House plants occasionally need grooming to keep them healthy and attractive. Regular maintenance not only makes your plants look their best, it helps to prevent pests and diseases, too. Not all houseplants need pruning, but most benefit from at least some shaping and removal of dead leaves and damaged or diseased stems. Some of the houseplants that grow best with regular grooming include varieties of ivy, pothos, vining philodendron, bird of paradise, ficus benjamina, lyrata, and elastica.


Everyone wants a big, bushy, healthy-looking houseplant, and it would seem counter-intuitive that pruning would be a way to accomplish that goal. However, everything from pruning out old leaves and stems to occasionally clipping away old roots while repotting can stimulate vigorous, healthy new growth. So if your plants start looking a little tired, give them a haircut and watch them grow back with a vengeance. When you prune, do so judiciously. Well pruned plants don’t look pruned, but instead appear natural. If in doubt, don’t cut. As a rule of thumb, prune out no more than ¼ of the foliage at one pruning.

Remove leggy or dying stems with a sharp blade and always cut above a leaf node at a 45° angle.


Using your thumb and forefinger to remove a tip of a stem is known as pinching a plant. Once your young plant has formed a few pairs of leaves on a stem, it is ready to be pinched. When a young stem tip is pinched off, the plant will branch out and become bushier and fuller.

Cleaning the leaves:

Keeping your plant's leaves dust-free helps it get the light exposure it needs to grow. Cleaning the leaves also helps rid them of insects. 

Smooth leaves can easily be wiped clean with a damp cloth or a sponge dipped in water. It's a good idea to clean the cloth or sponge before using it on another plant so it's not giving insects a ride from one plant to another. Fine-foliage plants, such as ferns, can be cleaned with a gentle spray of water.


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