How to Pinch Herbs for Boosted Growth
While it may seem counterintuitive, removing certain stems from a plant -- a technique called pinching -- can actually lead to a healthier, bushier plant. By locating upper stems that grow between mature leaves and the stem of a plant and pinching them out, doubling the number of stems that grow back.
This blog from Amateur Organics explains:
By pinching out your herbs you encourage your plant to grow bushy and strong, full of the tastiest new growth, and much less likely to grow woody and unpalatable. While my former technique of picking the leaves off one by one may seem instinctively to be the best (why would you want to remove stem, surely that would hurt the plant?), it turns out that the exact opposite is true.
Examine your herb closely and you will notice that new shoots tend to grow from in between the mature leaves and the stem of the plant. The aim of the pinching out exercise is to remove the stem and leaves from above these baby shoots, which will encourage two new shoots to grow from either side of the stem. This results in two stems where previously there was only one. If left unpinched it is unlikely that this new growth will fully develop into adult leaves and stems. You can think of it a little like the plant is a hydra
, cut off one of it’s heads and it simply grows two more.
They provide a fantastic visual guide to pinching herbs -- click here to view.