Philodendrons are one of the easiest plants to grow indoors. Not only does it provide stunning foliage with a tropical allure, but you can also propagate philodendrons in just a few minutes.
Propagating plants gives you the ability to make more baby plants from your beloved philodendron. They also make wonderful gifts for friends and family.
Keep reading to learn how you can propagate philodendron plants.
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How to propagate philodendron
When you propagate a philodendron, you take a piece from the plant and try to root it to make a new plant. While the actual propagating process is rather quick, as you’ll see below, the rooting process can take several months.
1. Obtain your tools
To propagate a philodendron, you will need a few tools, including gloves and a long sleeve shirt.
Philodendrons contain a sap that can cause contact dermatitis and skin irritation. Because of this, you should always wear gloves when working with your philodendron.
Additionally, you will need a pair of sharp pruning shears, a glass vase or growing container, and water or soil. For the best results, use the same type of potting soil for the cutting as you use for the parent plant.
2. Select your stem for propagation
Before you even pick up the pruning shears, make sure to select which stem you will be using for your cutting. Select a stem that is about 3 to 6 inches long with several leaves.
It should go without saying, but you should also only propagate a healthy philodendron plant and not one that is diseased or dying.
3. Cut the stem off the plant
Once you have selected the stem you are using, snip it off the philodendron with a pair of sharp pruning shears. Make sure to make the cut right above a leaf node.
When you make the cut, try to do so at a 45-degree angle. This will help ensure you get the most rooting area.
Find out more: 6 Easy Steps to Trim a Philodendron (to Prune for Growth)
4. Remove the bottom leaves
Remove and discard the bottom leaves on the stem cutting. You don’t want any leaves touching the soil or water as this can lead to rot.
Don’t remove all the leaves, since you will need the top leaves to absorb the sun’s rays.
5. Dip the cutting in rooting hormone
This step is not required and can be skipped. Rooting hormone can help speed up the length of time it takes for the cutting to produce roots. It is easy to obtain and can be purchased from garden centers.
6. Place the cutting in water or soil
Decide how you will be rotting your cutting and then either submerge the cut end of the stem in water or plant the stem, cut side down, in your philodendron’s soil.
No matter which one you choose, you will need to place the cutting in an area where it will get indirect, bright light.
7. Change the water
If you are rooting the cutting in water, you will need to replace the water about once every week or when the water becomes cloudy. This step can be skipped if you are rooting the cutting in soil.
8. Transplant the cutting
This is another step just for those who are rooting the cutting in water. Once you see the roots are about 3 to 4 inches, it’s time to plant the cutting in soil.
Use the same type of soil that the parent plant is growing in. Carefully plant the cutting, root side down, into the soil. Water the young plant deeply until water runs out of the pot’s drainage holes, and then care for the plant as you normally would.
9. Be prepared to wait
Rooting a cutting can be a long process. In fact, it can take several weeks to a few months before roots grow long enough to transplant the cutting from water to soil. So if your cutting isn’t rooting quickly, it doesn’t mean something is wrong.
10. Watch for signs of trouble
You shouldn’t simply set the cutting to the side and forget about it, since a lot of things can go wrong if you’re not careful. Instead, regularly examine the cutting looking for signs of potential problems, such as dead or dying leaves or a soft, rotted stem.
If you see any signs of problems, you may have to discard the stem cutting and start fresh with a new one. While this isn’t ideal, you don’t want to continue trying to root a cutting that is unhealthy.
Is it better to propagate philodendron in soil or water?
You can propagate philodendrons in either soil or water although it tends to be easier to do so in water. This is because you can see the roots growing, so you know when the cutting is ready to be transplanted to soil.
When deciding which method to go with, think about which one you feel more comfortable with, as well as which method works best for you and your lifestyle.
For some people, the thought of rooting in water just doesn’t sit well with them, while others like the idea of being able to see how far along the rooting process is.
Can I use tap water to propagate philodendron in?
You can use tap water to propagate your philodendron, although if you choose to do so, it’s best to fill your container with tap water and then let it sit overnight. This will give any chlorine inside the tap water enough time to dissipate before use.
Whether or not you should use tap water to propagate philodendron is a touchy subject. Some gardeners are completely against the use of tap water, while others say it doesn’t matter. The problem boils down to what is in the tap water, such as chlorine.
Some cities add chlorine to their water supply, and as I am sure you are aware, chlorine can damage a lot of plants. If you are concerned about this issue, you can forgo the tap water and use spring water, distilled water, filtered water, or rain water instead.
Can you grow a philodendron from cuttings?
Philodendrons are propagated via stem cuttings, which will require removing a piece of stem from a healthy plant. The stem should be about 3 to 6 inches long and have a node and, ideally, several leaves attached. Once the stem has been removed from the plant, it can be rooted in either water or soil.
Make sure to remove the bottom leaves before placing the stem cutting in the growing medium you choose. Don’t remove all leaves, however, since the cutting will need some foliage in order to absorb the nutrients from the sun’s rays.
Once you have the cutting planted in its growing medium, set it in a sunny area where it will receive bright, indirect light. Regularly check the soil for dryness and water as needed. If rooting the cutting in water, change the water when it becomes cloudy or about once every week.
Can I propagate philodendron from cuttings pruned off the plant?
Yes, you can! One of the great things about being able to propagate a philodendron by stem cuttings is that you can use the stems you have already removed from the plant during maintenance pruning. This means you don’t have to remove additional parts off your philodendron.
With that said, however, there are a few things to consider. The first is that you shouldn’t use stems that are diseased as this will only transfer the disease to cutting. Additionally, the stem will still need to be about 3 to 6 inches long and have at least one, but preferably more, leaf nodes.
If the pruned stem checks off all these boxes, you can happily use it to propagate philodendron. Simply remove the lower leaves so they don’t touch the water or soil, and then submerge the cut end of the stem in water or plant it in the soil.
Can you propagate a single philodendron leaf?
Unfortunately, philodendrons cannot be propagated via leaf cuttings. While there are some plants where this works, such as African Violets, Swedish Ivy, and Jade plants, the philodendron isn’t one of them. In order to propagate a philodendron, you will need to take a stem cutting that has a node.
The good news, however, is that obtaining a stem cutting is just as easy as obtaining a leaf cutting, and requires the same tools and rooting methods. Just select a stem that is about 3 to 6 inches long and has multiple leaves attached.
Use a pair of sharp pruning shears and cut the stem off the plant just above a leaf node. When you make the cut, try to make it at a 45-degree angle. The stem cutting can then be rooted in water or soil, whichever you prefer.
Can you propagate a philodendron leaf without a node?
Philodendrons do require the stem to have at least one leaf node in order to propagate. The nodes are where the roots will grow from. Without the leaf nodes, roots cannot grow and you are left with a stem cutting that just won’t root.
That is why it is vital to only take a cutting from a stem that has at least one leaf node. For the best results, however, choose a stem that has multiple leaves. The more the better.
Another thing to consider is that, even if the cutting has a leaf node, it may still not root properly if there are no other leaves attached to it. Leaves are vital for the plant to obtain nutrients from the sun, and without them, the plant won’t grow as intended. The same goes for stem cuttings.
Where do you cut philodendron for propagation?
The best place to cut philodendron for propagation is just above a leaf node on a stem that is about 3 to 6 inches long. This is because the node is where new roots can grow from and so a cutting without a node won’t root.
Cutting a plant in this place is not only beneficial for the stem cutting, but for the parent plant as well, as it ensures you are leaving the parent plant with a new location for growth to occur.
That said, no matter what, only use sanitized and sharp pruning shears.
Pruning shears are one of the most common ways that cross contamination between plants occurs, resulting in one diseased plant infecting all your other plants. Cleaning and sanitizing the shears after each use is your best defense against potentially infecting your houseplants with diseases.
How do you propagate philodendrons with aerial roots?
To propagate philodendron with its aerial roots, simply take a stem cutting from a stem that has aerial roots. From there, propagating a philodendron with aerial roots is done in the same manner as the standard propagation process, whether you choose to use soil or water for this.
The only difference from the standard way of doing this is that you use a portion of the plant that already has roots. You see, philodendron produces aerial roots, which are roots that grow on the plant’s stem above ground.
Aerial roots help to stabilize the philodendron as it grows upward on a tree or other vertical surface. They can also help to provide some nutrients for the philodendron.