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How To Trim Houseplants

Updated October 16, 2021 by admin

Trimming plants is an art form. You don’t have to trim indoor houseplants as often as you would your outdoor plants- but they still need a little TLC from time to time. You may have to trim away the dead leaves/branches to keep it looking healthy and beautiful. You may just want to encourage the growth to balance out. You may find that some of your plants are growing wild and some just look like they could use a little trim.

Regardless of the reason, you’ll need to know the answer to the question: how to trim houseplants? First, you must observe the plant. Then, you’ll want to gather your tools. Next, you’ll want to remove any dead blooms, leaves, or stems. Finally, you can start to make your cuts.

In this article, we’ll explain a little more about each of these steps, including how to make the proper cuts to trim your houseplants without killing them.

When Should You Prune Your Houseplants?

A good rule of thumb is to prune your houseplants at the beginning of the growing season, which is typically late winter/early spring. However, you’ll want to do some research to confirm this. One exception to the rule is your woody houseplants. Those grow year-round, so you’ll need to make sure that you are pruning them on a regular basis to keep them happy and healthy.

When it comes to flowering plants, it’s best to prune them right after they are done flowering for the season. If you prune at the beginning of the season, just before they bloom, you may end up removing buds that could turn into flowers. That’s definitely not what you want to do.

Tools You Will Need to Prune Your Houseplants

Before you do any task, you need to make sure that you gather all the necessary tools for the job. Following are the tools you will need to properly prune your houseplants.

  1. Pruning shears
  2. Kitchen shears
  3. Gardening gloves (this is optional, but good to have if your plants have thorns)
  4. Overgrown houseplant

Instructions For Pruning Your Houseplants

Now that you have everything you need, let’s take a closer look at the steps for pruning your houseplants.

Observe The Plant

Before you start making cuts on your plant, you’ll want to take a step back and note the structure and shape of the plant. Pay attention to whether it looks frail or maybe it’s fuller on one side than the other. Check for any dying or diseased-looking foliage. Additionally, check for “latent” buds, or potential new growth. These new growth areas typically occur where leaves are attached to the stem of the plant.

Decide Which Tools You Need To Use

In order to make sure you get the best cut possible, you’ll want to make sure you’re using the right tools. For thicker branches, you’ll want to use pruning shears. On the other hand, if the branches are slender, you may find that kitchen shears are a better tool for the job.

Remove Dead Leaves & Stems

When you start actually pruning the plant, the first thing is to pinch off any dead stems and leaves. If you have stems that are rotted at the root, pull them out, making sure to give the soil time to dry out before watering it again.

Remove Dead Flowers

If there are any dead flowers or buds on your houseplant, pinch them off or clip them close to the main stem. This will allow room for new growth. This is known as deadheading.

Start Making Cuts

Now is the time to start making cuts on your houseplant. You’ll want to make sure that you’re sensible with your cuts, making only the cuts that will encourage new growth. Make a cut just before a leaf node. If you’re cutting back larger stems, get as close to the main stem as you can. The one thing you must keep in mind though, is never remove more than 25 percent of the plant.

Tips For Pruning Your Houseplants

In order to properly prune your plant, you need to understand the growth pattern of the plant. A plant grows from the tip down, which means that new growth occurs from the dominant bud at the end of a stem or branch.

To encourage bushy growth, you’ll want to snip off the dominant buds on certain stems, making sure to stagger the cuts. This will encourage varied growth. You’ll want to trim some back by 1/4, while you trim others back by 1/2, and others you’ll want to trim at the base. This way, the random growth pattern will begin to fill in once it starts to leaf again.

When you prune, it’s important that your tools are clean because cutting the plant exposes it to disease. Many of your cuttings can be saved and rooted in a cup of water. Once roots grow, you can plant them in a pot of soil, making sure it stays moist. In a few weeks, you’ll have new plants to care for.

Some Plants Don’t Need Pruning

Keep in mind that there are some plants that need to be pruned regularly, while others rarely need to be. Then, there are others that you should never prune. For example, the Norfolk Island Pines and Palms form a terminal dominant without latent buds. If you remove the dominant bud, you will actually kill the plant. Therefore, it’s best to just leave it alone.

Additionally, some orchids don’t need to be pruned beyond removing dead flower spikes, as doing any more can kill it. If you remove the spike where it emerges from the leaves, you might be able to see new blooms within a few months.

Bottom Line

There are some houseplants that need lots of TLC and these tips can help you when it’s time to prune them.

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