How To Stop Plants From Growing Tall: A Complete Guide

If you are an indoor plant lover and wish to maintain the aesthetics of your indoor space, you might be concerned with the height of your little indoor garden plants. Plants, especially those intended for ornamental or indoor use, rarely develop as tall as they would like. Owners of such plants desire them to be short or a certain height and bushy.

Don’t worry if you’re new to this hobby of maintaining indoor plants and wondering how to stop plants from growing tall. If you came across this post by accident and are curious as to why you should modify the height of your plant instead of allowing them to develop as freely as possible, there are several reasons why you should do so.

How To Stop Plants From Growing Tall
“very tall mother in law’s tongue” via Flickr

How To Stop Plants From Growing Tall

Fortunately, several tried and trusted techniques for controlling plant growth and preventing them from growing too tall. Low-stress technique, fimming, and topping are just a few of them.

Stopping plants from growing tall can sometimes be as simple as lowering the water or fertilizer they receive. When you reduce the amount of water and fertilizer given to a plant, you are likely to expose it to illnesses and stunted growth. Let’s have a look at some additional, maybe less dangerous, ways to keep plants from growing too tall without endangering their health.

Method 1: Perform Topping on The Plants

Topping or Scionification means that you remove the terminal bud on top of the plant with a knife. By doing this, you are stopping the plant’s apical dominance. Once apical dominance is stopped, lateral buds will grow in their place and multiply.

You may have to do it several times before the process yields results, but when it does, the plant will be shorter than before. It is done when you want to create more side branches on your plant or redirect energy away from the upper regions of the stem to lower ones.

Topping V/S Fimming

Topping is similar to fimming, but it’s performed on plants about 12 to 18 inches tall and has three or fewer nodes or branch levels. Topping is a typical method of preventing plants from growing excessively tall and involves taking the growth shoot’s top center.

Procedure to Follow

Remove the center of the growing shoot, leaving a few centimeters or a quarter-inch of stalk above the top branch line. This is important since a new development spot has been developed, and instead of the previous stalks, a new point will branch out into several stalks.

Method 2: Low-Stress Training (LST)

Low Stress Training How To Stop Plants From Growing Tall

LST is outstanding for its simplicity. The plant is trained in a slow, low-stress manner once it reaches a height of 6 inches. You do not have to use any tools or implement any drastic measures to achieve the desired results.

How to Perform LST?

What you need are your hands and a few minutes each day. All you have to do is bend, push, turn, weave, fit, clamp, twist, or tie the stem of your plant to train it into a certain shape.This is an important step if you’re growing multiple plants in the same pot.

Right Amount of Pressure is the Key

The trick with LST is to avoid hurting roots and stems but still influencing their growth patterns without providing too much pressure on them. You can do this by tying thick twists onto the stem without cutting into it.

If you have a large container or pot, you may lay down about 2 inches of the plant’s stem. This method encourages more bud sites to develop on the plant than if you had not trained it with low stress.

Method 3: Fimming

Fimming is also known as pinching, nipping, and occasions removal of the apical meristem (new growth at nodes). The apical meristems are the areas of new growth on lateral branches. These buds will develop in a similar way to how they were formed on the main stem. But instead of one new shoot, you will have two shoots that share one node or stem.

Fimming V/S Topping

Topping and fimming are both accomplished in the same manner. To fim, you must follow the path of topping. To carry out fimming, however, you must go via the process of topping. Instead of chopping off the new growth shoot, though, you instead chop halfway down the stem and slice from there.

Fimming is Better

It has an advantage over topping in that it provides less stress to the plants and allows them to recuperate faster than when the topping is utilized. Fimming stimulates the plant’s lowest nodes to grow more.

Method 4: Branch Grafting

Branch grafting is another easy method of preventing plants from growing excessively tall. This means joining together two plants with different characteristics except for their heights. It’s also called Tip Grafting.

Things You Need

  • To branch graft two plants together, you will need a knife for cutting the stem and long tweezers.

Pro Tips

It’s best to use at least three nodes of vegetative growth of both plants involved in the process. The vegetative part is the new healthy stems that have not yet flowered or set their buds on them.

The branches must be the same thickness. If they are not, you should consider doing something else because your success rate will decrease substantially. The stem of both plants involved in this process must also be cut to flat on the surface.

Procedure to Follow

Step 1: Sanitize your Tools

Before you start, make sure to fully clean all tools used with rubbing alcohol or even peroxide. Not only will this help you to prevent the spread of diseases, but it will also create a clean environment that is free from any debris or other contaminants that might affect your graft.

Step 2: Cut the Tops

Cut off the top part of both plants using the knife, and your tweezers should be ready with their lock properly in place. Place one plant on top of the other so that they are perpendicular to one another.

Step 3: Secure and Clamp Them

Secure both plants by winding nylon thread around them to keep them together while the grafting is underway. Once you have done all this, pair your plants with rubber bands and make sure they are still clamped tightly together to form new pathways for nutrients.

Method 5: Keep Lights Closer to The Plants

Plants naturally grow towards sources of light. If you don’t do anything about it, they will grow taller and taller until the point where they will eventually fall over because their support structure cannot hold them anymore. This can be prevented by keeping lights closer to plants or providing additional support via string or stakes.

  • Place the LED grow light about 12 inches above the target plant to begin.
  • Examine how the plant leaves react to it. If the leaves droop and curl, you should raise the light a few inches higher.
  • However, if the leaves are in good form and growing fast, you might try lowering the light to get closer to the plant, maybe as close as 6 inches from the top of the plant.
How To Stop Plants From Growing Tall 2
Jade Plant 6′ tall! via Flickr

Conclusion

These are all the known and approved methods of how to stop plants from growing too tall. If you employ any of them, you will get bigger yields and a healthier and more stable plant. However, if your main priority is yield, then topping your plants is the best choice for you because it causes the biggest increase in yield potential.

If you try any of the methods given above, please note that while some of them will be more effective than others under certain circumstances, none of them will work 100% of the time.

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