If you cut the stem off of some plants I can grow back. This depends on the type of plant and where on the stem you cut. Branching plants like shrubs, fruit trees like citrus and apples and indeterminant tomato plants will all grow back if you remove the stems. If you cut them too close to the base however and leave no healthy stems or leaf coverage they may not recover.
Removing all of the leaves off of a plant is generally a bad idea. Unless the plant is deciduous like maples or apple trees plants do not recover well when their leaves are all removed.
Most plants will not grow back from the cut point exactly but will grow new stems either side of it. The exception is vines like pothos which can continue to grow when part of the stem is removed. As long as there are still healthy leaves on this part of the stem it will grow back.
What happens if you cut the stem of a plant?
If you cut too low down on the stem of the plant it can remove all of the leaves. The plant can essentially starve as it will not be able to photosynthesize and make energy for growth. Removing large parts of the plant or stem can cause it to rot and die back.
Will cut stems grow back?
Cut stems can grow back on certain plants. On vines the cut stem can continue to grow again. A great example is the tropical pothos which can rapidly continue to grow the length of the stem after it has been cut.
Most plants however will not continue to grow from the cut stem. They will send out side branches from the cut which will make the plant grow bushier.
Will citrus trees grow back if their stem is cut?
Citrus trees can grow back if their side branches are cut. If you cut far down on the stem the plant can grow again but it can take many years for it to return to its full vigor and start growing fruit again. If you cut the citrus back through the stem below the graft then the stem from the root system can send up side shoots.
These stems will not produce fruit and can have large spines. While citrus trees including lemons and oranges can survive a hard prune, do not cut them off at the stems.
Will palm trees grow back if their stem is cut?
Single stemmed palm trees will not grow back if their stem is cut. If you cut a palm tree down below the growth point that sits at the top of the crown you have essentially killed the tree. The growth point needs to remain for the tree to grow new leaves.
Once the leaves are remove the palm tree will no longer be able to photosynthesize and the stem will eventually rot back.
You can remove some stems of clumping palm trees like golden cane palms. These grow from an underground rhizome which will send up new stems to replace the old ones. The palm will not grow back from the old stem however.
Will herbs grow back if their stem is cut?
Herbs will grow back if their stems are cut but there are sill leaves on the plant. Herbs such as basil can survive a hard trim. You can prune them back leaving only 2 sets of leaves and they will send out new side shoots.
Parsley, chives, mint and coriander will also grow back. Trim them back leaving 2-3 inches of stem and leaves and the plants will recover sending up new ones.
When pruning rosemary it is important not to cut them back into the old, brown wood. If you prune them too hard, the rosemary stems will not shoot back. You can be left with a dry, dead stick instead of a lush green rosemary plant.
Will tomatoes grow back if their stem is cut?
Tomato plants can grow back if their stem is cut however it is not recommended. Cutting or breaking off a tomato plant while leaving only a few leaves on the stem will lead to a stunted plant that may not ever produce fruit.
I had a cherry tomato plant that had a snapped stem which I kept looking after in the soil. After removing the snapped stem it did send out side shoots which eventually grew. The plant was far behind the others though and never really produced fruit.
Can a broken stem still grow?
Broken stems can be repaired in some circumstances if the stem has not completely broken. Bird of paradise leaf stems can often bend but can be straightened and will grow if they are held in place.
I recently broke the stem of my new plectranthus when planting. I was able to quickly straighten the stem and then stake it to hold it in place. The plant continued to grow and the stem was able to send nutrients and water up to the outer branches.
Plecranthus have a stem that can snap easily. Take care when are transplanting them.
If you cut the stem of a plant will it grow back?
If you cut the stem of the plant all the way through and there are no leaves on the plant then it usually does not grow back. There are some exceptions with some plants appreciating a heavy prune every few years but if you are not sure, then don’t do it. Plants will generally not continue to grow from a cut stem but will send out new ones instead.
I am an accredited practicing dietitian, experienced gardener and a dedicated cook. I love writing and sharing my experience so you can learn from my successes and mistakes.