KEEPING YOUR PLANTS IN SHAPE
If your plant has lost its shape, is threatening to outgrow its space, or has areas of dead or diseased growth, it needs a trim – HOW TO PRUNE.
Regular pruning can also encourage more flowers to form and make plants bushier, so follow these simple pruning techniques to keep your plants neat and in good health.
1# Keep a large plant compact
Removing or reducing long stems will help keep a plant’s size in check, but pruning too frequently can actually stimulate growth, so cut it back just once or twice a year.
2# Make a plant bushier
Removing the tips of a stem releases a chemical that stimulates the growth of more sideshoots lower down, and bushier growth.
Use garden scissors or your fingers to nip out the tips.
3# Remove dead or diseased parts
Cut out areas of the plant that look dead or diseased, and disinfect tools after use.
Also remove stems that are rubbing against each other, which may cause abrasions.
4# Encourage more flowers
Deadhead your plants by taking out the old flowering stems after the blooms have faded.
This diverts the plant’s energy from making seeds into producing more flowers.
WHAT TO PRUNE
1- Dead, broken, or cracked stems
2- Diseased stems or any that are discolored or marked
3- Stems that are rubbing against one another
4- Brown or discolored leaves
5- Overly long stems that create a lopsided shape
6- Tips of stems, to encourage bushy growth
7- Leading stem(s) at the top of the plant, to prevent it from growing too tall
8- Old flowering stems, to encourage reflowering
9- Stems of plain-colored leaves on variegated plants
HOW TO PRUNE?
While you can cut back unhealthy growth at any time of year, most plants are best pruned during early spring, before they start a period of rapid growth, check the Plant Profiles chapter to confirm your plant’s pruning needs.
Always check the plant before you begin so that you know which stems you will need to remove.
1- When pruning, use sharp garden scissors to cut just above a leaf stem, node (bump on the stem where new growth will develop), or side stem, where it meets the main stem.
To take out a whole stem, remove it at the base.
2- Remove any dead, damaged, or diseased stems, cutting them back to healthy growth.
Also cut out stems that are rubbing against one another.
On variegated plants, remove any stems of plain, solid-colored leaves.
3- Once unhealthy growth is removed, reassess the plant’s shape and cut away stems that are creating an awkward or lopsided shape. If there are gaps in the outline, prune the stem tips around,them to encourage bushier growth.
4- If your plant is as tall as you want it to be, take out the leading stem to prevent further growth.
When you have finished pruning your plant, clean your tools with household disinfectant, rinse them in the sink, and dry well.
WHAT YOU WILL NEED?
- Misshapen or large plant that has outgrown its space
- Sharp, clean garden scissors
- Household disinfectant