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Pruning Houseplants

Martha Stewart Living, September 2000

In addition to shaping plants and removing yellowed and withered leaves, pruning encourages low-growing foliage, which makes plants fuller and more attractive. Lightly prune houseplants regularly during their active growth, but leave hard pruning for spring and fall.

How to Prune Houseplants
Always use sharp scissors or pruning shears that won't crush stems or leave jagged edges, which can invite disease.

1. To shape lightly during the growing season, snip off withered or yellowed stems, spent flower heads, and elongated or overzealous growth. After pruning shaggy outer parts, probe inside the plant and remove hidden dieback there.

2. To encourage denser, more compact growth in spring and fall, snip stems just above a new leaf or leaf node. Prune heavily in spring, when plants can rebound during growth season, or in fall to prepare plants for winter.