Pruning should be part of your house plant care routine – here's why

Yes, you really should prune your house plants; an expert shows why it's worth doing

pruning a house plant
(Image credit: Getty)

Pruning a house plant? We'll wager that this is a form of house plant care you've never hear of. Surely pruning is for outdoor plants only? Your indoor garden has been peacefully growing for years, so it may seem unnecessary to do any pruning. 

And yet, if you've invested in the best indoor plants that you hope to keep for many years, pruning can be important – and even essential – in the case of some plants.  

Indoor plant experts from Patch Plants explain why pruning your house plants is important, especially if you're a fan of indoor garden ideas: 'Pruning, which means removing dead or damaged growth, and cutting back unruly or unwanted growth, can really help refresh your plants. It allows your plant to put all its energy into new growth, rather than waste energy on old leaves.'

Some fast-growing species, including several philodendrons and ficus (especially the rubber plant and fiddle leaf varieties), will benefit from proper pruning similar to the pruning of outdoor plants. They can quickly get leggy and misshapen, and upright growers may even topple because they've grown too tall and spindly.  

Pruning house plants

(Image credit: Getty)

However, with most house plants, gently does it: as Patch explain, with most house plants, pruning may just mean getting rid of dead or diseased branches or leaves. In fact, 'pruning' large-leafed species may only involve cutting off a bit of a leaf that's gone brown, without removing the leaf itself. 

Is it safe to prune all house plants? There are exceptions. According to Laidback Gardener,  you should never prune orchids, ever: they almost certainly will die. With that in mind, prune away: now is the best time to do it, just before most indoor plants' growing season has begun.

Finally, if you're pruning and it looks like your plant has outgrown its pot, make sure you check out our guide on how to repot a plant to keep it as healthy as possible. 

Pruning a bonsai tree

(Image credit: Getty)

Anna writes about interior design and gardening. Her work has appeared in Homes & Gardens, Livingetc, and many other publications. She is an experienced outdoor and indoor gardener and has a passion for growing roses and Japanese maples in her outside space.