Tuesday, October 2, 2012

How To Prune Philodendrons

Now that seems like a silly post title, "How to Prune Philodendrons", but if you get as many Google referrals as I do, you will notice that the search term "HOW TO" is ubiquitous.  (I love that word.)  People constantly search for "how to" do something.  On my Google analytics dashboard page, that term of "how to" is everywhere, so this will be a test post just to see how many hits I get from this topic of how to prune philodendrons.  (Believe it or not, my post found here on pig feet is my number ONE referral to this blog! Who knew pigs would draw such a crowd?)

So even though this mundane chore of pruning household plants might not interest you, dear reader, someone out there on the world wide web might be searching for just this topic that will make me a long distance teacher.  Here goes.

If your plants are getting leggy, with too few leaves along the stem, or if the leaves are spaced out too far apart and it looks like the stem is becoming thick, scissor intervention is necessary.  Now is the time to be ruthless, all for the good of the plant.  See how large the plant is? See the stems?

OK: now for a closer look at the roots and you can really see those legs that appear anemic, woody,  and too close together.  Tsk, tsk.

Next step: get out some new potting soil, some jars with water for sustaining your cuttings, a pair of scissors, and an aggressive attitude.

Take out the soil and plant from the pot, cut through those roots, discard the old roots at the bottom of the plant, and start your cutting.
Ensure that you have a nodule at the end with a bit of a root attached as this will help the root cutting adapt to the new soil.

Discard all the leggy runners.  Keep the shorter stems, again ensuring that a nodule is attached.  You should cut off leaves close to the nodule because you do not want any green leaf touching the water where they will stay until new roots have developed.

From just one plant, here is a picture of the salvaged leaves now in water awaiting new roots to grow.

With those stems that have been trimmed, roots longer than two inches mercilessly cut off from the main stem, they can be buried into the new potting soil.  Add even more soil to the top to ensure stability of the stem.  Here are two of the newly potted plants, looking much healthier and with more room to breathe.

From three plants I re-potted yesterday, we now have five jars of leaf and stem cuttings in water awaiting their roots to develop.  One jar is on the kitchen windowsill and the other four are tucked away in filtered light awaiting the same fate.  Maybe we should go into philodendron farming since there are so many awaiting future planting.  Would you like to adopt a jar?  Free for the taking!


  1. aw thanks for the tips..wish I had a philodendron.. love em..
    ...the granny cap LOL
    oh they are fun aren't they (:)

  2. I do not have a single house plant! Weird, huh?
    Thank you for your kind comment on my last post, Nancy. YOU are so nice.

  3. As I sit here typing there is a philodendron reading this post with me. Ha! I`ve rooted cuttings, but you showed me the right way to do it! I Google "How To`s" alot. You go girl!

  4. How too Funny!!!There the HowTo worked on me! Isn't it nutty how Google words work? Did you know that Google was not a word in the 1965 Edition of Webster? I wrote a post about computer lingo and the internet a while back, and used my Websters for reference.

    The title of that post is Blog...Exactly What Is It? written in August. I think you'll get a kick out of it. It kinda relates to this Google post.

    Anyway, you are very botanical savy knowing all that techie stuff about sproutin' roots and all. I use to have a green thumb but gave it up for lack of light in my house and no place to keep plants in the winter. Which has turned out to be a good thing since we are on Level 3 Water Conservation and no outside watering.

    Hope you are having a great week. Enjoyed this post.

  5. Haven't got one of these- but it's an interesting post for all gardeners. tee hee. Sure you may use MMe Ramotswe, she would love that.Look at my etsy shop- if you like her- I will give you a fabulos discount. xxx

  6. I gotta do this, I have them everywhere! I just pulled one limb out to root but have many more that need to be repotted! Have a blessed day and thanks a bunch for the inspiration:)


  7. Wow~nice tutorial....I had one ages ago. I think it went all the way around my living room...I needed your post then!

  8. Oooh thanks ... I always snip off the runners and put them in water to root, then give away to others. I have a philodendron at work that has four legs going all over the place! I'll need a bigger desk, soon.

  9. Yay Nancy! You go girl! This is great, and, well displayed. Your ivy loves haircuts, and, you get new plants in the process. This is an easy task, and rewarding. I'll bet you get plenty of 'how to' referrals! There are still plenty of novice plant lovers out there who can benefit from this post. Thank you for the refresher course! Hugs!♥

  10. Gosh, I miss my houseplant days. The cats have put an end to that. Time was when I had philodendron and many others all over the place. Cuttings were in abundance. Thanks for the great tutorial, even though I am sans houseplants these days.

  11. Lol, I Googled "philodendron leaves too far apart" and here I am! Thank you for the post and instructions, Ill be cutting my gangly plant back and thinning it out!


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