Blog Philodendron How To Propagate A Philodendron Properly

How to Propagate a Philodendron Properly

Curious how to propagate a philodendron? We break it all down in our latest blog. Read on to learn all about the propagation of philodendrons!

@Kiersten avatar
Kiersten Rankel
Dec 12, 2021

Philodendrons are a great plant that propagates very well and grows quickly, allowing you to easily increase your little garden of philodendrons without too much time or effort. This not only saves you money, but it’s also fun to watch your little plant babies propagate and begin to grow. 🍃

Photo by Macy_m12

What You’ll Need to Propagate a Philodendron

Having the right tools and techniques always makes any task in the world considerably easier. Propagating a philodendron is no different. To do it, you’ll need:  

A Healthy Philodendron

Obvious, but the first thing you need is, of course, a philodendron. To cut off a part of the plant, you need the parent plant to be healthy enough to sustain the loss and recover from the injury, while the cut stem should also have enough energy to grow and thrive in a new medium. So make sure your parent plant is healthy!

A Sharp Pair of Scissors

To prune a plant, you need your shearing scissors to be as sharp as possible. If you saw and hack at the plant, it will damage both the cutting and the parent plant. Moreover, always make sure the scissors you use are properly cleaned and sanitized. 

You can place them in boiling water to do this or simply use a sanitizing spray or a disinfectant oil or spray. This is important to prevent any infections in the cutting of the plant. 

A Nutritious Potting Mix

The next thing you’ll need is a good potting mix. Once you have your cutting, you need to provide it with either water or soil to allow it to grow. Even if you use water to propagate your philodendron, you’ll eventually need soil to plant it somewhere. 

Your ideal potting mixture should be light enough to provide proper drainage and aeration while also being nutrient-rich. You can buy a packaged potting medium or mix it yourself. The best thing is to mix soil with Perlite. 

A Rooting Hormone

A rooting hormone is a product designed to promote root growth in plants. It is formulated to support plant propagation. For water propagation, it’s best to go with a rooting hormone in gel form, applied to the bottom of the cutting.

For soil propagation, you can use it in any form. Apart from these things, you will also need a jar to keep the cuttings and to plant the cutting if you’re using water propagation. 

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Water Philodendron Propagation

Step 1: Obtain Cuttings from a Philodendron

To obtain cuttings from your plant, you’ll need to identify the old, strong growths at the bottom of the plant, toward the base. The fresh growth won’t be sturdy enough to withstand the injury. 

Once you know which part to cut, you’ll need to identify the nodes in that area. Philodendrons are usually propagated with either leaf bud or internodal cuttings. With internodal cuttings, you should cut in between two nodes, among a cluster of nodes, as the cutting will grow new roots from the nodes. Make sure not to damage either of the nodes and take as little of the stem as possible. 

This is the best way to propagate bush-like philodendrons. For vining philodendron species, you can go through with leaf-bud cuttings, which require a single node in the main stem. To do this, make a semi-circle around the node on one side of the stem, and take care not to damage the main stem too much.

Multiple cuttings increase your chances of successful propagation, however, the parent plant may not recover from such a significant loss. Opt for cuttings that are 4 to 6 inches long and have at least two nodes

One node should be submerged in water to grow roots, while the other one should stay out to grow leaves. Remove all leaves from the bottom of the stem, and leave the leaves at the top. You can rub a little rooting hormone on the cut part of your propagation stem to stimulate growth and prevent infections. 

Step 2: Put the Philodendron Cuttings in Water 

Now that your cutting is all prepped and ready to go, you can prep the water jar. Make sure to use room temperature water; too hot or too cold can shock the plant. The jar should have just enough water for the bottom of the cutting to dip in, along with a node. Place the cutting in the water jar and make sure none of the leaves are submerged, otherwise, they may rot. 

Photo by Esthersjungle

Step 3: Place the Water Jar in Indirect Light

The placement of the water jar is a crucial aspect of successful propagation. Since philodendrons are tropical plants, they aren’t used to direct light. That means you need to place your water propagation system in an area that receives a lot of bright, but indirect light throughout the day. Additionally, make sure the surrounding temperature and humidity levels are compatible and suitable for philodendrons. 

Step 4: Fertilize Your Cuttings

To supplement and encourage the growth of roots from your philodendron cutting, you can add fertilizer into the water. This will flush the plant system with nutrients and provide it with the necessary energy to grow. 

You can opt for packaged fertilizers, or use organic and natural options as well. For example, egg-shell-soaked water makes an excellent fertilizer for water propagation. However, keep in mind you’ll need to change out the jar of water every week if you go that route.

Step 5: Pot Your New Philodendron 

Once the plant starts growing roots and they’ve grown up to 4 inches in size, you’ll need to start thinking about repotting the plant. For this, you’ll need a large enough pot, with a good drainage system. 

To facilitate drainage and prevent over-saturation of the soil with moisture, you can add pebbles at the bottom of the pot. This will ensure the drainage holes don’t become blocked. It’s best to use a potting mixture containing soil and Pertile to help support aeration and prevent dampness. 

Soil Philodendron Propagation 

Soil propagation of a philodendron follows much the same steps as water propagation. The only major difference is that the cuttings are potted directly into a planter instead of a water jar. 

Step 1: Plant Your Philodendron Cuttings 

Use a mixture of soil and Pertile to create an ideal growth environment for your philodendron cutting. Make a hole in the soil and insert the cutting into it, ensuring the node is under the soil. Settle the soil down around the cutting and provide a small stake for support, if needed. 

Step 2: Water Your Philodendron Cuttings 

Most plants require a little more moisture in the soil while they’re growing new roots. However, it’s also imperative to make sure you don’t overwater the plant, as that will cause root rot. Use a moisture gauge, or insert your finger into the soil to assess the moisture levels inside. Create aeration before watering to ensure proper absorption and drainage. 

Tips for Maintaining and Growing a Philodendron 

Always Provide Optimal Light 

Philodendrons require bright light, albeit indirect, to thrive. If placed under direct sunlight, the plant will become dehydrated, turning the leaves brown and limp. However, they can also survive in low-to-medium levels of brightness.

Mist the Leaves 

Tropical plants love when you mist their leaves as it sort of mimics the feeling of a light rain shower. It also increases the moisture levels around the plant. Just be sure to dust the leaves before misting them to prevent pore blockage on the surface. 

Prune Regularly 

Pruning is essential in maintaining the health of a plant. Cutting off any dead or damaged leaves and stems saves energy that the plant may be used in an attempt to help them recover. That energy can be redirected elsewhere to ensure the plant thrives. 

You can also cut off excess leaves if the plant becomes too heavy. Cutting also gives extra energy to the surviving leaves. Ultimately pruning is a beautiful thing, boosting the health and growth of the plant when done right.

Other important reminders:

Keep away from pets!

Are philodendrons really toxic to cats and dogs? The short answer is yes because it contains a crystalline chemical called calcium oxalate, which is also harmful to birds and even us humans.

Pick a philodendron

There are different philodendron types, such as the philodendron xanadu, philodendron bipinnatifidum, philodendron selloum, philodendron micans, etc. So pick one that matches with the design of your home.

Look for and prevent signs of damage

When your philodendron leaves are turning yellow, or your philodendron leaves are curling, those are signs that something is wrong with the plant. Diagnose the problem and treat the plant accordingly.

Learning how to propagate a philodendron is relatively simple when you follow the steps we’ve outlined. Once you have the process down, you can do it any time and quickly grow your garden of beautiful philodendrons without buying new plants first. 🍃