A Philodendron, be it a trailing or a heart-shaped leaved specimen, will bring plenty of joy to your home and garden. This super popular ornamental plant has gained its reputation through an irresistible mix of adorable appearance and low-maintenance personality.
The Philodendron family of plants contains hundreds of attractive ornamentals that are popular worldwide thanks to their exotic foliage. The leaves of Philodendron plants are usually a rich green, glossy, and large, so if you are looking for a plant with jungle vibes, this ornamental is a perfect option.
As mentioned above, there are two main types of ornamental philodendrons that you can choose from climbing (trailing or vining) and non-climbing. The climbing varieties are fast growers that can reach several feet quite quickly and can be trained to climb different structures. The climbing/vining varieties will also make perfect ornamentals to grow in hanging baskets. Non-climbing varieties are great options if you are looking for statement plants that grow upright and will surprise you with their robust and excellent foliage.
All a Philodendron needs to thrive and keep you company for a long time is, as you might already know, a mix of lots of indirect light and regular watering. And the best part is you can even forget to water your plant a few times without putting your beloved Philodendron’s life in danger. A very forgiving companion!
Given the extraordinary nature and features of Philodendron, you could expect this plant to also be easy to propagate. Well, the good news is that you are absolutely right! Although Philodendrons do not come along with numerous methods of propagation, the ones that we featured in this guide will help you make it happen. In terms of effort, minimal levels are what you are looking for. Too much time spent? Not a chance!
Keep reading to find out how you can propagate your Philodendron buddy! In just a few easy steps, you will have more Philodendron plants to fill your collection with or gift to those special persons in your life.
Propagating Philodendron Using Stem Cuttings
This method is our favourite as it is the most effective and easy way to obtain more Philodendron plants in the blink of an eye. The ideal time to take Philodendron cuttings is usually early spring, as this is when the plant gets vigorous. Before the party starts, however, you will have to find a nice sharp knife or very good garden snips.
You want your Philodendron stem cuttings to be around 5 inches (12.5 cm) in length for optimal results, especially if you are dealing with a leggy plant. With the chosen tool, cut as many stems as you want off your vine. This process requires you to take cuttings just above a leaf node at a 45-degree angle with about two or three leaves attached to them. First of all, this will allow your beloved Philodendron to produce more leaves and shoots from the cut point. On the other hand, the cuttings will have plenty of room to form their new roots. If you have any leaves near the bottom of your cuttings, you should trim them off right away.
From now on, propagating Philodendrons through cuttings goes in two different directions. You can root the cuttings in either water or directly in soil without affecting the results in any way. The choice is entirely yours and you can even use both of these options if you are the curious type.
Method 1 – Propagating Philodendrons In Water
Fill a container (usually a jar or a glass) with fresh water. You can use tap water, but just to make sure everything works nicely, we highly recommend you opt for distilled, room-temperature water instead. This particular type of water will help you avoid dealing with chemicals that may affect the overall health of your Philodendron cuttings.
You can use a container for three to four cuttings. Place the cuttings in their containers and keep the nodes fully submerged in water for the fastest root development out there. Move the jars or glasses to a location where the Philodendron cuttings can get plenty of bright, but indirect sunlight.
It would be wise to change the water once every few days to create a constantly fresh propagation medium. If you are doing this properly, your Philodendron cuttings should come back with roots after several weeks or so. You can transplant the cuttings in their individual pots when you notice a robust, one-inch (2.5 cm) root system.
As with the glass container, you can also plant the Philodendron cuttings in pairs of three to four specimens. Fill as many pots as you need with fresh potting soil. You can use a regular houseplant mix that features very sharp drainage. The pots should be around 3 to 4 inches (7.5-10 cm) in diameter to spoil the cuttings with enough room to grow as they please.
Plant the pairs of Philodendron cuttings in their containers, then water their growing medium until it becomes damp to the touch. After this, water the cuttings again to keep them constantly well-watered. This watering routine will help the new plants to adapt to their new environment in little to no time. Keep the cuttings in bright, indirect light and enjoy their presence as individual Philodendron plants for as long as you can.
Method 2 – Propagating Philodendrons In Soil
If you want to skip all the root-in-water parts, we have great news – you can absolutely do it! Propagating your Philodendron plant through stem cuttings directly in the soil will help you save a few more extra weeks of waiting for new, mesmerizing plants.
This method is pretty similar in execution to the one presented earlier. However, you need to get through some extra steps for this one, as the plants won’t get the same amount of moisture as they would when rooting in water.
Once you have the Philodendron cuttings, it would be great to dip their cut ends in a rooting hormone. You can use a commercial rooting hormone or, if you want something on the greener side, try dipping the cuttings in cinnamon. Doing this before you plant the cuttings in the soil will promote better and much faster rooting in general.
When you finish with the rooting hormone, you can start preparing the propagation medium for your Philodendron cuttings. As in the first method, you must fill a pot of 3 to 4 inches (7.5-10 cm) wide with fresh houseplant soil for each pair of 3-4 cuttings you have. Plant the cuttings in their containers, water them well, and then move them in a bright, indirect-lit spot. Make sure you maintain their soil constantly damp and, in a few weeks, you should expect new growth and roots.
Starting Your Own Philodendron from Seed
We must say from the very beginning that starting your own Philodendron plants from seed takes a while to show spectacular results. Still, the process is an interesting experience and it can definitely become a fun and rewarding hobby with time! And if you are doing this right, you will surely end up with quite a few showy Philodendrons.
First, you will have to prepare the propagation medium for the Philodendron seeds. Fill a planter of your choice, whether it be a pot or a tray, with some well-draining potting mix, and try to make it moist but not soggy.
With many species of plants, soaking the seeds is a mandatory process if you want to have the best results out there. This is not the case for Philodendron seeds, as they can germinate just fine without soaking them in water. Yet, the process can be pretty helpful in case you do not want to get too old until some seedlings decide to show up. You can pour some warm water into a jar, place the seeds in, and allow them to sit in water for one or two days.
Once the soaking period has ended, you must sow the seeds about 2 inches (5 cm) apart from each other. Cover the container with plastic wrap or a plastic bag to maintain the ideal levels of humidity for germination. The seeds should experience temperatures around 70 F (). Make sure you check the propagation medium regularly to prevent it from drying out too much. Keeping the soil moist is always the key solution for better germination, which should start after a few months.
When you notice some seedlings emerging, this is an indicator that you can start hardening them up. First things first, remove the plastic covering regularly for increasing periods. Eventually, you can get rid of the covering for good and mist the seedlings to keep the humidity levels at preferred values. During this period, you will still have to water the Philodendron seedlings whenever the top layer of soil feels dry to the touch. As the seedlings grow, you can start letting the substrate dry out a little more in-between drinks.
- Phildendron Seeds
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- Grown for its variegated, attractive foliage, start these Hypoestes seeds for a delightful plant indoors as a perennial or outdoors in the shade garden as an annual.
- Polka Dot plants grows readily from seeds and will reach just 10 - 12 inches tall and 9 inches wide. They can become leggy, so do not hesitate to pinch the stems back as they grow.
- One of the most effortless house plants or shade plants you will ever grow. An annual foliage plant, it springs right up from flower seed, quickly reaching its mature size. Add this plant to your fairy garden for a splash of unusually colorful foliage.
- Grow as a perennial houseplant or an annual outdoor plant in zones 3 - 8. May grow as a perennial in USDA zone 9.
- Transplant the young plants outdoors after danger of frost has passed. Do not hesitate to pinch the growing tips back 2 – 3 times during the early growth to encourage a more compact growth habit. Space the plants 12 - 16 inches apart. Grow in partial shade to full shade and in moist, well-drained soil.
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Propagating Philodendron Through Division
If you are the lucky owner of a bushy and healthy Philodendron, you can take the opportunity to propagate it by dividing its roots. This plant already has a healthy root system, so the only thing you should worry about is transplant shock. But there is a trick that will help you ameliorate the transplant shock – water your plant thoroughly before dividing it. This process will also loosen the soil, which is great for a plant with messy roots like this buddy right here.
When your Philodendron plant is ready, you can remove it from its container, and then split it into sections. Depending on the maturity of your companion, you can divide it into sections of two or three shoots. After this, you can replant the mother plant in its pot.
The divided Philodendron shoots must go in their individual pots filled with well-draining houseplant potting soil. Water them a bit after the transplanting part to give them a nice boost in their new home. Easy like that!
Philodendron Growing Tips and Tricks
- Philodendrons are perfect houseplants because of their air-purifying qualities – these versatile plants can remove formaldehyde gases from the air.
- Philodendrons will thrive in your home if you manage to mimic their natural habitat – a tropical rainforest. This is not as difficult as it might sound as you will just have to provide your plants with plenty of warmth and moisture. A sunny windowsill is a perfect place for your philodendrons.
- During the warm season, you can take your philodendron plants outdoors, in a sheltered location, where they will get to enjoy the warmth and fresh air. Direct sunlight can scorch the leaves of the philodendron, so make sure you protect it, especially in the afternoon.
- Philodendrons have large leaves and it is quite common for them to get covered in dust. It’s recommended to clean the plant’s leaves with a soft damp cloth to ensure that the plants can absorb as much light as they need.
- Philodendron plants are not very susceptible to pests and diseases, but it is not uncommon for thrips, spider mites, aphids, mealybugs, and scale to show up once in a while. To keep your plants healthy, make sure you avoid keeping your plants in soggy soil, avoid overcrowding your plants, and ensure they get plenty of light. If you notice a pest infestation, you can treat the plants with neem oil or natural insecticidal solutions. Aphid infestations can be removed by simply washing the aphids off of your plants.
- In terms of soil, Philodendrons thrive in loose potting soil that is nourishing and rich in organic matter. Like most ornamental houseplants, philodendrons also require soil that has very good drainage to prevent root rot. If you grow your plants indoors in containers, it is recommended to change the soil and repot your plant every couple of years.
- Repotting philodendrons can be a fun activity and a nice opportunity for you to change the old containers with prettier ones. The ideal time to report philodendron plants is in late spring or early summer. If your plant outgrew its current container, choose a slightly larger one. It is very important for the containers in which you keep your Philodendrons to have drainage holes at the bottom, so make sure you don’t forget about this aspect. If you’re not sure whether your plant needs repotting, check the bottom of its current container. If the roots are sticking out through the drainage holes, it means that the root ball would be grateful with a roomier container. Repotting Philodendrons is an easy and straightforward activity – all you have to do is carefully and gently remove the plant from the old container, add fresh soil to the new container, put the plant in the new container, and water it generously.
- Philodendrons can be sensitive to salt build-up in their soil due to repeated watering. This phenomenon can lead to yellowing leaves, so it’s important to water the container and soak the soil periodically until water comes out of the drainage holes. You can do so by placing your plants in the shower and giving them a generous watering. Don’t forget to allow the water to drain before placing the containers in their regular spot.
- Philodendrons are moderate plants when it comes to their watering needs. They are not as drought-resistant as succulents and cacti, but they don’t need daily watering either. So, the best way to know when to water your philodendrons is by checking their soil. If the top inch of the soil is dry, you can add more water.
- Overwatering and underwatering are common issues that can easily be avoided by adjusting your watering schedule to the surrounding environment. The ‘soak and dry’ watering technique is extremely helpful not just for philodendrons but also for most ornamental plants.
- Another important aspect of growing Philodendrons that can also help with your propagation efforts is pruning. These ornamentals can become a bit leggy and this problem can easily be solved with a little pruning. You can use a pair of sterilised scissors or pruning shears to give your plants a nice trim and you can use the cuttings to create more plants. The best time for Philodendron pruning is in spring and summer.
- As we previously mentioned, Philodendrons are tropical plants, and if you already own other tropical plants you might know that overwintering is an important part of their annual growth routine. So, if you don’t live in a tropical region, you might want to adjust your caring routine to match the changing seasons. As the days become shorter, your plant will get less natural light. This is when you should reduce watering a bit. This does not mean that you need to stop watering your plants, only that you should pay attention as your plant might not absorb as much moisture as it did during the summer.
- If you kept your Philodendron outdoors during the warm months, check it for insects, pests, and potential diseases before bringing it back inside. This is an important step in preventing plant pests from spreading to your other houseplants.
- The only issue with the philodendron family of plants is the fact that they are quite toxic to humans, dogs and cats. Philodendrons are not the most poisonous plants out there, but humans and animals can develop all sorts of digestive issues if they ingest the plant.
No matter what method you choose to propagate your Philodendron with, it will reward you back with more exquisite plants and lots of fun along the way. And the best part is that all methods require no prior experience in the gardening world. You can expect beautiful results even if you are at the beginning of the road. All you need is just a bit of courage and, of course, a Philodendron!