plant pruning/ trimming
I am needing to trim most of my plants this time of year. When I read about doing it , the resources say to pinch or trim off to the next pair of leaves down the stems. Would I hurt the plants if I trim much further down, say a foot, to a set of leaves further down the stem? I am hoping that this would make the plants fuller and less floppy etc. but don't want to do any damage. Some of the plants I am talking about are yarrow, bee balm, verbena, coleus, asters, dappled willow... etc. My garden is all part sun/part shade. Zone 7.
Yes, you can prune further down on the plants to manage height and encourage side branching (bushier plants). Some notoriously floppy plants like asters and be cut down by half their height or more (typically best to do in late May/early June). You can still do this type of cutting back or "pinching" now, but do it soon, especially if you are hoping to get a second flush of flowers. For example, if you prune out the main flowering stems of yarrow, verbena, and bee balm, you can get a second flush of (usually smaller) flowers on the side branches. https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/care-annuals-and-perennials