Houseplants are a fun hobby, one which can bring a lot of satisfaction. There comes a time though when we have fed and nurtured our friends until they become too big. It is easy to stop houseplants from getting too big with some general maintenance, this includes pruning, root pruning and making sure you have the appropriate size pot.
Houseplants do require maintenance, without it they can grow quite large and become a hindrance in your home. Don’t get me wrong, the idea of a 2 foot tall weeping fig really appeals to me, only if it is on a Caribbean island though, not taking over my lounge room. There are 3 simple ways to stop your houseplants from growing too big, these include pruning, root pruning and finding the appropriate pot for your houseplant.
Pruning to stop your houseplant growing too big
This one is a bit of common sense, your houseplant is getting too big so cut it back, right? Well that’s it. You can easily take back the height or width of a houseplant by cutting off the parts that may be intruding into your space a little too much. Make sure when you are pruning your house plant that the sheers you’re using are nice and sharp, this will give a clean cut and reduce the chance of disease hampering the plants recovery. Give the plant a good water afterwards as well, it will be in a bit of shock after a decent pruning and this will help to calm it down and encourage growth in what is left over.
As a bonus, you can use these trimmings to create another plant! Put your sizeable trimmings in a pot with some healthy soil, give it a good watering and it wont take too long for it to grow it’s own new root system. This can become a great, thoughtful gift and one that costs you next to nothing!
What is the difference between pruning and root pruning?
As the name would suggest, root pruning is cutting back the roots of the plant. The purpose of this is less about reducing the size of the plant and more about keeping it the size that it is.
The bigger the root system, the more water and nutrients the plant can absorb encouraging growth. If you have a houseplant that has grown to a size that you are happy with and you don’t want it to get any bigger then root pruning will help.
The process is rather simple, just like pruning leaves or stems, you need to cut back the roots. Take the plant out of it’s pot and remove the soil covering the roots. Cut away the smaller roots that are making their way out of the root ball, depending on the size of the plant you’ll want to leave about an inch or so of roots coming out of the ball. For bigger plants you may want to leave a bit more.
Make sure the sheers are sharp and you water the plant after you’ve completed this process. Just like regular pruning, the plant will be in stress and this will encourage the plant to continue to thrive.
How does the size of your pot affect the size of your houseplant?
The bigger the pot, the more opportunity a houseplant has to grow, it can create larger root systems and absorb more nutrients. The smaller the pot, the more cramped a plant will become the larger it grows which will in turn restrict its overall growth.
Keep this in mind when choosing a pot for your new houseplant, you can save a lot work later on by choosing the right pot from day 1. You must still monitor the roots though, if they start to come out of the drainage holes or are showing too much on the surface the plant may need some root pruning to keep it at bay.
There you have it, 3 simple ways to stop your houseplants from getting too big. As you now know you can reduce the size of a plant by cutting it back but you can also prevent your houseplant from growing to big with routine root pruning along with finding an appropriate sized pot in accordance with how big you want your plant to become.