How to Cut a Houseplant


Houseplants need to be pruned occasionally in order to promote their growth, manage their size, remove dead or diseased foliage, encourage bigger blooms and make them healthier. There are two methods--pinching and pruning. A combination of both is essential to good houseplant care. Pinching is done by hand, whereas pruning shears are used to cut a house plant. Make sure the shears are clean and sharp to prevent plant damage and the spread of disease.

Step 1

Pinch the tips of young stems in order to promote bushier growth. Grab the tip between your index finger and thumb and pull off the stem just above a node, which is where a bud and leaf meet.

Step 2

Prune houseplants when they are actively growing, which is normally during the spring or summer. Light cutting can also be performed during the other seasons.

Step 3

Remove yellow and brown wilting leaves. Cut them off with pruning shears where they grow from the stem. They are sapping energy and nutrients from the rest of the houseplant and can attract pests and disease.

Step 4

Cut off dead, diseased and unproductive stems. Shorten them to a healthy length by cutting next to a node or remove them completely by cutting down to the soil or main stem. These stems may attract fungus.

Step 5

Snip dead flower buds off because they are unattractive and will attract rot. Cut the buds as soon as they wilt and die off. Place the cut where the flowers meet the stem.

Things You'll Need

  • Gloves
  • Pruning shears


  • Pinching, Pruning and Cleaning: a Grooming Guide for Your House Plants
  • Plant Pruning
Keywords: houseplant, prune houseplant, cut houseplant

About this Author

Kelly Shetsky has been a broadcast journalist for more than ten years, researching, writing, producing and reporting daily on many topics. In addition, she writes for several websites, specializing in medical, health and fitness, arts and entertainment, travel and business-related topics. Shetsky has a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications from Marist College.