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What to Do When a Plant Gets Too Big: Large Indoor Plant Care Guide

what to do when a plant gets too big

A large houseplant is a sight to behold! But what to do when a plant gets too big? On this page, you’ll find everything you need to know about large indoor plants and how to care for them. Learn about pruning, repotting, root pruning, and propagation in this article below!

Key Takeaways:

  • If your large indoor plant has many leaves, the best way to combat this is by pruning. Removing damaged parts of the plant and trimming excess growth is vital to maintaining healthy houseplants.
  • Some large houseplants are ideal for propagating. This means you can grow smaller plants for no extra cost! What’s not to love?
  • Repotting your large houseplant will usually lead to more plant growth. If that is what you would like, invest in a larger nursery pot, a larger ceramic plant pot, and some new potting soil.

What Can I Do When a Houseplant Becomes Too Large?

Gardening and plant care can sometimes be a tricky business. Sometimes, you just can’t get your plants to thrive. Other times, your indoor plants will keep getting taller and taller! But this leaves a vital question unanswered: what should I do when my houseplant becomes too large?

Well, the answer is quite simple… First, keep doing what you’re doing! If your plant grows consistently, it’s a sign that it is receiving all the nutrients it needs from the soil, your watering and feeding schedule is working, and that it is getting enough light. 

Second, you should capitalise on your success! You can do this in several ways. If you like your plant’s size, you can repot it. This will encourage your large plant to keep getting larger! Equally, if you don’t want that plant to get bigger, you can always take cuttings and start growing new plants. 

Repotting a Large Houseplant

If your plant is large, but you want it to continue growing, the easiest thing you can do it repot your large indoor plant into a larger pot! Repotting a large houseplant involves a few careful steps.

Prepare the new pot, ensuring it is only slightly larger than the current one and has adequate drainage holes. As a general rule of thumb, opt for a plastic nursery pot that has a diameter 2-3cm larger than you currently own.

Next, gently remove the plant from its current pot. To do this, tip the pot on its side and carefully slide the plant out, supporting the root ball to prevent damage. If the plant is stuck, you can tap the sides of the pot or run a knife around the edges to loosen it.

Once the plant is out, examine the roots. Trim any that are dead, damaged, or excessively long. You can do this using a set of houseplant pruning shears. If the roots are tightly bound or circling the pot, gently tease them apart to encourage outward growth in the new pot.

Fill the new pot with a layer of fresh potting soil. Position the plant in the centre of the pot, ensuring the top of the root ball is about an inch below the rim of the pot. Add more soil around the sides, firming it gently to eliminate air pockets. Be careful not to bury the plant deeper than it was in its previous pot.

After repotting, water the plant thoroughly to help settle the soil and remove any remaining air pockets. Place the plant in its usual spot and monitor it closely for signs of stress or adjustment. With proper care, your large houseplant will thrive in its new pot.

Move a Large Houseplant to a Lower Light Condition 

As a general rule of thumb, a plant in bright light will grow quicker than one in lower light. So, if you want to slow down the rate of growth with one of your larger plants, you could move a plant slightly further from a window.

If your plant is living in a room with a south-facing window, you can always move it to a room with a west or east-facing window. However, avoid moving the plant to a room with a north-facing window as this may stress the large plant a little too much!

A plant with less than perfect light conditions will still grow, but more slowly. A plant that’s not getting enough light to survive will struggle to survive. Eventually, it will die.

Divide The Plant Up

If you have a houseplant that has multiple stems, one of the easiest ways to make it look smaller is by dividing the plant up and putting it into two nursery pots. 

You can do this with any plant that has multiple stems, like the areca palmparlour palmsnake plant, and cast iron plant. To do so, all you will need is a trowel, a spare nursery pot, and some potting mix.

First, take your large plant out of the nursery pot and gently prise apart the roots from one another. It helps to do this with moist soil, so give your large plant water a couple of days before you do this. 

When you have prised apart the roots, divide the plant into two equal portions and plant them back into both nursery pots. Having some spare potting mix will help to replenish any soil that has been lost during division. 

From there, give your two plants a quick water and they should begin growing in no time! 

Taking Cuttings From a Large Houseplant

Taking cuttings from a large houseplant involves a few careful steps. Start by selecting healthy, non-flowering stems from the plant, as these will have the best chance of rooting. Using clean, sharp scissors or pruning shears, cut a section of stem that is about four to six inches long. Ensure the cutting has several leaves and at least one node, which is the point where leaves attach to the stem.

Next, remove the lower leaves from the cutting, leaving a few at the top. This helps reduce water loss and encourages the cutting to focus its energy on developing roots. If the plant has large leaves, you can cut them in half to further reduce water loss.

Prepare a pot with a well-draining potting mix or a mixture of perlite and peat-free compost. Make a small hole in the soil and insert the cutting, ensuring that the node is buried and the remaining leaves are above the soil. Gently firm the soil around the cutting to hold it in place.

Water the cutting thoroughly and place it in a warm, bright location out of direct sunlight. To maintain humidity, you can cover the pot with a plastic bag or a clear plastic container, ensuring it doesn’t touch the leaves. Check the cutting regularly, keeping the soil moist but not waterlogged. After a few weeks, you should see new growth, indicating that roots have developed. Once the cutting is well-rooted, you can transplant it to a larger pot and care for it as you would a mature plant.

Pruning a Large Houseplant

Pruning a large houseplant starts with gathering the necessary tools, such as clean, sharp scissors or pruning shears. It’s important to sterilize these tools to prevent the spread of disease. Begin by assessing the plant and deciding which parts need pruning. Focus on removing any dead, yellowing, or damaged leaves and stems first. This helps improve the plant’s overall health and appearance.

Next, look for areas where the plant has grown too large or is becoming unruly. Trim back these sections to maintain a desirable shape and size. Make clean cuts just above a leaf node or bud to encourage new growth in a controlled direction. If the plant is particularly dense, you may want to thin out some of the inner branches to improve air circulation and light penetration.

During pruning, take care not to remove more than a third of the plant at once, as this can stress the plant. Step back periodically to assess the plant’s shape and ensure you are achieving a balanced look. After pruning, dispose of the cuttings and monitor the plant for any signs of stress or shock. Providing adequate water and care will help the plant recover and thrive after pruning.

What to do when a plant gets too big: Conclusion

Having a large houseplant is fantastic! They’re natural showstoppers and brighten up any room. When your plants get too large, you can always prune their foliage back, and take new cuttings for propagation. 

If you want your large plant to keep getting larger, you can always repot it. That way, you’ll have the largest houseplant in town! Wondering what the best large house plants are? Why not take a look at the top 14 large indoor houseplants!

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