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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Some Houseplants Need Their Roots Pruned

Q. We repotted a house plant that was constantly wilting and that seems to help. Is it possible that the plant is too large and needs a “haircut”?

A. Potted plants benefit from root pruning as well as top pruning if it is possible to do so. I guess we could call this a “haircut”. Both the top of the plant and its roots should be “in balance” with each other. We sometimes refer to this as a plant’s “root to shoot ratio”.

Not all plants can be root pruned and top pruned to make them smaller so they perform better in their container. Some plants will need a larger container. Some plants are made smaller by “dividing” the plants. Plants that require division are removed from their container and separating a “clump” of plants into individual plants with a sharp, sanitized knife or pruning saw. The cut ends are dipped into a fungicide before replanting.

Some plants require renewal through propagation. Typically these plants are propagated using methods such as stem cuttings, leaf cuttings, root cuttings or layering. These specialized propagation techniques are specific to certain plants. The Internet is a good source of information on propagating interior or houseplants.

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