Pinching back is the process of removing spindly growth to encourage branching lower down on the plant. It's appropriate only for some houseplants. Houseplants with a single growing point, such as palms, or those that grow from a crown, such as African violets, can't be pinched. But long, vining species such as Swedish ivy, philodendron, English ivy, and wandering Jew do better when they are pinched back. All you need to do is pinch off or clip off the overly long foliage just above a leaf. In a few weeks, new growth will sprout from the buds in the leaf axils just below where you made the pinch or cut. Many gardeners are too timid with the amount of foliage they remove. If you pinch the tips of the stems, new growth will develop at the tips. If you want new growth to develop at the base of the plant, cut it back severely.