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The Secret to Making Your Plants Fuller

Updated on November 2, 2011


Nothing looks worse than a scraggily, spindly plant. A plant that looks sickly and poorly taken care of. When you see a plant, whether a vine, tree, bedding plant, or indoor plant, you want to see something that’s big and full of leaves and branches. It shows health and vitality.

Well, if your plants are more like the former this is how you can make them look fuller and healthier.

How Plants Grow


Every plant grows up and out from its roots. The further it can grow up, the more light it can absorb. And that’s the first part of the problem. No matter what else your plant might do, no matter what kind it is, it’s going to grow up. As it grows taller, it doesn’t necessarily grow wider. And even if it does grow wider, it might not fill in. It might look tall and sparse. But, it can be fixed.

All the energy in a plant goes toward a few things: grow outward, roots downward, flowers, fruit. If any of those things are taken off, the plant responds. A lot of energy goes toward the top of a plant to help it grow taller and faster than the rest of the plant. If this part is cut off, it will send energy to the roots and other branches of the plant. And that’s exactly what we want.

Making Plants Fuller


By pruning the ends of plant branches the plant knows to send its energy and nutrients elsewhere, mainly lower branches. And that’s what makes the plant fill in.

Simply prune or pinch of the very tops of any growing points on any garden plant that isn’t a tree. It can be the top of the plant or any other main branches that looks to have new, soft growth. The plant then knows to send its energy to other branches which makes other branches grow more rapidly than normal, thereby filling in the plant.

This method can be used on vines, houseplants, bushes, perennials. This isn’t advised on things like trees, corn plants, or any other annual vegetable garden plants.

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    • davenmidtown profile image

      David Stillwell 6 years ago from Sacramento, California

      A good article full of all kinds of helpful tips! Well done!

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