No matter whether you prune for beauty or to improve the health of your plants, you’ll probably need to eventually do some pruning. The following article will explain to you how, why and when you should prune indoor plants to keep them looking beautiful and in excellent health.
How To Prune Houseplant
Pruning is best done often, while plants are actively growing, using sharp, sterile pruners and cutting back to just above the leaf nodes. After pruning, your houseplants will recover faster if you provide good care. You can prune to control plant size, shape, or cosmetic appearance.
Discover the proper pruning method, when to use it, and other recommendations to ensure your plants produce new growth in no time.
Reasons To Prune Houseplants
Although pruning objectives can vary, there are four basic reasons to prune houseplants.
Preserve Plant Health
A houseplant’s health can be maintained by removing diseased or weak sections of the plant, or by pruning healthy parts to encourage stronger growth in the future.
When you remove the overgrown foliage from the houseplant, you improve the airflow and permit light to penetrate all parts of the plant, resulting in a healthier, fuller-looking houseplant.
In the interior, plants can get overgrown, producing dense foliage that blocks airflow and light, which can lead to unhealthy parts of the plant.
Removing dead or dying plant parts reduces the risk of pest infestations and diseases. Along with improving the appearance of your houseplant, it also reduces the risk of further problems.
The pruning process is also a good time to check for any care issues. Rotting leaves or abnormal growth are indicators that you need to change your care routine. Pruning these weakened areas is the best way to ensure healthy growth in the future.
Plants can be pruned so that their height, width, and shape can be adjusted.
A houseplant should be trimmed according to its shape and size before being pruned. The plant you choose can be shaped to suit your home as it grows into a specimen that is perfectly suited to its surroundings.
The various types of Ficus trees are excellent examples of houseplants that can be trained in this manner. Ficus develop vertical branches instead of lateral ones; this results in tall, spindly trees. A fuller and more attractive specimen results from pruning the vertical branches, promoting the development of lateral branches.
Improving Quality Of Stems And Foliage
Your houseplants will grow lush and robust new growth if you prune out older growth. This creates a compact plant with plenty of branches. In particular, houseplants like Schefflera, Dracaena, Pothos and Aglaonema should be air-conditioned.
The leaves of many foliage plants are primarily grown for their striking appearance, and even when they bloom, the flowers are insignificant and don’t compare to the plants’ striking foliage. It is common to prune off Aglaonema blooms when they do not hold much appeal so the plant can instead concentrate its energy on developing new foliage.
Many houseplants, including indoor trees, such as Monsteras, which can become enormous, grow significantly larger in their natural habitats than the specimens in our homes. Most houseplants eventually grow too tall or wide for their intended location, and soon start pressing up against the walls and ceilings.
Upon becoming large, some houseplants can also become very top-heavy, increasing the chances of tipping over.
By pruning some branches from a houseplant, you can achieve a more compact specimen by reducing the tree’s overall width and height.
Types Of Pruning
There are many kinds of houseplants that never require pruning except for the occasional dead leaf. Certain annuals and perennials are discarded after blooming ceases. Pruning a plant can tame an overgrown one, make an ailing one look more attractive, or improve the appearance of a houseplant.
It is suggested to prune the houseplant in small portions at a time, either by pinching or with pruners, to remove new growth growing vertically or laterally from the main body of the plant. Because only a small portion of the stem is removed, the plant looks identical to what it did before the pinched stems were removed.
A sharp knife or scissors, your thumb and index finger, or a sharp pair of scissors can be used to pinch the growth back to another set of leaves or buds. As a result, you will see side shoots forming along the stem. You can even pinch off the ends of side shoots in order to promote even more growth, leading eventually to a fuller plant.
By pinching the stem, the houseplant will be bushier as new shoots develop and if it blooms more blossoms will appear.
Basic Steps For Maintenance Pruning
Pinch gently near the tip of the stem, where you will be cutting it off.
Pinch off the stem just above a set of leaves or node, using your other hand’s thumbs and index fingers, a pair of scissors, or a sharp knife. Make sure your pruning tools are clean to avoid the spread of diseases or pests.
Continue pinching off the end tips and side shoots when new growth appears; this will result in a bushier plant.
During hard pruning, a plant is drastically cut back, reshaped, or branches trimmed that have become leggy or been grown out of the body of the plant are removed.
It’s best to prune hard in the spring when the plant is actively growing again. Although hard pruning can be stressful to the plant, the bare branches and stems will quickly fill in with new foliage.
This method is used on herbaceous perennials, indoor shrubs, and trees to make smaller plants more compact, make bare stems bushier, and make overgrown plants more symmetrical.
Make your cuts just above a bud or leaf node with sterilized clippers or a sharp knife. Remove around 1/3 to 1/2 of a stem or branch. You can safely remove sections of old, diseased, or awkward growth.
Among the plants whose shape can be maintained by hard pruning are:
- Ficus species
- Crassula ovata (Jade Plants)
Steps For Hard Pruning
If you wish to achieve a particular size and shape for your plant, look over the plant to determine what branches and stems need to be pruned.
Pruning is done by making a short cut about 3mm to 4mm above a leaf node or bud and at a slight angle in the direction of the bud or leaf node. Clean hand pruners work well for thin branches.
Pruning for bushier plants involves starting slow by trimming leggy branches by 10 to 20 percent. After a few weeks, you can begin to prune side branches for thicker growth.
You should prune dead branches or stems off at the base or into the main stem of a tree when pruning.
When two branches are crossing or two branches develop from the same branch, remove the weaker branch leaving about 2cm between the branch and the main stem. Use loppers or a pruning saw for larger branches.
Deadheading Spent Blooms
In addition to creating a tidier appearance, deadheading spent flowers allows the plant to put all of its energy into producing new blooms rather than making seeds. Consequently, deadheading spend flowers usually results in bigger blooms.
Some flowering plants like hibiscus, however, are self-cleaning, and the spent flowers fall off the plant, so deadheading is not necessary.
The flowers of foliage plants such as Aglaonema are often cut off and the plant concentrates all its energy on producing stunning foliage. As a result, varieties of foliage plants such as this are primarily used for their colorful or intricate leaves, not for their flowers.
Using a clean pair of scissors or hand clippers, you can clip off the flower head from the plant after it has faded.
The leaves of your houseplant can reveal if it’s not having the best time. Plant stress from pests or diseases can be evident on the foliage.
Foliage can show the effects by turning brown or yellow at the leaf tips, or even the entire leaf can turn brown. Of course, this leaves your houseplant looking anything but attractive.
In order to correctly diagnose leaf problems, you need to figure out what caused the situation in the first place so that you can correct it. Too much fertilizer, vitamin D deficiency, or sucking pests can all lead to leaf problems.
Trimming A Leaf Portion
It may be suitable to remove the brownish tips or small yellowish sections of the leaves if the cause was the cause of the browning or yellowing and you preferred it.
The affected part of the plant should be removed if you suspect the damage to be the result of a disease. You do not have to remove the affected part if it is not due to a disease.
The inside of a houseplant does not have to be perfect all the time, so if there are a few brown tips or crispy edges, that’s okay. That’s what I usually do.
The affected leaf section can be gently trimmed to make the plant look prettier. When you cut into healthy leaf, a brown edge may appear, so you may want to leave a small margin of brown or yellow. It won’t be ideal, but it will get you close.
In the long run, it’s best to identify what’s causing your houseplant’s leaf problems and take steps to correct them so that new growth stays lush and healthy.
Trimming Off A Leaf
In the case of a dead or unsightly leaf, you can trim it off using a clean pair of scissors or hand pruners at the base of the branch. Upon noticing many affected leaves, try removing a portion of them and waiting a few weeks before you remove the remainder. This will ensure that the plant grows healthy new leaves.
If you’ve had to trim your houseplant quite a bit, provide it with proper aftercare to ensure it recovers quickly and produces new growth. Pruning puts the plant under short-term stress, so it is important to avoid causing additional stress by not pruning properly.
Following pruning, here are some tips on how to get your houseplant off to a good start:
For plants normally kept in direct sunlight, it is best to move them temporarily to indirect light to reduce stress. Direct sunlight can cause wilting and other problems for plants.
Keeping your plants in a darker area can slow photosynthesis and stunt growth. Moving them to a brighter area will accelerate the process. Ficus benjamina is one houseplant that dislikes being moved.
Houseplants should not be repotted at the same time as they are pruned. Repotting causes root damage, which causes stress on top of the stress caused by pruning. Allow at least four weeks between pruning and repotting.
For at least 4 weeks after pruning, avoid fertilizing your houseplant. Over fertilizing can result in root damage, which increases plant stress, so let the plant regroup. Then, resume your normal fertilizing regime.
The plant’s water requirement will probably be lower following pruning because the foliage will be reduced.
The first few weeks are crucial for the new growth of the pruned plant. Adjust the watering schedule accordingly.