How to prevent indoor plants from overgrowing?

Plants grow, some faster than others, but all do. This is something that cannot be avoided, since growth is part of life and also of survival, because the ‘older’ they are, the easier it will be for them to overcome the attack made by insects that quickly become pests. , as well as infections caused by viruses, bacteria and fungi.

But there are several things you can do to prevent indoor plants from growing too much , something that can certainly be of great interest to you if you grow those that can touch the roof.

Choose the right plants

Choose small plants to have at home

It is the basic, although it is the most complicated as well. When you go to a nursery, or when you buy plants online, it is easy to fall in love with any of them: trees, palm trees, shrubs, orchids, or others. If you don’t know the adult size they can grow to, you risk saying that they are growing too big. So, apart from researching for that information, our advice is that you should not buy trees or tall palm trees if you are going to have them indoors , for these reasons:

  • Trees: they are generally very large plants that do not adapt to living in indoor conditions. They could be pruned, but that would not mean that they ended up weakened by the lack of light and space.
  • Tall palms: Kentia ( Howea forsteriana ) and Areca ( Dypsis lutescens ) are two of the most cultivated palms within homes. The first grows at a fairly slow rate, the other is faster, but both over time exceed 4 and 5 meters. What’s more, the kentia reaches 15 meters, and the areca 6 meters once they are adults. And, unlike trees for example, they cannot be pruned beyond removing the dry leaves since they are not capable of sprouting from the stem.

Give them light, but not in excess

One of the main problems with indoor plants is the lack of light. Therefore, they will grow by lengthening their stems in the direction of the most powerful light , which can come from a lamp, or from a window. When forced to do so, they become highly vulnerable to both environmental change and pests and diseases.

How to avoid it? Placing them in a room where there is a lot of light, with windows. But beware, they should not be placed right in front of the glass because their leaves would burn, but they should be placed next to or near them . In addition, each day the pots must be rotated 180º so that all parts of the plants receive the same amount of light.

Or if you prefer, get a plant light. This will be very useful especially if you have a terrarium with plants for example, or in a grow cabinet.

Reduces the length of its stems

Pruning shears for plants

The ideal is to do it when they are still young plants, but it can also be done without problems when they are already large and / or have reached a ceiling. But, at what time and how is it done? Well, pruning will be done in early spring preferably shortly before or shortly after growth has resumed . It is also done in the fall if it is warm.

When the time comes, scissors must be taken to trim the thin green stems (less than 1 centimeter thick), and a small hand saw for the thickest ones. Then, you have to cut them a little , depending on how much they have grown. Thus, if we have one that is skimming the ceiling, and as long as it is not a palm tree, its height can be reduced by 10-20 centimeters from year to year.

Drastic pruning must be avoided ; that is, it is not necessary to reduce the height of a plant in half, because most likely it was not exceeded. It is much better to go little by little, be patient, and wait for it to produce shorter and shorter stems.

Transplant your plants

This may be contradictory, because what we are talking about is to prevent them from growing too much. But the truth is that when a plant is left in the same pot for years and years, it becomes etiolated ; that is, its stems lengthen and narrow due to lack of space. It is something that happens a lot to cacti for example, which when they get to that point give the impression that they want to “get out” of the pots.

In order to have a correct development, we must try to transfer them to larger pots in spring, every time we see the roots come out of the drainage holes, or if they have already occupied the entire pot.

Avoid making compositions

Indoor plant compositions don't usually work

They are beautiful, but when you put a lot of plants or some without knowing the adult size they come to have, in the same container, what you get in the end is that there is one or more that grow too much driven by the lack of space and instinct survival . This is why it is only advisable to make compositions with plants, we insist, small, such as succulents such as Lithops , Pleiospilos , Argyroderma, Fenestraria, Sempervivum or the like.

In the event that you have one with trees, palms and / or other large plants, it is highly advisable to carefully separate them at the end of winter and plant each one in a pot; Or plant them together in a growing container.

We hope these tips on how to keep houseplants from growing too large are helpful to you 🙂.

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