View Full Version : Trimming Stem Plants

12-15-2012, 06:18 PM
I have seen conflicting arguments on the trimming of stem plants. Some people suggest trimming at the top, while others suggest cutting the tops off, removing the bottom, and replanting the tops. The only problem I see with the latter, is that if you only saved the top, you would be getting rid of all the roots that had grown into the substrate.

Admittedly, I had only listened to the latter (keeping the top). Now I'm seeing problems in my 75gal with regrowth, but it could be due to insufficient lighting of ferts.

My question is this: Is there a "right" way to trimming stem plants?

12-15-2012, 06:25 PM
I trim my stem plants regularly (particularly my alternanthera which can get leggy if left alone). Probably every 2-3 weeks in a low-tech tank.

I look for the height I want the plant to be, then cut it an inch or two below that. Cut as closely above the last pair of leaves (a new pair will start to grow there within a week). It's important to use very sharp scissors for a clean, close cut - pinching stem plants off it no good for regrowth. I leave the original base where it is - I don't uproot anything.

That should leave you with the top stem cutting with a reasonable length stem at the bottom to re-plant. Just shove it into the substrate. Job done.

I do this with:
Alternanthera rosefolia mini
Alternanthera reineckii pink
Lobelia cardinalis dwarf
Hygrophilia corymbosa sramensis 53b

Lady Hobbs
12-15-2012, 07:28 PM
I just cut off a few inches from the top and stick the cuttings in the substrate. Another thing that works well is cut off several inches from the tops, band them all together and just drop them in the tank. Within two weeks you will have roots and can plant them then if you wish. I should say I used to do it that way. Now I trim the plants and throw them away as I have no more room for new plants.

Why would anyone pull up and throw out the mother plant? That would make no sense.

12-15-2012, 07:35 PM
Doesn't make sense to me, either, but I followed instructions like a good little soldier. lol Should have trusted my gut instinct.

I like the idea of cutting off the tops and plopping a few in the tank to grow them out.

I've also been pinching at times... :banghead:

Thanks guys.

01-16-2013, 12:50 PM
As well as not making sense to rip out the mother plant, you have the issue of the trimmings coming up occasionally since it has little or nothing to cling onto.
I just replant the trimmings and throw away any that do become uprooted