How to trim stem plants?

I have some limnophila sessiflora and bacopa caroliniana which are growing too tall for my tank. I have a few questions regarding trimming, which are proving difficult to find answers to.

1. Is there a specific way to cut stem plants?
2. How do I ensure the plant I cut from (old plant) keeps growing? If I cut off the top where new leaves are sprouting, should I leave a little bit of stem? Cut right down to the next node? Will it keep growing new leaves?
3. How long do you think it will take for the old plant to resume growing, if it does?

I have plant scissors arriving in a few weeks. I just used my nail to "trim" it previously. I've heard if the stem is too bruised (from dull scissors/cutting tool), the plant won't grow easily. I don't sharpen my nails, lol - do you think this would be a problem?

- Att.
I've done it both ways. Just nip it off with my nails if scissors aren't in reach at the moment or with scissors if i plan ahead in time. Either way they seem to grow just fine. I clip them close to a set of leaves. New leaves will grow at the base of each leaf. You can either leave the stem below a leaf node on the piece you clipped or or trim it close to the next set of leaves. I don't think it matters. Most stem plants will produce roots at just about all of the nodes along the stem.
1. Not really, but the easiest way is by cutting in a middle of an internode. This is the stem area between each section of leaves, cut it with a crisp cut and you got two separate plants. Roots will begin forming on the top cut node, just place the new piece in the substrate and it will do the rest of the work for you. A trick with stem plants is that you can place groupings next to each other to create a nice and full bushy look to your aquascape.
2. Ensure you leave a node or two on the old stem and make sure it still has access to light. The old plant will often branch out with 2 or more stems where the leaves are on the top node that is left. People purposely train the stem plants to branch out this way to prevent having a long and leggy stem plant. I do this practice myself actually and it works for just about every stem plant out there.
3. The old plant should start growing new nodes right away provided it still has access to light and nutrients, but the new top will have to get established first before it starts growing again.
  • Thread Starter
I appreciate your replies! I will keep all this in mind for when I have to trim once more. I hope this can be of use to anyone searching for these answers. Thank you again for sharing your knowledge, JLAquatics and mattgirl. :)
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