Pruning potted plants is more about aesthetics than it is about horticulture. Pruning does not enhance or harm a plant’s growth. It does alter where it grows and its appearance. So asking if you should prune your plant is like asking someone if you should get your haircut. In both cases, there is no right-or-wrong answer. It is a matter of personal preference.
For many indoor plants, when you prune any stem, new growth will emerge just below the point on the stem where you make the pruning cut and grow upward from there. So you have to decide how far down on the stem you would like to see new growth emerge. If you prefer to keep a plant shorter and more compact, then regular pruning is recommended.
When you prune, stems should be cut just above a “node” – the slightly raised bump on the stem where a leaf stem attaches. The new growth will emerge from that node, so you don’t want to leave an unsightly stump above the node.
When pruning, you can prune back a lot and alter the plant’s appearance radically or you can take a more gradual approach by pruning back on or two stems every few months. The important thing to remember is that no matter where you prune, the plant will continue to grow, albeit in different locations.
For most people, the hardest part of pruning is overcoming the fear that pruning will somehow harm or even kill the plant. That fear is not warranted. So plunge in and prune because you really cannot go wrong!
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