When gardening fruits and vegetables indoors, you’ll want to grow as much as you can in a small space. One means of doing this is to use ‘Dwarf’ varieties of plants, as described in a previous post titled “Small Plants that Yield Big Indoor Harvests.” Whether you’re using dwarf varieties of plants or not, you will find that proper pruning will result in healthier plants that produce fruits and veggies all year long.
What is Plant Pruning?
When gardening indoors, pruning, trimming and topping your plants will result in more bushy and compact produce that yields more fruit. Because you’re removing branches, some people are concerned that they are hurting their plant and prefer not to prune or top off their plants. However, once you try it you will recognize how much you’ve benefited your plant and all the other plants growing nearby.
When and How to Prune Your Plants:
- Top off your plants while they are young to encourage them to grow out, rather than up. The picture on the left is a pepper plant that I “topped off.” That means that I cut off the top of the plant to slow it's progress growing up, and to make the plant more bushy and compact. I could have topped off this pepper plant even earlier and lower than I did. The picture on the right demonstrates the how topping off plants results in fuller growth. The result is more compact and ‘bushy’ plants that will spend more energy producing fruit and less producing leaves and long branches.
- Trim your plants when they begin reaching too far or too tall, or when they grow in a space that should be occupied by other plants. Your plants all want lots of light. Plants reaching too far towards the light, or infringing on the space of other plants, block light from other plant material. Keep your plants well-trimmed to ensure they all get enough light. Check out the before picture on the left and the after picture on the right, below.
- Prune dead, dying and significantly discolored branches and leaves. This will ensure that your plants are expending all of their energy on growing fresh leaves, fruits and vegetables. It will also ensure that unhealthy branches and leaves aren’t blocking valuable light from healthier areas trying to grow bigger and stronger.
Pruning, trimming and topping your plants does not have to be done often, and it usually requires less than a minute or two of your time. You’ll be rewarded with bushier, more compact plants that produce healthier fruits and vegetables all year long.
Let's Grow Together!