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Can I cut back old fashioned pinks after flowering? Mrs Sinkins and another unnamed pink variety are sprawling everywhere.
Just deadhead spent flowers Prue. I wouldn't cut back into the main growth just take the flower stalks away. If the clumps are spreading too much you can dig them up and split. I've done that in the past.
I found that mine, too, were sprawling everywhere. I took pipings (all of which struck successfully) last autumn, but also cut the main plants down quite drastically. I didn't expect that they would survive - but it was a gamble. They are now very healthy-looking plants, albeit with no flower buds. Maybe next year they will have rejuvenated enough to bloom - but the advice just to deadhead is probably the best, and to take cuttings so that the old plants can, in due course, be replaced.
I always thought they were basically annuals, flowered themselves to death, you can take cuttings (pipings) I suppose a little like geraniums (as in an overwintered plant isn't as spritely as a new cutting.)
Bit like BrummieBen I regard pinks as short term plants....3 years max. Take cuttings every year and they will flower well in year one and better in year 2. Year 3 just replace
Thanks for your advice everyone.
If you cut them back now you will lose this year's flowers. Wait until they flower in the next few weeks and then take some cuttings ( known as pipings, as Brummieben says) from non-flowering shoots then cut back the plant and give a weak liquid feed to give the plant back some strength. Pipings are easy to strike. Use a sharp razor blade or craft knife and cut shoots a couple of inches long just below a joint and then just push them in around the edge of a pot of 1 part compost to 2 parts sharp sand or grit. Water them in and leave them in a shady place for a few weeks and they will root. You can check by, a). seeing if any roots are coming through the bottom of the pot or, b). carefully tipping the pot upside down over your other hand supporting the cuttings. Make sure the compost is damp and the contents should come out in one piece so you can check for root growth. If they're not developed enough you can just slide the contents back in the pot without too much disturbance. If you're happy with the roots then pot them on in a similar compost mix.