When Is It Too Late To Pinch Dahlias: [Topping]

If you’re going to grow dahlias, you need to make sure that you pinch or top them at the opportune time.

Typically, it is best to pinch a dahlia when it reaches 12 to 16” in height for plants that are sturdy. Plants that aren’t pinched in time will grow too tall and spindly.

Ignore the plant for too long and it will flop over because it has grown too tall. For the best results, be sure to pinch your Dahlias before they reach 14”.

When Is It Too Late To Pinch Dahlias

Topping Dahlias

Individuals interested in growing dahlias need to know when to top their plants. Otherwise, the plant will grow tall and out of control. If it gets too tall, it’ll fall over.

For optimum results, you should try pinching or topping your dahlias once they’ve reached 12 to 16” in height. Topping at this point will help ensure that your plants develop into shorter, fuller plants.

It’ll also give them the ability to develop more blooms.

You must continue pinching your plant to ensure new growth and more blooms.

Tips For Pinching Dahlias

Ultimately, it doesn’t have to be difficult to pinch your dahlia plants. Again, you’ll want to wait until the plants reach 12 or 16” in height. Then, you should grab a pair of scissors or shears.

You can also use your fingers. Be careful not to tear the plant’s steam. Top the plant. Once you’ve pruned your dahlias, they’re going to respond rapidly.

They’ll begin growing rapidly and developing a lot of new stems and foliage. Before long, you’ll receive more future blooms too.

Pinching For New Growth

You’ll also want to pinch your dahlias for future growth. Doing this effectively can help your plant grow more blooms. Once multiple buds form, you should pinch the plant back to a few buds.

As you do this, the plant will produce larger buds. The nutrients will be funneled to the buds that are left. Therefore, each remaining bud will receive the bulk of the nutrients.

They’ll grow larger and more beautiful. You’ll also need to deadhead blooms when they begin fading.

If you do this, the plant will use the majority of its energy on producing new flowers. Regardless, you should continue pinching the plant after the first round.

What Happens If You Don’t Pinch Dahlias

Failing to pinch your dahlias in time could lead to potential problems. A dahlias plant that hasn’t been pinched is going to grow too tall. If you continue ignoring the plant, it will continue growing taller until it eventually falls over.

You can try supporting the stem, but that is only going to work for a short time. Prevent this from happening by topping your plant before it reaches 16”.

Did you know dahlias are a symbolism of goodbye? To learn more, check out my article of flower meanings here.

How Big Do Dahlias Grow

There is no definitive answer to this question as dahlias can range in size from small varieties that only grow to be a few inches tall to large varieties that can reach heights of up to six feet.

The size of a dahlia will also depend on the type of soil it is grown in, the amount of sunlight it receives, and the amount of water it is given. However, in general, dahlias can be expected to reach mature heights anywhere from two to five feet.

Can You Leave Dahlias In Pots Over Winter

They are relatively easy to care for and can be left in pots over winter. However, there are a few things to keep in mind if you plan on overwintering dahlias in pots.

First, make sure the pot is big enough. Dahlias can grow quite large, so giving them plenty of room to grow will help them stay healthy over winter. Second, well-draining potting mix is essential.

Be sure to add some extra perlite or vermiculite to the potting mix to ensure good drainage. Third, dahlias need a bright spot to thrive, so choose a location that gets at least six hours of direct sunlight per day.

Following these simple tips will help your dahlias survive the winter and come back stronger than ever in the spring.


Ultimately, all dahlias must be topped or pinched at some point. It is best to do this before the plant reaches 16”. If you don’t act quickly, the plant is going to grow too tall.

Then, there is a risk that it’ll fall over and die.

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