- What is Pruning?
- Purpose of Pruning
- When is a good time to Prune
- What to Prune?
- Taking care after Pruning
What is Pruning?
Purpose of Pruning
- Maintaining Plant Health: Dead or dying sections of the plant can encourage pest infestation or disease. Removing these not only makes your houseplant look better, but reduces the risk of future problems down the line.
- Training a Plant: Pruning trains plant to promote or create a certain shape, height or width of a plant (lateral branching, bushy/compact form, etc.).
- Make a plant bushier: Removing the tips of a stem releases a chemical that stimulates the growth of more side-shoots and bushier growth. Use pruning clippers or your fingers (with gloves on) to nip out the tips.
- Keeping large plants in size: Plants can sometimes grow to become too large for a particular space, requiring their growth to be pruned out. Branches are pruned out accordingly to reduce the overall height and/or width. Removing or reducing long stems will help keep a plant’s size in check.
- Improving quality of Foliage: Foliage plants are grown almost exclusively for their foliage. Only a handful are grown for their blooms as well their foliage. A variety of plants bloom but these blooms need to be removed to encourage strong foliage development that is otherwise sacrificed somewhat to bloom development and seed production.
When is a good time to prune your Houseplants?
What should be Pruned?
- Dead, broken or cracked stems
- Diseased or discolouredstems
- Stems that are rubbing against one another
- Overly long stems that create a lopsided shape
- Tips of stems to encourage bushy growth
- Leading stem at the top of the plant, to prevent it from growing too tall
- Old flowering stems to encourage re-flowering
- Stems of plain-coloured leaves on variegated plants
- Brown or discoloured leaves
Tips after Pruning your Houseplants
- Avoid excessively bright conditions.Plants normally kept in direct sunlight are best moved to bright, indirect light for a few weeks to reduce potential stress from excess sun exposure.
- If your plant is normally kept in a darker area, try moving it to somewhere a little brighter. This will speed up photosynthesis and boost the development of new growth.
- Avoid the desire to repot at the same time as pruning your houseplants. Repotting may lead to root damage, which causes stress to your plants on top of that caused by pruning. Leave a gap of at least 4 weeks between pruning and repotting for most houseplants.
- Avoid fertilizing your houseplant for about 3-4 weeks after pruning.
- Due to the reduction in foliage, the plant’s water needs will probably be lower than before it was pruned. Adjust your watering schedule as needed for the first few weeks while the plant start’s developing new growth.
Sanitizing your tools: When you have finished pruning your plant, clean your tools with a disinfectant, rinse them under the tap and dry well.
Plants not to be pruned
Reference links used:
3. Practical Houseplant Book (RHS, Fran Bailey & Zia Allaway)