Hello! I want to ask a question that has been on my mind for a while, but I never did an experiment. I want to grow some flowers out front of my place. I know of a lot of pretty varieties, but I don't like all the leaves that they produce; tends to make them look "weedy" to me, and takes away from their beauty. (I already have packets of Bachelor Buttons and Carnations, and want to try some others.) Is it possible to strip some of the green leaves from flowers without harming them? Maybe it would help put more energy into producing more robust flowers, even? What do you say about such an act? Whatever you say, I will do, and thanks very much in advance for your answer.
More Flowers, Less Leaves
Leaves are what provide energy, through photosynthesis, that allows a plant to flower. Especially with an annual flower, reduced leaf surface, just like shade, leads to fewer flowers. Bachelor buttons do not need fertilization and adding nitrogen fertilizer increases leafy growth. Carnations come in two varieties, running/ spreading and clump forming. Regardless of type, pinch or trim back the flower buds and top sets of leaves on each stem on Memorial Day and 4th of July. This produces a shorter but more floriferous display later in the season. Pinching back bachelor buttons will result in a bushier, shorter plant. The more stems it has the more flowers since flowers occur at each stem tip. Perhaps a smaller plant, through pinching back will look better to you. Dead-head often to tidy up the plants. Another option is to grow a small size annual in front of the buttons to hide the leaves. Petunias, short marigold varieties or dwarf blanket flower would work.