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How can I get my gentian sapling back in shape?

Question submitted by FAQ

I have had my gentian sapling for three years now. But now I have the following problem: It gets very long shoots and looks rather out of shape, and not so good any more. A friend of mine told me to cut back the branches frequently, which I did. But if I miss one it will grow long again. Also the plant does not produce many flowers anymore. Do you have some advice on how I can get back my fine shaped blooming sapling?

Garden Expert:

Mr. Engelbert Kötter

Mr. Engelbert Kötter

GARDENA Garden Expert Germany

The answer

Well … the explanation why your sapling grows that much is: This is its natural shape. It stayed small and compact due to horticultural treatments. Horticultural businesses can keep these plants small and weak growing with a special appliance which works well in the first two years. In the third year the sapling starts to grow normally again - which means it grows strongly and builds long shoots. So there is no need to cut them back, especially as the blossoms are always produced at the end of the long shoots. 

So you can either accept that and let your gentian grow. Or you go and get a new sapling - which, however, will only stay compact for the first 2 years...