Philodendrons are among the most-prized houseplants you could have. In hanging baskets, on shelves, or in pots, they’re difficult to miss. From upright varieties to climbing and hanging types with their huge and variegated leaves, there’s always one for your indoor space.
However, these low-maintenance plants do have one problem—self-reproduction. In most cases, humans do hand pollination; and you can do just that. You may even tweak it and make a crossbreed.
Here’s your guide on how to crossbreed philodendron. Glad we can help!
Before we get to the process of how to crossbreed philodendrons, here are key things you need to know first:
A Philodendron is a genus of tropical flowering plants under the Araceae family. They’re generally categorized into two:
These slow-growing plants have characteristically large leaves and stand uprightly while potted indoors. Some varieties include Green Congo and Xanadu.
Under this category are the climbing or hanging philodendrons. They’re usually placed in baskets or shelves for their more dramatic effect. These include types such as the Green Heartleaf and Pink Brasil.
Philodendrons have blooms or inflorescence that are nowhere near your typical flowers.
The blooms are made up of the spathe, which is a leaf-like enclosure, as well as the spadix, which resembles a tubular structure within the spathe.
Although equipped with both male and female parts for reproduction, philodendrons are unable to self-pollinate.
This inability comes from the structure of the spadix. An area of sterile male flowers separates the fertile males and fertile females, making pollination impossible.
Cross-breeding allows for the enhancement of desirable traits among varieties.
This seems complicated; yet, it isn’t.
You just need your hands, a container, and the plants of interest and you can try crossbreeding on your own.
Here are five steps on how to crossbreed a philodendron:
Critical to cross-breeding is your choice of variety. Parent plants are usually kept within the same genus for a higher success rate.
The resulting cross-breed will inherit traits from its parents, forming a unique set of its own. Thus, pick varieties with characteristics suitable to your taste.
The variety that’ll provide the pollen is called the giver plant. The best time to collect pollen from its male reproductive part, normally, is around two days after its female counterpart is fertile.
Prepare a sterile container. Remove the spadix from the plant and allow the pollen to dislodge through gentle shaking into the container.
Philodendrons have a unique way of showing that they’re ready for pollination. Fertility is signaled by the spathe undergoing thermogenesis or heating up until the spadix opens. This is also the time when they’re most fragrant.
Hand-pollinate the plant during this two-day window. With the aid of a paintbrush or a makeup brush, carefully take the pollen from the container. Then, gently rub it into the fertile female flowers of the receiver plant, which are located at the bottom of the spadix.
Reproductivity happens most likely during the night. So, consider doing this activity during these hours.
The top portion of the spadix may wrinkle or get dotted. This only means that the flower has closed off from other pollinators—a good sign.
Watch out for the growth of a fruit or a berry. This berry swells through time and will force the wrinkled top portion of the spadix to fall off. Wait until the berry ripens and turns into a different color.
Then, it’ll be ready for harvest.
Remove the seeds from the berry. Wash them off in a strainer and dry them out.
Store in envelopes for your next planting season.
Just like any other plant, philodendrons have growth requirements. Here are some reminders for when you plant your seedlings:
- Use well-draining soil. Remember to water the soil once the top inch is dry.
- Pick a bright indoor location. Philodendrons normally thrive indoors with bright indirect sunlight.
- Check for high temperatures and humidity. These tropical plants are capable of withstanding high temperatures. Tolerance to high humidity makes certain varieties suitable even in bathrooms.
- Fertilize. At least once a month, supply fertilizers during growing seasons.
- Prune. This task encourages growth and is best performed in spring.
Philodendrons need hand pollination due to their inability to self-reproduce. This doesn’t only apply to pollination among the same varieties but also to crossbreeding.
Given our five steps on how to crossbreed philodendrons, you realize it’s an easy task that simply requires timing.
From harvesting pollen from the giver plant to pollinating the receptor, it boils down to knowing their reproductive cycles. However, all the long wait will be well worth it when you create your own breed.
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.