How to trim indoor plants?
Pruning indoor plants is one of the important care points. And the most individual. It can be reduced to the removal of dry or damaged parts, and can become the basis of a beautiful silhouette, stimulate more magnificent flowering or rejuvenation. It is impossible to maintain the compact size and healthy state of indoor crops without trimming. And although there is nothing complicated in it, you should not forget about the individual approach, and adhere to general norms and rules.
Types of pruning indoor plants
Pruning is considered an optional indoor plant care item. Not all cultures need a haircut, but still almost no plants can do without purely hygienic pruning. It is thanks to pruning that they maintain a healthy and neat appearance of the plant, restore or improve its decorativeness, maintain a balance between the root system so much limited in its volume and the aerial parts. Improving, stimulating, regulating, restraining plants, pruning indoor crops allows you to reveal all their beauty.
Depending on the task facing this procedure, several types of pruning of indoor plants are distinguished:
- Cleaning, or sanitary pruning.
- Pinching and shortening of shoots, budding.
- Crown formation.
- Anti-aging trimmings.
One houseplant needs only one type of pruning, the other - all four. Conducting them at the same time is not necessary, but to do everything necessary is much easier.
Houseplant pruning rules
Regardless of the type of pruning, it should be started by checking the individual preferences of indoor crops and recommendations for pruning individual plants. There are plants that can’t stand even a simple pinching of the tops of branches, but there are plants that are not afraid of even frequent haircuts. In addition to studying general information, it is worth examining the plant itself. A careful analysis of the condition, the allocation of unproductive or damaged shoots, the study of how the plant develops, will help to choose the necessary degree of pruning for each particular plant.
Regularity, consistency in the scraps is the main secret of simplifying these actions. If you do not wait until there is a visible need for scraps, prevent overgrowing, baldness, loss of decorativeness, and constantly maintain pets in perfect shape, the need for time-consuming and traumatic scraps will disappear.
Sanitary cleaning is repeated annually, at the beginning of the stage of active growth, repeating it as necessary throughout the year and maintaining the purity of the plant. Formation is carried out once a year or regularly for those in need of haircuts. Rejuvenation is combined with sanitary cleaning and shaping, carried out regularly or urgently.
When performing all types of pruning, it is important to follow the general rules, which are largely similar to the norms of pruning garden crops. Their main goal is to take all necessary measures to prevent problems with plant health.
The main rules for trimming indoor crops:
1. Work with sharp and well-chosen tools for this task. Pruning does enough damage to plants, and there’s no need to strengthen it.
2. Hygiene. When working with indoor plants, you must adhere to the general sanitary rules. Clean hands, tools and surfaces, mandatory care and disinfection of the working surfaces of tools are important for trimming no less than its quality. Particular care should be taken with capricious crops and those plants that belong to poisonous. It is necessary to protect during pruning not only the plants themselves, but also the surfaces on which work is carried out, and the skin.
3. It is better not to transplant and trim at the same time. The recommendations for most houseplants indicate that pruning should be done at the same time as the transplant. But to carry them out simultaneously is impractical. Trimming is carried out before or after changing the substrate, leaving between the procedures a sufficient time period for adaptation. Each of these procedures causes harm to the plant. And there is no need to strengthen it (as well as the risk of contamination of the cuts with soil).
4. Slices must be correct. Performing slices only at an angle and above the kidneys will help you never make a mistake in trimming indoor crops. The shoot is radically cut to the very bottom, to the level of the soil or to the point of attachment to the trunk. Partial pruning is carried out, leaving a 3-7 mm shoot above the kidney. It is necessary to take into account the orientation of the kidney: its location will allow you to "direct" the development of the crown horizontally or vertically. The requirements are maintained, according to which, on indoor plants, the cut is carried out at such an angle that the new shoots grow outward, and not inside the crown, and so that the cut is directed away from the kidney.
5. The general terms for trimming on indoor plants are very arbitrary, because in each individual case, the time for this procedure is better to choose individually. Pruning is always best done at the beginning of the active vegetation stage and in the spring. A long warm season ahead allows plants to renew even after a cardinal cut. But one can deviate from this rule depending on the development cycle and the state of the plants.
6. During pruning, you need to periodically evaluate the result. Mowing indoor plants, especially when shaping the silhouette, is easy to get carried away. By making periodic stops and inspecting plants near and from a distance, you can prevent the consequences of excessive zeal and keep your gusts in time.
The most important pruning rule is the timely treatment of wounds. When pinching the tops or working with thin shoots, you can rely on your own plant immunity. But it is better to disinfect and process any cuts, especially on large shoots, immediately.
For this, special preparations (balms or powders for processing cuts on garden and greenhouse plants), and such simple tools as crushed charcoal or sulfur powder are suitable. Slices are processed carefully, capturing the entire area. If necessary, repeat the treatment. For plants that secrete a large amount of juice (for example, in euphorbiaceae), the sections are allowed to dry before processing.
After pruning, the plant needs time to adapt. It is placed in “mild”, intermediate conditions, protected from excessive heat, dry air and direct sunlight. Watering on plants after pruning is carried out very carefully, avoiding extremes and adhering to general recommendations for a particular species. Fertilizing will help the plant recover faster, but it is better to resume these procedures after the plant starts growing again, and only if transplantation was not performed shortly before or after pruning.
Tools for trimming indoor crops
Any trimming is carried out with convenient, clean and sharp tools. For small twigs and juicy shoots, you can use a sharp knife (garden knives are preferred, but other types can be used - for example, a clerical knife with its thin blade), if the pruning is very delicate - a scalpel or blade. But more often pruning on indoor plants is carried out with manual scissors to trim flowers and plants. Stationery or household scissors cause plants much more harm.
For pinching (pincing) most often do not use tools. But sometimes, to work on trimming the tops, it is more advisable to use small scissors or special tools to form a bonsai. With a large collection of plants with strong shoots, it is better to use sharp garden secateurs or special secateurs for working with flowers and indoor plants, which differ in room sizes compared to garden tools.
Scissors and secateurs - the minimum set, allowing you to cut both thin and more powerful branches on any plants.
Whatever cutting tool you use, the main thing is their cleanliness and regular sharpening. It is impossible to trim indoor plants with non-sharp tools. Squeezing the tissue, “torn” edges lead not only to problems with the healing of sections, but also are associated with a high risk of infection. When working with each individual plant, the tools must not only be cleaned, but disinfected, ensuring that your actions do not lead to the spread of dangerous diseases. The easiest option is alcohol and boiling water treatment.
This type of pruning is carried out for all, without exception, indoor plants - even those that do not have or have reduced shoots. The easiest way to call this pruning is cleaning: removing all dry, damaged or unproductive leaves and shoots, you maintain the health and immunity of plants. At the same time, not only the loss of decorative effect is prevented, but also the spread of pests and diseases.
Sanitary pruning directed:
- to remove growing inside the crown, thinned, weak, old, damaged or dry shoots;
- removal of dry or damaged leaves;
- removal of dry peduncles and wilted flowers.
Sanitary pruning does not have strict rules. All dry or damaged shoots are removed to the base, and if damage does not affect most of the twigs - to healthy tissues. Thin, unproductive twigs are cut out completely. Heavily damaged leaves are removed completely, dried along the edge - cut off, leaving a thin strip of dry tissue in front of a healthy area. Faded flowers and inflorescences are cut to the first full leaf or to the base of the peduncle.
They clean the plants after a dormant period, at the beginning of an active vegetation, repeating this procedure partly and during the season as necessary, during and after flowering, during leaf dropping in deciduous species, etc.
Sanitary pruning is necessarily supplemented by removing contaminated parts from the top of the substrate, including removing dry fallen leaves and plant debris. If the topsoil is heavily contaminated, then it is better to complete sanitary pruning by partially replacing the free substrate at the top of the earthen coma with a fresh one.
Restraining trim is the easiest. Nailing (the term synonymous with tweezing is also popular) and shortening are measures that are carried out throughout the active growth stage in order to prevent excessive elongation of branches, stimulate the growth of lateral branches or improve the quality of flowering. In fact, all these terms are synonyms and we are talking about a very simple procedure - removing the top of the shoot or extra buds. These are mini-prunings, the easiest measures to form and contain plants.
Pinching, or tweezing, involves the removal of the upper growth point, the upper pair of leaves or the upper segment of the stems of cacti and succulents. So, the separation after flowering of 1-2 segments of each stalk of Schlumbergera in the next season allows for more abundant flowering, and pinching the tops of young plants to get thicker bushes. Buds are plucked mainly from large-flowered houseplants. Excess buds, formed in large numbers, worsen the quality of individual flowers, so the timely removal of the ovaries allows you to achieve the most spectacular spectacle.
Tweezers have several tasks:
- By removing the apical point of growth, they stimulate the growth of new lateral and productive shoots.
- A simple procedure that does not require injury to the shoots and special knowledge, thicken the crown.
- The plant is not allowed to stretch, stimulate growth in all directions.
The shortening of the shoots is somewhat different from pinching. In this case, not only the apical kidney is removed, but also all the excess or excessively elongated upper part of the shoot. By removing a third or half the length of the twigs, the plant is not allowed to stretch, timely inhibit growth and maintain compact size. Shortening is most often used on indoor vines.
Formative pruning of indoor plants
Crown formation - measures that are used for indoor trees, bushes and bushy perennials, which, with proper pruning, can be given greater compactness or severity. To stimulate thickening and maintain ideal sizes, to keep the plant in shape or to set a style for it - these goals are only for you to determine.
Formative trimming is aimed at performing several tasks at once:
- stimulating the growth of lateral and young shoots;
- flowering stimulation;
- prevention of stretching, the formation of long, low-leaf, unattractive branches;
- alignment of the crown, maintaining its symmetry and attractiveness;
- artificial creation of a strict silhouette - spherical, pyramidal, umbrella-shaped, bouquet, etc .;
- reduction in the size of large plants;
- maintaining constant contours or shapes;
- thickening of foliage.
All these measures allow you to preserve the beauty of indoor plants and make them more attractive, consistent with the style of the interior and the tastes of the owners.
Forming pruning is traditionally carried out most often in the early spring, when the first signs of the onset of active growth of the plant appear, or at the very end of the dormant stage. For flowering plants, pruning can also be done after flowering is completed, removing all faded parts and creating the desired silhouette and size, stimulating the formation of shoots that will bloom profusely next year. But you should always focus on the features of flowering:
- for plants that bloom on annual shoots, pruning is carried out at the beginning of active growth;
- plants blooming on last year's shoots do not form, removing faded parts to the first true leaf;
- degenerate plants are pruned after flowering by regular rejuvenation.
Within any formation, there is a mandatory procedure - the removal of excess, thickening and unproductive shoots, or general sanitary cleaning. It is worth starting the cropping with it. Only getting rid of all that is superfluous, they proceed to the formation itself.
The most reliable reference for forming pruning is symmetry assessment. Uniform plant growth and various deviations from symmetry indicate those areas that need to be trimmed. When creating a strict form, you can use a special template or frame, which is applied to the plant, cutting off everything unnecessary. But focusing on uniform growth and determining symmetry will help to trim evenly even without a template.
Forming pruning can be light or strong. Usually it is carried out, focusing on the desired dimensions or contours. You can cut the shoots of indoor plants up to 2/3 of their length, but you should always focus on the number of buds and leaves, growth rates, tolerance of plants to pruning. Leaving less than 2 buds on the branches is undesirable.
Rejuvenation of indoor plants
Anti-aging trimmings, in contrast to the formation of plants, are aimed at updating the crown, accelerating growth and restoring decorativeness. They are carried out on old or rapidly aging plants, those indoor crops that are naturally prone to stretching shoots, dropping lower leaves, losing their “shape” and compact size. Needs rejuvenation and plants affected by improper conditions of maintenance or care.
Without rejuvenation, indoor shrubs and trees, such as roses and hydrangeas, will not please their beauty for many years. But even the classic indoor indoor cultures like pelargonium and fuchsia rejuvenating pruning helps to always stay in shape.
The timing of the anti-aging pruning depends on the age and condition of the plant. The optimal period is spring or after flowering. But in any case, it is better to rejuvenate during the stage of active growth, because after cardinal pruning in the resting period, indoor plants may not recover.
Anti-aging scraps are:
1. Regular. With the constant removal of the oldest shoots, the constant renewal of the crown is stimulated, the problem of loss of decorativeness over time is prevented. Thanks to regular rejuvenation, indoor plants maintain a constant decorative effect, there is no need to carry out radical pruning and there is no threat of plant loss.
2. Cardinal. They are carried out on indoor crops that have lost their decorativeness, are of a respectable age or on plants that have been seriously affected by diseases and improper care (especially too hot wintering or dry air). Strongly shortening all the shoots or cutting out parts of the plant stimulates the growth of new shoots and a complete renewal of the crown. Restoring a houseplant after radical pruning usually takes a lot of time, it completely loses its attractiveness and can please its appearance only after a long period of time. It is always better to divide rejuvenation into several procedures than to take really radical measures.
Regular pruning involves shortening old shoots to the level of 3-5 buds and cutting 1-3 of the oldest branches, which will replace the new shoots, to the base or short stumps. Cardinal pruning is much more aggressive, plant shoots are cut to the level of soil, the main stem or short stumps. When performing anti-aging pruning, it is important to assess the condition of the plant itself and the characteristics of its development.
In some cultures that are capable of releasing new shoots from sleeping buds and giving root shoots, you can not be afraid of even pruning to a stump. In plants that form the central trunk, or have slow growth, too strong complete pruning is likely to lead to their death. But in fast-growing and prone to branching plants, rejuvenation will occur, even if only 1-2 buds are left on the shoots.
A separate type of anti-aging pruning is considered a regulatory haircut on indoor plants that have suffered from improper wintering. Growth, loss of leaves, stretching, which owners of plants who prefer a cool wintering have to face, are very common. After all, the conditions of urban apartments are so different from the optimal range of required temperatures.
Such rejuvenation is carried out more sparingly. Its main goal is to restore the oppressed plant and stimulate the renewal of the crown. Usually, after an unsuccessful wintering, sanitary pruning is performed, and the remaining branches are pruned, leaving 5-6 buds on the shoots, shortening only a few top nodes.