Houseplants forum: pruning a china doll

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cmetzgerca
Nov 27, 2016 6:27 PM CST
Hello ! I'm new to the forum. I have several house plants, and I do a great job at keeping them healthy, but I have no idea how to prune them. I am especially concerned about my china doll. I know I need to prune it to keep it looking better, but I Don't know how to. It keeps growing taller so it looks kind of bare. I attached a picture. I'd appreciate it if anybody had any pointers. The base of the plant is 12 main stems all growing straight up, and it's about 2.5 ft tall.
Thumb of 2016-11-28/cmetzgerca/1a1f2b

Name: Lin
Florida Zone 9b, 10a

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plantladylin
Nov 27, 2016 7:50 PM CST
Hi cmetzgerca, Welcome!

Your China Doll (Radermachera sinica) is very nice, great growing! Thumbs up

I wish I could offer suggestions on pruning but I've never been able to keep one alive for very long. Hopefully someone will pop in with advice shortly.



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Name: Carter Mayer
Houston, TX (Zone 9b)
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Carter
Nov 27, 2016 8:38 PM CST
If you are looking to make it fuller foliage-wise, you should just be able to prune the individual stems back and they will regrow new branches and foliage. I read they can be finicky in some regards, but apparently they take well to pruning.

Edited to add: just be mindful of your watering when you prune it back. Less foliage will mean less water intake, so if you water on a specific schedule, you will need to cut back just a little until you see it actively growing again.
[Last edited by Carter - Nov 27, 2016 8:40 PM (+)]
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Name: Karen
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plantmanager
Nov 27, 2016 8:44 PM CST
I agree that cutting each branch back will make it a much fuller, nicer plant in a short time. I would also try to root the cuttings. Bet if you have 12 of them, most of them will root and you can have a new plant, or share with someone.
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cmetzgerca
Nov 28, 2016 7:51 AM CST
So when you guys say cut each branch back do you mean each of the main stems? like cut them off below where they branch off?
Name: Carter Mayer
Houston, TX (Zone 9b)
Tropicals Adeniums Plant Identifier
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Carter
Nov 28, 2016 9:11 PM CST
Yes, you can cut them back as much or as little as you'd like. You can trim just any side branches, or you can trim down to the main stem - or any combination of the two on all the different trunks you have in that pot. Light or heavy trimming - apparently these guys respond well to pruning (from what I read, not from personal experience).
Name: Carter Mayer
Houston, TX (Zone 9b)
Tropicals Adeniums Plant Identifier
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Carter
Nov 29, 2016 7:26 AM CST
Yes, you can cut them back as much or as little as you'd like. You can trim just any side branches, or you can trim down to the main stem - or any combination of the two on all the different trunks you have in that pot. Light or heavy trimming - apparently these guys respond well to pruning (from what I read, not from personal experience).

cmetzgerca
Nov 29, 2016 9:41 PM CST
Thank you!
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Dec 2, 2016 10:57 AM CST
I prune my China doll in Spring. New growth at the node nearest the cut off part occurs first, spritzing the stems after watering the soil helps. I guess it is too dry here, so it loves any additional moisture it can get, so after spritzing the bare stem I do notice new leaf growth on the bare nodes of the stem later when conditions are warmer. Before it just goes too bare on the lower part, and all new leaf growth is concentrated at the top end. My China doll tends to really grow tall, seeking the sun, since it gets way too shaded in its current location.

If you want since you got 12 stems, try it out with 2 or 3 stems, so you can observe and understand how the plant reacts to your pruning. But do it in Spring.
Name: Will Creed
NYC
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WillC
Dec 3, 2016 7:54 AM CST
For many people, pruning is scary. But it is relatively simple and hard to do incorrectly. New growth on this and most plants is always at the tip ends of each stem. By shortening a stem via pruning, you lower the tip end and get new growth lower down on that stem. Pruning is a way to control future growth and the overall appearance of the plant. It is also the only effective way to eliminate long, bare stem sections.
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