How do I know if a plant needs pruning?

Pruning plants serves various purposes, whether decorative or sanitary, and every plant undergoes this procedure during its lifetime.

Before you pick up your scissors or pruning shears, it's essential to determine your objectives and why you are doing it. Understanding this will help you shape your plant beautifully and protect it from diseases and even death.

Why might your plant need pruning?

Deformed Shoots:

If your plant has angular, irregularly shaped, or short shoots, sanitary pruning is necessary to enhance its appearance. This encourages proper and regular shoots to replace the cut ones.

Loss of Shape:

Many plants can become unruly bushes without proper pruning. Conversely, your plant might be growing too tall when you desire a neat, bushy appearance, making pruning essential.


Sometimes, plants produce long, asymmetrical shoots. In such cases, pruning is necessary to restore symmetry and shape to the plant.

Plant Renovation:

  • Pruning old shoots to stimulate new growth.
  • Root pruning, although it should be done cautiously to avoid harming the plant. When repotting, remove weak, diseased, withered, broken, or rotted root sections only if necessary.

Sick Plant:

Ailing plants often require sanitary pruning. This involves cutting even healthy parts to prevent the disease from spreading, particularly in cases of infections or fungal infestations.