Deadheading and Pruning Your Houseplants

Plants will always need a little pruning or training to keep them looking their best. There are three main tasks you will need to carry out; deadheading, pinching out and removing damage.


Once a plant has flowered, its instinct is to try to set seed. If it is allowed to do this, it will put lots of energy into producing seed, and little into producing more flowers. To prevent this happening, keep an eye on your flowering plants. As the flowers fade, simply nip them off the plant using your fingers. This will encourage the plant to produce more flowers.

Pinching out and pruning

Plants have strong hormones that encourage them to get as large as possible. If a central stem is growing strongly, these hormones inhibit the growth of all the side shoots so that the lead shoot can grow quickly up to the light, often shedding lower leaves as it goes. This natural instinct to grow as tall as possible can lead to indoor plants growing leggy. To prevent this, nip out the top pair of leaves with secateurs or with fingers and thumb. Once this strong growing point has been removed, the plant will spread its energy to the rest of the plant, making side shoots sprout, and creating a bushy plant. You can repeat this many times over to keep the plant compact and bushy.

If the plant has already grown leggy, prune further back. Always cut back to a point just above where a leaf emerges from the stem.

Removing damage

If parts of the plant have died back or become damaged they should be removed to prevent the problem from spreading to other parts of the plant. Cut back into healthy growth. Leaves of many plants such as ferns die back as a matter of course, so should be regularly removed to prevent build-up of dead material.

10. July 2017 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: House Plants | Tags: , , , | Comments Off on Deadheading and Pruning Your Houseplants


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