The Q&A Archives: house plants

Question: do you get your plants to spread by cutting the tips?

Answer: I think you are asking about apical dominance. Cutting a plant back or pinching out the tip(s) can sometimes encourage a plant to branch or to send out new growth from below so it becomes bushier. On some plants, cutting back the main leader or stem will encourage the plant to send up new growth from the roots. But on other plants, it can be damaging and/or will not improve the plant's growth at all. Timing can also be important. A young plant may respond differently from a mature plant and the time of year can matter, too. Plant response will vary depending on what specific plant you are growing and how hard you cut it back.

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