Pruning and Training House Plants

Pruning and Training House Plants

Pruning and training House plants is carried out in the interest of shapeliness, and for curbing untidy and weak growth. This should only be carried out when the plants have become well-rooted and are making active growth. When it is necessary to remove weak shoot growth or to cut back a plant the best time of year to do it is the latter half of spring. Unwanted growth should be cut out right at its base, or at the junction with an older stem from which new growth is desired.

Many plants such as pileas and aphelandras lose most of their leaves In winter. If this does happen they should be cut back to about 2 inches above the soil level. New growths should then begin from this base. In the case of climbing plants, bushy growth can be encouraged by the simple process of stopping or pinching outthe growing tips of shoots just above a leaf. Ivies and climbing philodendrons are treated in this way. If climbers are being trained in any particular direction, then unwanted shoots can also be cut back.

grevillea robusta Some house plants are really trees and may need curtailment in time. This is frequently the case with such plants as Ficus elastica and Grevillea robusta. These can be induced to branch by shortening them in spring. Flowering plants, which form their buds on new growth each year, can be pruned quite hard in the spring but those that form their buds on older growth need very little pruning beyond the cutting back of occasional shoots to keep a shapely appearance. Some of the more decorative foliage plants, such as Coleus, produce insignificant flowers which should be pinched out to prevent leaf loss after flowering.

Climbing plants such as Cissus, and trailing plants such as Tmdescantia, can be kept neat by having their growing points stopped from time to time, when necessary, during the growing season. Some plants may tend to bleed after being cut and should be dressed with a proprietary antiseptic.

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