The Q&A Archives: Dying Lower Leaves On Houseplants

Question: All of my tall, tree-like and vining house plants lose their lower leaves. They either turn yellow or brown and then fall off leaving this long stem with a few leaves at the end. Should I cut off the top part with leaves and replant it? How can I prevent this from happening?

Answer: Even though most houseplants are considered evergreen, they do lose their older leaves every 2-3 years. The older leaves are generally the lower leaves. Sounds as though your houseplants are doing what comes naturally. You can encourage new leaves on the lower stems by pinching out the growing tips of each of the stems or vines. This will force latent buds lower down on the stem to wake up and start growing. If you do this regularly, your plants will be constantly renewing themselves. Try pinching your plants back this spring. If, by the end of summer they haven't filled in, you can take tip cuttings and root them by dipping the cut end in rooting hormone and placing in moistened potting soil. Roots should form within a few weeks and you'll have new plants.

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