prep Time 1 minute
Active Time 5 minutes
Total Time 6 minutes
Difficulty Easy



  • Pruners or garden snips


  1. Grab your snips or pruners
  2. Dahlia that is 12 to 16 inches tall and has for sets of leaves
  3. Find central stem and follow back to juncture.
  4. This can be very low on the plant or a bit higher, you choose which juncture.
  5. Cut just above juncture.
  6. Care for and watch more shoots emerge from each side of where you pruned back the Dahlia!


You do not have to pinch or prune back Dahlias but it does promote better flowering and a stockier plant.

More you will enjoy
How to Propagate Dahlias from Cuttings
Choosing Dahlias for your Garden
easy Dig up Dahlias for Winter

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  1. Thank you so much for this information. I will start pinching my Dahlias today!

  2. I tried doing this and didn’t get as many blooms as when I don’t pinch them. They just grew big and green and bushy but no blooms.

    1. There are many variables that can cause bushy growth with no blooms but pinching them is not one of them. All flower farms that grow dahlias to sell as cut flowers utilize pinching to get more flowers. Some things that can cause bushy growth with no flowers is over watering, too much fertilizer, not enough fertilizer, too much heat, not enough sunlight etc. Also the variety of dahlia can be a determination. So if you feel you do better without pinching then, by all means, don’t pinch.

  3. Crystal Clark says:

    Thank you for the up-close tutorial. I’d heard that it’s good to pinch them back but wasn’t sure how. Very informative and straightforward.
    Happy Easter

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