How to Trim Your Plants in 5 Simple Steps
We are going to take the mystery out of how to trim your plants, so your plant babies can produce more blooms and will grow healthier and stronger.
Learning how to trim your plants is important because it prevents pests, such as fungus gnats, and mold. It also prevents your plant from looking thin, and it helps your plant to keep a shape and size perfect for your home. Plus, your plant grows healthier and stronger when you trim and remove dead or dying leaves. Don’t stress because learning how to trim your plants properly is pretty easy. We will teach you everything you need to know, so you can avoid creating undue stress on your plant babies.
When Should You Trim Plants
Aside from the fact that you should know how to trim your plants, it’s also important to know when to trim your plants because timing is everything when you do this task. Typically, plants should be pruned at the beginning of the growing season. This means late winter or early spring.
If you have flowering plants, you should prune right after a cycle of flowering. However, woody indoor plants are exempted from this rule because it requires year-round pruning to remove dead branches and leaves.
Materials You Will Need
- Gardening gloves (optional)
- Kitchen scissors
- Mature, overgrown houseplant
- Pruning shears
How to Trim Your Plants
Before you start clipping and snipping, you should know first what you are looking to remove. Is it dead leaves or diseased branches? If you’re trimming a diseased part of a plant, it’s best to cut well below, and don’t prune when it’s wet outside because the water can spread the disease. You should also cut back any limbs that disrupt on walkways.
Step 1: Observe Your Plant
Carefully look at the shape and structure of your houseplant. Does it have any diseased or dying leaves? Does it look fuller on one side? Is it growing spindly? If you answered yes to all three questions, then it’s time to grab your pruning shears and trim your plant. Don’t forget to check for areas of “latent buds,” these are little buds or new sprouting leaves.
Step 2: Determine Your Tools
The tools you are going to use in trimming depends on how thick or thin your plant’s branches are. For thick branches, use pruning shears. For slender branches, use kitchen scissors. Be sure that both tools are clean.
Step 3: Remove Dead Leaves or Diseased Parts
Cut off dead leaves and stems. For stems that have rotted at the root, gently pull them out. Make sure to let the soil completely dry before watering again.
Step 4: Make Your Cuts
Make sure that your cuts are sharp and smart to encourage new growth. We advise that you cut just before a leaf node, or cut as close to the main stem as possible if you are trimming larger stems. Just a reminder that once you learn how to trim your plants, the task can be fun, but do not remove more than 25% of the plant.
Step 5: Encourage Luxuriant New Growth
Choose the stems of your houseplant, carefully trim off the dominant buds and some branches back by a quarter, then others by half, and the remaining selected branches all the way back to their base. You might be confused, but trust us, when your houseplant starts to grow new leaves again, the random growth pattern will fill it out into a beautiful shape.
Omysa Tip: Make sure that you are using clean and sharp pruning shears or scissors because any cut you made to your plant’s tissue can expose it to disease. It’s best to clean and disinfect them between each use with a mild bleach-and-water solution or rubbing alcohol.
Houseplants That Shouldn’t Be Pruned
Yes, not ALL houseplants can be pruned or trimmed. For example, Palms and Norfolk Island Pines because removing the dominant bud will kill the plant. Another example would be varieties of orchids, except if you’re removing dead flower spikes, but that’s it.
It’s easy to learn how to trim your plants, right? Plus, cutting away dead branches or leaves to keep the plant presentable can help you destress. Don’t forget to give your plants a little misting and a good drink, if the soil is dry, after pruning or trimming it.
Grow your plant knowledge. Check out our Plant Care blog to learn more about different houseplants and tips on how to keep your plants alive and healthy.