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How to Prune Petunias

Updated on June 7, 2016
Are you pruning your petunias properly?
Are you pruning your petunias properly?

Petunias are a beautiful flower that comes in a wide range of colors (red, white, pink, purple) and types (normal and wave). It's perfect in planters, hanging baskets, and for adding a splash of color to a garden. They live best in the sun but in my experience you can plant them anywhere and they look beautiful.

The key to keeping them beautiful is proper pruning technique. This is the part that most people don't like because it's a hassle and it's too hard and they just don't know how to do it.

Most people will simply pull off the dead flower and call it good. This is not correct. The seed pod is still left behind. This is the plant's goal, to make a seed and once they accomplish that goal they no longer have a reason to flower.

So, if you remove the seed the plant has to keep flowering to make more. Not to mention that this streamlines your plant and makes it look much nicer.

A dead flower.
A dead flower.

What to Look For

In this picture you can see several good flowers and in the center a dead flower. These make the plant look bad and are something you want to get rid of right away. Do not simply pull the dead flower off (they come off rather easily and it seems this is all you have to do).

In the next picture you will see a close up of the seed pod. This is something you want to remove right away if you want your plant to flower more. A new flower will grow where this seed pod has been removed. This will keep your plant from getting long and stringy.

Seed pod that needs to be removed.
Seed pod that needs to be removed.
Removed seed pod.
Removed seed pod.

Remove the Seed Pod

If you have long fingernails you can usually just pinch the bottom (closest to the stem of the plant) and remove it easily. If you have a lot of seed pods to remove I would recommend using a scissors, it makes the job go faster and it hurts your fingers less. Sometimes the seed pods are easier to remove, sometimes they are more difficult.

In the next picture I tried to photograph the bud so you would know what not to cut off. Unfortunately my iPod doesn't take great close-ups. But if you look your plant over you should be able to see many the stages the flower goes through, from bud, to bloom, to seed pod.

Trying to get a picture of a bud. It's the yellow piece in the center.
Trying to get a picture of a bud. It's the yellow piece in the center.


So that's how you properly prune a petunia. These tips apply to most types of flowers. Figure out what the seed pod is, cut it off, and you'll get more flowers. It's very simple. Just watch your plant and you'll be able to see what are about to be new flowers and which ones are on their way out.

This is important to know to keep your plant looking its best.


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    • profile image

      Rosario Flores 

      12 months ago

      Thank you so very much

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      This is the frist year I have cut off these seed pods as we started our gardening early in the Spring and not in late June so my petunias now need trimming. I hope it will continue to flower.

    • profile image

      Christine Taber 

      2 years ago

      This was helpful info. If you do it wrong, there are so many flower seeds, that soon the plant looks dead.

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image

      Jill Spencer 

      6 years ago from United States

      What a good hub with good info and easy-to-see pictures of what you're talking about. Voted up & shared.

    • Jeff Gamble profile image

      Jeff Gamble 

      8 years ago from Denton, Texas

      Great tips nochance - seed pod is the key


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