A lot of people are afraid to mess with their plants, but if done correctly it is perfectly safe (and actually a good act of plant parenting!). Pruning can have many benefits including making new plant babies through propagation. You can read about that on our POP Wilder propagation blog post. Beyond that, pruning is good for the health of your plant and is oddly satisfying to do! Win-win!
Know when to prune
The ‘right time’ can vary from plant to plant, but most indoor plants will enjoy a good prune at the end of winter/start of spring (ideally), alternatively, through the summertime can also work! While those times are ideal, be sure to keep an eye on your plants all year round. If they’re growing too bushy, or have a few dead leaves, then give them a chop!
2. Use the right tools
Always use clean, sharp tools. Required tools will vary depending on the plant, most indoor plants can be pruned with sharp, clean scissors, but thicker or woodier plants may require shears or secateurs. Always make sure your tools have been sterilised as bacteria can infect or damage your plant! Pop Wilder sells shears in store that are the perfect tool for any indoor plant owner.
3. Trim at the right spots
As a rule of thumb, you want to prune just above the node of a plant (where the stalk of each leaf joins to the stem), and if it’s a vining plant, you want your cutting to have a visible root node in it to be able to propagate (see our propagation blog post). Most plants have a ‘dormant’ growth point at these nodes, so pruning your Fiddle Leaf Fig, for example, just above where a branch meets the trunk, will encourage new growth.
4. Remove dead leaves
Dead plant growth doesn’t just look bad, but it can actually be bad for the plant when left alone. Decaying leaves left on the plant (and also in the soil) can invite pests/bugs/infection to wreak havoc and cause trouble. You may also find that you have damaged leaves or marks on your leaves, do not be afraid to trim these off (you do not need to remove the whole leaf!). Once again, please make sure your scissors or shears are clean. It is also good practice to remove any dead flowers or blooms that are hanging around on your plant; do this by trimming just below the dead flowers.
5. Pinch prune
This is when you trim just the very end of each shoot during the growing season, often done by pinching the top of your plant with a finger and thumb. Pinching plants is done to help encourage new, lush growth. By removing the main stem, you force the plant to grow more new stems from the leaf nodes below the pinch or cut. This can also help keep your plant compact and bushy.
Overall, pruning is not only good for the plant's aesthetics, but good for its health. Have fun giving your plants haircuts!