A Step-By-Step Guide on How to Propagate Any Philodendron
Posted on May 21 2021
Chances are, if you love plants, you’d love to have more plants for free! Whether you want to grow your collection, create a bushy plant, or have a living gift to pass on to a friend, propagation is the answer. Snipping your prized possession can be nerve-racking, though, so you may be wondering how to successfully propagate your Philodendron?
Identifying Your Philodendron
While there are over 450 species of Philodendron, there are two basic categories: (1) trailing and (2) non-trailing. Identifying which category your Philodendron falls under is an important step in understanding how to propagate it.
Trailing (aka vining) Philodendrons dangle downwards and will not grow upwards without a totem or trellis. Examples include the Philodendron Heartleaf, Brazil, and Mican.
Non-trailing (aka tree/self-heading) Philodendrons reach for the sky and can support themselves for a few years without interference. Examples include the Birkin and Philodendron Moonlight.
The #1 Rule: Propagate Healthy Plants
Unless this is a last-ditch effort to save the remnants of your prized Philodendron, only propagate healthy plants. Why? That will give the parent and cutting the best chances of a thriving recovery.
What does “healthy” mean? Disease-free, pest-free, and stress-free. Do not propagate a plant that has recently been repotted or is recovering from chronic underwatering. Let a few months go by.
How to Propagate a Trailing Philodendron
Step one: Take a good, long, hard look at your trailing Philodendron. Propagation is the perfect time to prune your vine to your desired shape. Any long stringy tendrils? It’s time to say goodbye!
What you’ll need: (1) Clean scissors, (2) a jar of room-temperature water.
- Snip a segment that has 3-4 leaves.
- Remove 1-2 leaves off the end.
- Place the segment in the water so that 1-2 nodes are submerged.
- Wait 4-6 weeks for the roots to grow 1 inch long.
- Plant your cutting in a moist, well-draining potting mix.
Tip: If your goal is to grow the fullest vine possible, place your rooted cuttings in your ‘mama plant’ on watering day!
What you’ll need: (1) Clean scissors, (2) a small pot with premoistened, well-draining soil.
- Chop a long vine to your desired length.
- Snip the long vine into smaller segments: 1 leaf per segment.
- Place the segment node-side-down into the pre moistened soil.
- Continue the process until you’ve used the entire vine.
- For 3-4 weeks, water when the topsoil is crumbly so the roots can establish.
- Afterward, water normally.
How to Propagate a Non-Trailing Philodendron
Let’s be honest here: Propagating a non-trailing (tree/self-heading) Philodendron is way more intimidating. Vines grow quickly and easily recover. Your little tree Philodendron? Well, you may feel like you’re sending it off to the guillotine. How can you make it a success?
Division: The Least Invasive Way
A healthy, mature Philodendron will eventually create offshoots (mini me’s) that can be divided at repotting. The downside? It takes lots of patience to await their arrival. The upside? Since little to no chopping is required and the offshoot is already rooted, success rates are high! How do you do it?
- Water your plant the day before.
- Remove your plant from its container.
- You should see independent offshoots around the edge of your Philodendron.
- Gently remove the dirt from the root ball with your hands. (Think: shampooing hair). Untangle the offshoot’s roots from the parent by hand.
- If there are a few roots that just won’t let go, cut them with sterile scissors.
- Repot your two plants in containers that are 1-2 inches larger than their existing roots.
Waiting for the right time to take a stem cutting also requires patience: For the best results, you need a stem cutting with a few nodes and aerial roots (those crazy rice noodles that stick out of the stem). Looking for some instructions?
- Calculate your cut before you cut. There’s no undo button here! Use your eyes and your hands to locate the segments in your Philodendron’s “trunk.” Nodes will be short ‘bumps’ while aerial roots are long. The portion you cut should have 1-2 segments (the more, the merrier!).
- Snip, snip. Make a diagonal cut (think: florist flower tips) below the segment. Remember, Philodendrons excrete a skin-irritating sap. Use gloves or wash your hands immediately after this process.
- If you’ve opted for a longer cutting, remove the bottom leaves.
- Place your cutting in a jar of room-temperature fresh water. Ensure that the nodes are submerged (this is where your new roots come from!).
- Put your propagation in a location that receives bright, indirect light.
- Change the water every few days.
- Plant your cutting in moist, well-draining soil once your roots are 1-inch long.
FAQ About Propagation
Do You Have to Pot your Philodendron Cutting?
It’s happened to all of us: You fall in love with your windowsill propagation and don’t want to see it go. Do you really have to plant it? The simple answer: no. But there’s more to it than that. Water is devoid of nutrients, encourages fungal infections, and can cause the eventual demise of your cutting. You will have to stay committed to regularly changing your cutting’s water and adding a tiny amount of liquid fertilizer into the water monthly. Even still, it’s wise to plant your Philodendron where it belongs eventually: well-draining soil.
Your Cutting’s Stem is Mushy: Now What?
Brown and mushy = rot. The reason behind it? You’ve either allowed your cutting to sit in stagnant water, or you did not cut the stem at the proper location. That means it’s time to try, try again!
If you have a long stem cutting that is still healthy, further up, cut off the rotten end, and place it in a clean jar with fresh water. Make sure you cut it just below the node so that the node is directly on the tip of the cutting. Change your water more frequently!
Where Are the Roots?
Has it been a week or two, and there’s no sign of roots? Patience! It can take weeks or months for roots to emerge. As long as the stem is still healthy-looking and your water is clean, continue as usual. Do you have your cuttings in a chilly windowsill? This could be the cause. New roots take warm temperatures to develop. Move them away from cold or drafty areas.
What about Rooting Gel or Powder?
While faster results might sound like a bonus, they can come at a high price (and no, we don’t mean money). Rooting products are not essential to your cutting’s success. Actually, they can speed things up so much that they compromise the plant’s health, slowing down the overall process. If you’re in for an adventure and want to give it a try, Rooting Gel is the best selection for water propagation, and Rooting Powder is the best for soil propagation.
Whichever method you try, have fun with the process. Our advice: If you can’t figure out how to propagate your Philodendron (or it seems too daunting), there’s nothing wrong with heading over to the plant shop to purchase your new jungle addition!