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