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Ultimate Guide to Pinching Cosmos

Last summer, I was walking past my neighborhood and saw this flourishing Cosmos plant that was way too bushier.

I had never seen such a dense Cosmos before, so I kindly asked my neighbor about it.

Thanks to her generosity, she told me about pinching Cosmos, which changed my plants’ looks.

Generally, the best time to pinch off Cosmos is when the plant reaches a height of 8 to 12 inches. You can encourage denser branching from the plant’s base by using your fingers to pinch off the plant’s leggy tips.
pink cosmos flowers
Pinching Cosmos encourages more vibrant blossoms.

The Cosmos plant does just fine without pinching in nature, but if a little effort improves the way it looks, then why not?

Therefore, continue reading the article to learn more about pinching Cosmos to grab all the benefits it has yet to offer.

Do Cosmos Need Pinching Out?

Cosmos plants are easy-to-grow plants with simple care requirements, producing tons of delightful blooms of many colors.

Cosmos prefer occasionally pinching out during the active growing season to encourage their bushier growth.

Meanwhile, Cosmos plants without pinching irregular or leggy growths cause plants to look pathetic with sparse foliage.

beautiful cosmos flower
The Cosmos plant is one of the invasive plants.

Furthermore, no pinching out causes plants’ beast nature to lose out in the open.

Trust me! You do not want that, as the Cosmos plant is listed as one of the invasive plants by the Invasive Plant Atlas of the U.S.

Cosmos plants must be pinched to keep their grand stature in a bushier form. But that is not the only reason you should consider pinching the Cosmos plant.

Benefits of Pinching Cosmos

The first reason for pinching Cosmos is to tame the plant’s invasive nature. Here are some more benefits of pinching Cosmos.

  • Vigorous Blooms: Pinching Cosmos stimulates the plant to produce more blossoms. It often leads to more extended blossoming periods.
  • Dense Foliage: Encourages much more dense foliage in plants by reducing plant size and aiding the plant in active branching from the base.
  • Healthy Growth: No leggy or stunted branches help plants to refocus their energy. 
  • New Plants: No need to buy a new Cosmos plant as pinched-off parts can be used to propagate the plant.

Unlike other plants, the Cosmos plant enjoys and gets much better with efficient pinching.

cosmos flower
The Cosmos flower is famous for its various colors with symmetric petal arrangement.

As a result, you should pinch the Cosmos earlier to encourage active growth so that you can enjoy longer blooms on bushier plants.

When do you Need to Pinch Cosmos?

Cosmos is a popular plant for its symmetric flowers in many vibrant colors.

And to keep them long-lasting, you can pinch off along with deadheading Cosmos plant.

Now you might wonder when is the right time to pinch off the Cosmos plant.

But truth be told, any time you notice leggy growth, you may pinch off the stem.

Meanwhile, many gardeners choose to pinch Cosmos plants after reaching 8 to 12 inches tall with at least three sets of leaves.
cosmos flower
There are several varieties of Cosmos flowers, and golden Cosmos was the first species to be found.

Additionally, you can pinch the Cosmos plants a little earlier than the active growing season and continue to pinch them occasionally until the first fall frost.

Pinching Cosmos can also help to reduce the slow and leggy growth of Cosmos seedlings.

How to Pinch Cosmos?

Many people confuse pinching with deadheading, but they are entirely different plant requirements.

Deadheading refers to removing old or spent flowers from a plant to encourage the growth of new blooms.

Meanwhile, pinching is the removal of the top or central growing point to encourage the development of side shoots and for the bushier plant.

But, all aim to keep the plant healthy by removing leggy, damaged, or spent parts of the plant.

cosmos plant on pot
You can use the pinched part of Cosmos for further propagation.

So, let us start pinching off Cosmos without any further ado.

  • You can use your fingers to pinch out or use your go-to sharp shears.
  • Select a young plant of height 8 to 12 inches and pinch off the top few inches of the plant.
  • If the stem is tough to pinch off using fingers, use sharp shears for clean cuts.
  • Ensure to leave leaves on either side of the cut to make use of the pinched part.
  • Do not pinch off right at the leaf junctions as you might remove bud that may grow new branches.
  • Thoroughly water your Cosmos plant afterward to help them grow back denser again.

You could propagate Cosmos if you left a couple of leaves on the pinched part of a plant.

You are halfway through making your Cosmos plant bushier. Now you must provide aftercare to help the plant become much more substantial.

Disclaimer: Do not overdo yourself with pinching, as excess pinching can severely damage the plant.

Care Tips for Cosmos after Pinching

Here are some general care needs of Cosmos to help them grow stronger after pinching.

  • Provide your Cosmos full sun, and avoid partial shade. They will grow in partial shade, but their blooms will be less vigorous.
  • Provide well-draining, moist, slightly acidic soil (pH 6 to 8).
  • You shall water Cosmos plants after the topsoil becomes completely dry.
  • Use phosphoric fertilizers to produce vigorous blooms.
phosphoric fertilizer
Phosphorous helps to boost the flowering process, so provide your Cosmos bloom booster for vibrant blossoms.
  • Ensure a warm temperature with an average humidity level.
  • Ensure the pot has adequate drainage holes if you plan to grow Cosmos in one.
  • Deadhead spent flowers and cut damaged or yellowing parts from time to time.
  • Spray neem oils on the plant to avoid any pest invasion.

If you want to harvest seeds, you do not need to pinch out the Cosmos flowers.

Moreover, the Cosmos plant is a self-sowing plant that will reseed itself.

Editor’s Note

Pinching Cosmos is highly beneficial for making the plant bushier with vibrant blossoms.

It works like a charm to tame the invasive beast of the Cosmos and transform it into a stunning plant.

But again, remember not to go overboard with pinching to the point where the plant suffers. Best of Luck!!!

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