Pinching a plant almost feels mean. It just brought out all this beautiful new growth and you are taking it away. But the rewards are well worth the sacrifice. Many plants benefit from a good pinch in the spring. This will make them stronger, bushier plants because when you push one stem back, two stems will emerge from the remaining knot. You may even be able to root the stems that you pinched off, which means more plants for you. When in doubt, try this simple experiment: buy two identical Coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides cvs., zone 11) Plants in spring. Pinch one plant but leave the other alone. Compare the two plants in August and decide for yourself.
The basics of soil biology
Tip: keep dirt off your fingernails