Trimming, or when to give a plant a haircut

Heisann! Tonti, head coach at Gnomesy, here. While only needed infrequently, trimming is nearly as important in adequate plant care-giving as watering. Just like you need a haircut every so often, your plants will also need occasional trims. I’ve divided plant haircut preferences into three main categories: Those who love a bold cut, those who like some shape and those who prefer shaping with no scissors.

Those who love a bold cut!

If you have a fern or vine family, hooray! They thrive on intense pruning. If you find them to be very gangly and you want to promote thicker, fuller growth, give them an intense trim. An intense trim mean these plants can survive being cut back to 3-4 inches above the soil. Don’t do that though, unless you are willing to wait a few months for the plant to grow back to desired thickness. 

Plants like Boston Ferns love having their dried-out or yellow fronds (fancy for leaves/stems) trimmed. Set the fern on a table where you can turn it comfortably. Using sharp scissors, cut off all the brown and yellow leaves close to the base of the plant. Keep it within 2-3 inches of the . Be patient, and be careful not to cut off the green fronds! Take your time, it can be hard to decipher which stem you are cutting when you are close to the base of the plant and cutting more than one stem at a time. 

Vines (like Misty the pothos plant) are similar in their love of trims but prefer a different approach. Select the vines you would like to trim (maybe there are some that are just too long), and cut them two inches above the soil, or anywhere along the vine. It’s your chance to show your style. Cutting on an angle right by a leaf will cover up evidence of a trim quite nicely.

Those that like some shape

There are other plants that just need you to remove their yellowing leaves every so often. Plants like ZZ the ZZ Plant and Olaf the Baby Rubber Plant eventually drop their yellowing leaves, but you can keep them looking especially polished by removing them. Pinch or cut off the yellowed leaf where it meets the stem. 

Those who prefer never to see a scissors

If you have succulents like Lucy the Echeveria, step AWAY from the shears. Succulents can’t grow back new leaves (however, you can propagate them with leaves that have fallen off). Pull off or trim leaves that have dried out or yellowed, but just be aware that the plant will be bare in the spot that you take off the leaves.

Have fun pruning! Remember…keep calm gnome matter what. . .

-Tonti, Head Gnome Coach

Propagation: Spidey the Curly Spider Plant

Heisann! Tonti here. Plants are the gifts that keep on giving, and today we are going to learn about the safe and effective ways to propagate the Curly Spider plants you receive from Gnomesy.

Spider plants grow quickly, and when happy, produce plant spiderettes (babies) abundantly. This makes the whole process pain-free and an easy way to grow your own greenspace, or gift plants to friends and family.

Step 1: Identify the babies

The babies you are looking for will look like small versions of the big plant, growing off of shoots that burst up from the plant. When you identify these little plants, simply cut off the little guy, leaving a bit of the original twig it was growing on, on either end.

Step 2: Place in a small water container. And keep an eye out for the roots that will sprout!

A glass container works best so that you can see when the roots grow. They are little white nubs that will only take a day or two to develop. Keep these glass jars near the original plant, so the babies are getting the same kind of light and environment as the big plant.

Step 3: Once roots have sprouted, plant in small potting containers. 

(Supplies needed for this step: black form pots, and soil).

You will want to choose a container that has good drainage. Black form pots are an effective choice, and can be purchased online, or at your local greenhouse or hardware store. Any kind of potting soil will do. Repot in the way of the gnomes by adhering to the following steps:

Step 1: Fill form pot ¾ of the way with potting soil.

Step 2: Make a little hole in the center of the soil with your finger.

Step 3: Take the plant babies with freshly sprouted roots, and put root-side down into the freshly dug hole. Leave all the leaves aboveground.

Step 4: Gently pack the soil around the roots, to the nape of the plants neck (where the leaves begin to sprout).

Step 4: Watch your plants grow! The soil should be very moist the first day that you pot your plant babies. Afterwards, the freshly potted plants should be kept on the same watering schedule as the momma plant. Make sure the soil is dry before you water, and water so that the soil is moist, but not soggy. If you do overwater, just let the soil completely dry out before watering again.

Keep an eye out for your little plants outgrowing their britches (containers). There will be some sure signs: the roots are growing out of the bottom of the drain holes or the form pot is bulging at the sides. When this begins to happen, simply repot using the method described in Step 3 above, but with a bigger, more attractive container.

When they begin to look too big for the form pots, simply repot into a bigger, more attractive container.

Step 5: Give your new plants to friends and family, or keep them to build your own greenspace!

Remember…keep calm gnome matter what. . .

-Tonti