Plants can get tall

19. Cut back & shaped cut
The green thumb

Plants grown indoors do not normally need to be grown in the same way as outdoor plants, e.g. B. roses or fruit trees are cut. However, it can happen that even a houseplant becomes too big for the apartment or that the plant grows irregularly and then a rejuvenation or topiary cut is necessary. Another reason to prune houseplants is to encourage dense, bushy growth.

Trim in shape and encourage branching
With the right cutting, you can bring such plants back to a reasonable size or trim them into the desired shape. In addition, pruning the plants encourages new shoots from sleeping eyes directly below the cut. In the case of plants cared for in apartments, a distinction is made between two cutting measures: breaking out the shoots and pruning the plant.

Cut back the plant

The Cutting the shoots of a plant those that are not lignified are made with a sharp knife. Lignified shoots are always pruned with secateurs. Very thick shoots are cut with pruning shears or a saw.

Simple, light cutbacks
With a simple pruning of the plant, the respective shoot is shortened to just above the uppermost sleeping eye. A sleeping eye can be recognized by the slight bulging of the bark. So only the upper part of a shoot is slightly trimmed. In this way the branching of this instinct is promoted. The cuts in the upper areas of the shoots usually heal quickly in most plants.

Strong cut back
A more drastic cut will cut off the stem at the bottom. With such a strong pruning, at least one sleeping eye should always remain on the shoot. If you cut below the last sleeping eye, the shoot dies because it can no longer sprout again.

Breaking out the shoots of a plant

When breaking out the shoots of a plant, only remove the short tip of a shoot, pieces longer than 1 to 3 cm should not be broken out. If possible, break out immediately above one eye, i.e. the point of vegetation from which a leaf or a pair of leaves originates. If the eyes grow very close together, the tip of the shoot should be removed up to the second eye, calculated from above.

Breaking out is like a slight cut back
The breaking out of the shoots is actually a careful pruning; this type of shortening a plant is also called stripping or pinching.

Break out with your fingers or with a tool
When breaking out, the shoot is broken out between the thumb and index fingernail. Alternatively, and especially with tougher, harder or slightly woody plant shoots, you can use a sharp knife or pointed scissors.

Well-rooted cuttings are broken out
Breaking out the shoots usually makes sense when freshly rooted cuttings develop vigorously and quickly. A dense, bushy growth of the plant is achieved by breaking out.

Break out fast growing plants
Fast-growing plants with soft shoots, such as indoor hops, colored nettles or water tendrils, whose shoots become very long and sparse after a while, are suitable for breaking out the shoot tips. By breaking the tips on such plants, one or two sleeping eyes in the lower attachment of the shoot are usually stimulated to new shoots. The side shoots that then develop should also be broken out later in order to promote the bushy growth of the plant even further.

The right time to cut the plants

The tips of the shoots of fast-growing plants can be broken out throughout the summer from the beginning of the main growing season. Breaking out and other not so drastic pruning measures, with which one achieves a bushy growth of the plant, can always be carried out during the growing season if necessary.

Strong cuts in woody plants only at the end of the dormant period
Drastic pruning measures with a strong pruning of the main and secondary shoots of a plant should only be carried out at the beginning of the main growing season. This is especially true for woody plants. Only then is the fresh sprouting secured to the sleeping eyes of the plant. With some shrubs, citrus plants and myrtle trees, for example, if you cut long, woody shoots back to the length of the rest, you can get a nice growth pattern.

Strong cuts in herbaceous plants
At the end of the growing season, herbaceous, bushy plants can develop some long, unsightly shoots despite the regular breakout of the shoot tips. You cut such shoots back to just above the ground and leave the short stumps. New shoots develop from these during the next growing season. Flowering or fruit-bearing plants such as pelargonium and solanum are also cut back in this way at the end of the growing season.

Cut back shrub-like plants
As a rule, most shrub-like plants should only be pruned in order to require a new, compact, bushy growth. Fuchsias, oleanders and hibiscus, for example, sprout fresh if the woody shoots are cut back relatively far. As soon as the old woody shoots of these plants have lost their leaves, pruning back into the old wood encourages young shoots to sprout at the base of the plant.

Shortening shoot tips due to lack of space does not make sense
If you want to influence the height or the lateral extension of a plant by cutting back the shoot tips due to a lack of space, the success usually does not last long, as the pruning measure usually also promotes stronger growth of the plant.

If there is not enough space, you should shorten it considerably
For example, if the top of a rubber tree reaches the ceiling, cutting back the top is of little use. The plant quickly forms new side shoots that grow back up to the ceiling. If you want to continue cultivating a plant that has grown too large, you have to prune back vigorously by half a meter or more.

Pruning climbing indoor plants
Climbing houseplants in particular, such as bougainvillea and passion flowers, grow so quickly that they should be severely pruned at the end of each year. The side shoots and the main shoot of the plants are shortened. However, you can also cut off all side shoots flush on the main shoot and also shorten the main shoot.

Climbing plants: bushy or long growth?
If you want to grow a strongly branching, bushy climbing plant through the cut, you shorten the main shoot by several centimeters. However, if you want a long, single-shoot plant, all weak side shoots must be removed regularly.

Special features of flowers and variegated plants

If single-colored green shoots form on plants that are actually variegated, they should be removed immediately at the point of attachment. The green shoots on the plants develop faster and more vigorously than the variegated leaves. If the green shoots are not removed, the variegated leaves of the plant will soon be displaced.

Multicolored-leaved climbing plants can partially turn green
However, the variegated, long-growing shoots of climbing plants are an exception. If such a shoot grows through a zone with insufficient light, the leaves turn green at this point. As soon as the tip of the shoot comes near a window again, colorful leaves form again. With flowering plants you always break off the withered flowers. The plant then not only looks better, but also often forms new more flowers and saves energy that it would use for the formation of the seeds.

Buy planters, tubs and hanging baskets