How to Prune Indoor Plants

Indoor Ficus benjamina tree. image by


Indoor plants typically require little traditional annual pruning but benefit from regular light maintenance pruning or grooming to keep looking their best. A key element of growing healthy indoor plants is preventing the buildup of dead foliage and spent blooms that invite pests and disease. Once-a-month maintenance pruning and grooming done around watering time will keep your indoor plants healthy and tidy.

Step 1

Inspect the plant carefully for dead, diseased or damaged leaves. Gently pull or cut off any of these that you find. Cut away any broken, split or dying branches or stems. Also look for any branches that may be abrading one another and be an invitation point for disease. Cut these back to remove the friction point.

Step 2

Dead-head spent blooms by cutting them back on the stem either to a node or to the base of the plant depending on the species. Pull out any faded petals or flowers that may be stuck in the plant canopy and discard.

Step 3

Clean up the surface of the planting soil, removing all fallen leaves, spent blooms or drooping stems. Mulch around the surface of the plant to help retain moisture and make lifting fallen leaves easier.

Things You'll Need

  • Secateurs or sharp scissors
  • Mulch


  • North Dakota State University
  • Clemson University Fact Sheet
Keywords: indoor plant, pruning grooming, maintenance care

About this Author

A communications professional, D.C. Winston has more than 17 years of experience writing and editing content for online publications, corporate communications, business clients, industry journals and film/broadcast media. Winston studied political science at the University of California, San Diego.

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