Cutting back or pruning is beneficial to most plants, even for philodendrons. It helps get rid of wilted stems and makes room for new ones to emerge.
Furthermore, one mustn’t simply know how to prune philodendrons. You must also do it properly to promote healthy growth by cutting at the base with a sterile tool.
Additionally, there are many factors to consider, such as timing and aftercare, to ensure successful pruning.
Are you interested in learning more? Then, let’s begin.
Here’s how to prune your philodendrons correctly.
- Ready your pruning tools: it could be a pair of scissors, shears, or knives.
- Disinfect by wiping off the blades with a clean piece of cloth and rubbing alcohol.
- For your safety, it’s best to wear a pair of gloves during the process and discard them properly afterward.
- Cut the longest stem along the soil line
- When choosing stems to cut, pick the longest ones as they’re usually the oldest.
- If your intention for pruning is propagation, you may cut approximately 3 to 6 inches long from a robust stem. Be sure that it has a few healthy leaves to ensure viability.
- Sometimes, you’ll find yellow leaves on a healthy stem. You may cut them off as well.
- When snipping yellow leaves, do so right at the point where the petiole connects to the main stem.
- After removing unwanted stems and leaves, add compost to the soil and water the mother plant so that your plant can recover efficiently.
It’s generally safe to trim philodendrons all year round. That said, here are a few signs that tell you it’s time for pruning.
While it’s normal for philodendrons to grow due to their aerial roots, growing leggy can be unsightly. You can fix this by removing elongated stems.
Make sure that you relocate your plant to a brighter location afterward, so that it can avoid the same condition in the future.
After the stem or leaf is spent, it will naturally turn yellow as part of its growth cycle. In this case, there isn’t much you can do but prune, since the stem will eventually wither, anyway.
Moreover, a stem reaches an age where it stops growing leaves for good. If you notice this, it’s also a sign for you to prune that stem as well.
You may trim your philodendron according to your liking. It could be to match your room aesthetics, or so that the plant could fit in a small pot.
So, if you think that it’s too long, then, by all means, cut away. Just make sure that you follow the procedure above for the best results.
Yes, you can definitely cut back philodendrons, so don’t worry as this won’t harm them. On the contrary, pruning brings a lot of benefits to your plants.
Take a look.
You must be wondering how exactly cutting off stems makes a plant healthier. It’s through cutting down on competition.
Stems and leaves, regardless of age and condition, compete for water and soil nutrients. This is why it’s better to remove the oldest stems, which are nearing the end of their natural life.
By doing this, you’re leaving enough nourishment for your plant to encourage new growth. After pruning, you can expect your philodendron to reward you with tiny, new leaves in a few weeks.
You’ll notice that overcrowded pots of philodendrons have more yellow leaves and stems than regularly-trimmed ones. In such cases, even juvenile stems could start yellowing earlier than expected.
The reason for this is that the younger leaves, which are found in the inner part of the bunch, may not be getting enough light. Thus, pruning helps give every leaf a chance to bask in the brightness and make its food.
A congested pot could collect water at the base and attract bacteria. If this happens, it could lead to plant diseases like root rot.
This could be fatal for your philodendron as the damage starts from the roots. In such cases, the problem is already severe the moment you find out about it.
The obvious signs of root rot may include premature yellowing, black or brown spots on leaves, and limp stems. The damage is commonly at the bottom stems and leaves closest to the ground.
This can be fixed, though, by repotting your philodendron as soon as possible. However, before transferring to different of soil, you’ll need to wash the roots, remove the infected parts, and treat them with an organic fungicide.
Philodendrons rarely bloom, especially indoors. This is why they’re more celebrated for their foliage than their flowers.
As such, healthy philodendrons reward their keepers with dark green leaves and firm stems. Moreover, these flowering plants could grow leggy if not pruned properly.
The legging is a result of insufficient light, which is characterized by leaves growing 10 to 15 inches apart. This could make the philodendron less attractive besides being a symptom of poor plant health.
Also, we recommend cutting on the nodes to prevent unsightly stubs in random places on the stem.
Cuttings from pruning may be re-planted for propagation, as long as there are at least three leaves in a single stem. Who doesn’t want more philodendrons, anyway?
Remember, though, that this will only work with healthy stems. On the other hand, you may discard yellow or wilted stems.
Pruning is done for a reason, hence, you’d want to do it right. That said, here are more tips that will help you successfully achieve the purpose of pruning.
Don’t trim more than 20% at a time as this could stress out your philodendrons. Otherwise, it might take longer for your plant to grow back.
Remember that the leaves are responsible for photosynthesis, so leave enough greens for the plant to recover properly.
Disinfecting your pruning tools is important in inhibiting the spread of diseases. Even if the plant appears to be healthy, you must disinfect it between cuttings and before putting the tool away.
To do this, you’ll only need a clean piece of cloth and some rubbing alcohol. Wiping off the knife or scissors after cutting should take care of the problem.
There’s no need to soak your shears in rubbing alcohol.
Pruning could be stressful for the plant, too. Therefore, after trimming your philodendron, apply high-quality compost to the soil and water it.
By feeding your plant, you’re helping it recuperate and grow back in better shape.
Organic matter may be good for the soil, but it’s not ideal to leave cuttings in the plant to rot indoors. Without enough light and ventilation, the decaying matter could attract pests and bacteria, which may not end well for your plants.
Additionally, this could also pose a threat to the occupants in the home, including pets.
The best practice would be to throw the cuttings into the compost bin.
Then, put only high-quality compost into the pot or plant box. You’ll know this if the compost has the following qualities:
- Dark, almost black brown
- Has an earthy odor, no foul
- Has sufficient water retention, but no clay-like consistency
- Loose enough for good aeration
- Does not attract maggots or flies
Pruning isn’t as complicated as you might think. Besides, it’s a foolproof method to get weak philodendrons to grow back healthier.
You don’t need to worry about making a mistake because more often than not, you can’t go wrong with pruning. Moreover, this type of plant is resilient, so it’ll be up and perky in a week after trimming.
So, keep a tab on this guide on how to prune philodendrons if you want your plants to grow lush and free of disease.
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.