How to Prune Leggy Flowers

My summer flowers – like vinca and petunias – tend to get leggy. If I prune them back, will they bloom again? -Meredith

Absolutely! Summer annuals will keep blooming until frost. However, if you prune them back severely, it may take a few weeks for them to grow back out and bloom again.

So, instead of waiting until they’re leggy, try pinching them back as you deadhead the old blossoms. You don’t have to remove a lot of the stem – simply pinching off the growing tip will stimulate the plant to branch out from the base. This way, you can keep your plants in shape and blooming all summer!

You can also lightly trim or pinch back perennials (like coreopsis and mums) after they bloom if they get leggy. They might (or might not) bloom again, but the green plants will bush out and be more attractive for the remainder of the season.


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Backed by his 40-year remodeling career, Danny served as the home improvement expert for CBS’s The Early Show and The Weather Channel for more than a decade. His extensive hands-on experience and understanding of the industry make him the go-to source for all things having to do with the home – from advice on simple repairs, to complete remodels, to helping homeowners prepare their homes for extreme weather and seasons.


  1. Hi, I have some beatify mums. Most stay shortish and low to the ground, but I have a yellow one that gets really leggy. I am afraid to trim now while they are in bloom in fear they wont proceed to grow more flowers. Generally I just wait til winters over and cut them down and enjoy them the next year.


  2. I’ve let my vinca grow too tall and now there is a thick undergrowth of tall stems and dead leaves. I plan on cutting it back this winter but how do I get rid of the thicket?

  3. Also even though it’s drought tolerant I should’ve watered it more and when I did it was too late and all the leaves died. If I start watering it again will it come back or did I kill it and need to pull it out?


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