How to Prune a Houseplant

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

Get tips on how to prune your houseplants so they can stay healthy and continue to grow.

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Start with a healthy plant

Pruning is a skill that takes time to learn. If you’re new to the game, it’s best to start with a healthy plant that doesn’t have any major issues. That way, you can get a feel for how much you can trim without doing any harm. When you’re ready to tackle a more complicated pruning job, here are a few pointers to keep in mind.

Start with a healthy plant
The first step is to make sure you have a healthy plant.Prune away any dead or dying leaves, stems, or flowers. Cut back any branches that are crossing or rubbing against each other. These crossed branches can damage the bark and open the plant up to disease. Once you’ve removed the dead or damaged parts of the plant, take a look at the overall shape of the plant.

Assess the plant’s needs

Pruning is a necessary and healthy practice for many houseplants, encouraging new growth and preventing them from becoming overgrown. But before you start snipping away, it’s important to assess the plant’s needs. Does it need to be pruned? If so, how much?

To start, take a look at the plant as a whole. Is it growing evenly? Are the leaves healthy and green, or are they yellowing or browning? If the plant is lopsided or if there are dead or dying leaves, pruning may be necessary.

In general, you should prune annuals and perennials every year to encourage new growth. Both should be cut back to about one-third of their original size. Woody plants like shrubs and trees usually don’t need to be pruned every year, but they may benefit from occasional pruning to remove dead or diseased branches.

Once you’ve determined that the plant needs to be pruned, take a closer look at the individual branches. Are they long and spindly? Are there any that are crossing or rubbing against each other? These are all good candidates for trimming.

It’s also important to consider the time of year when you’ll be doing the pruning. Some plants bleed sap when cut, so it’s best to avoid pruning them in late winter or early spring when they’re preparing for new growth. Plants that bloom in spring or summer may also need to have their blooming stems trimmed back after flowering has finished for the season.

When in doubt, err on the side of caution and only remove a small amount of growth at a time. You can always go back and trim more later if necessary.

Prune away dead or dying leaves and stems

You should prune away any dead or dying leaves and stems as soon as you notice them. Dead or dying leaves and stems can provide a home for pests and diseases, which can spread to healthy parts of the plant. To prune away dead or dying leaves and stems:

-Using sharp, clean scissors or pruning shears, cut the stem or leaf off at the point where it meets a healthy stem or leaf.
-Make your cut at a 45-degree angle so that water will run off the wound.
-Do not leave a stub, as this can provide a home for pests and diseases.

Prune away diseased leaves and stems

Prune away diseased leaves and stems as soon as you notice them. Be sure to sterilize your pruning shears before and after each cut by dipping them in a solution of one part bleach to nine parts water. This will help prevent the spread of disease.

Next, remove any damaged or dead leaves or stems. Again, sterilize your shears before and after each cut.

Finally, cut back any long or leggy growth to encourage fuller, bushier growth. Make each cut just above a leaf node (the point where a leaf is attached to the stem).

Prune away crowded or overgrown leaves and stems

To keep your houseplant looking its best, you’ll need to prune away crowded or overgrown leaves and stems. Pruning also encourages new growth, which gives your plant a fuller, healthier appearance.

Here’s what you’ll need to do:

1. Cut away any leaves or stems that are Crowded or overgrown.
2. Cut at an angle just above a node (the point where leaves or stems attach to the main stem).
3. Remove any dead or dying leaves or stems.
4. trim back the tips of branches to promote new growth.

Finish up

To finish up, remove any remaining leaves that are yellowing or browning. These leaves are no longer able to photosynthesize and are taking away energy from the rest of the plant. Once you’ve removed all of the sick or dead leaves, give the plant a final trimming to even out the shape.

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About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books

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