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Whether your indoor garden has grown beyond its location or you’re looking to expand your garden, a little pinching, pruning, and breeding may be the answer. Keep your garden looking its best and keep your plants in the available space. Some of the trimmings can be used to start new plants.

Gives plants with long, leggy stems a pinch. Removing a small or large portion of the growing tip encourages the plant to form more branches and promote compact growth. , a growth hormone produced at the tip of the stem called auxin is removed. This hormone promotes upward growth of stems. Removing the stem tip reduces auxin and allows more branches to develop along the stem.

A soft pinch removes only the top of the stem where the leaves and stem tips are developing. These stem pieces can be used to start new plants.

Some gardeners pinch with their fingers, but I prefer the Corona Tool ComfortGEL® Micro Snips, which have stainless steel blades that resist the build-up of plant residue, and the Corona Bypass, which closes quickly and makes nice-looking clean cuts. I prefer to use sharp snips like pruning shears.

When pinching and pruning houseplants, make an incision just above the set of leaves. The plant remains relatively attractive while waiting for new leaves and stems to grow. Avoid leaving stumps with cuts elsewhere, as this can spoil the appearance and create entry routes for insects and diseases.

Houseplants can be propagated in several different ways. Do not propagate patented plants protected by patent law. These laws are intended to protect the investment of plant breeders. Respecting patent law allows companies to keep improving and growing plants for the future we all enjoy.

Use leafy stem cuttings to start a variety of houseplants, including inch plants, philodendrons, pothos, dieffenbachia, dracaena, and jade plants. and cut 3- to 6-inch long pieces from firm, mature, non-woody stems. Remove one or two bottom leaves that get buried in the potting mix. New roots are formed here. If you’ve had trouble rooting cuttings in the past, try using rooting hormones labeled for houseplants. is included.

Root cuttings in small containers filled with vermiculate or well-drained potting mix. Make a hole in the mix, insert the cut end, and gently push the potting mix around the stem. Loosely cover the cut end of the potted plant with an open top plastic bag. This will increase the humidity around the cuttings to compensate for the lack of roots. Place the container in a bright spot out of direct sunlight and wait a few weeks for roots to grow. Gently tug on the stem to see if roots are forming. Transfer rooted cuttings to a container filled with well-draining potting mix and place in an area with just the right amount of sunlight and water as needed.

You’ll be amazed at how a little grooming and breeding can revitalize your tired indoor garden. You can share or trade extra root cuttings with family and friends so each can grow an indoor garden and memories.

Join Melinda’s webinar on November 2nd at 6:30 PM CT for answers to your questions about how to start new plants and indoor gardening. Webinars are free, but registration is required. Register at or

Editor’s Note: Melinda Myers stories come up from time to time. oklahoma city sentinel website. She is the author of over 20 gardening books, including the recently released Midwest Gardener’s Handbook, 2nd Edition, Small Space Gardening. She hosts The Great Courses’ “How to Grow Anything” instant her video her series and the nationally syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment TV & Radio program. Myers is a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine and was commissioned by Corona Tools to share her expertise with this article. Her website for Myers is