How to Cut Back a Philodendron
Philodendrons are famously easy-to-grow houseplants. They tolerate indoor conditions well and are forgiving of owner mistakes. A philodendron will grow on minimal care. But to thrive, it will need care and attention. Pruning is a great way to tame a spindly or long-limbed philodendron. An annual or periodic cutback will reduce your philodendron's size and stimulate it to grow thickly.
Cut individual philodendron leaves to a point just above a leaf. Leave as little stump above the leaf as possible. Cut back the philodendron as far as you would like. They respond well to a hard cutback. But leave at least three or four leaves on each vine so the philodendron can store enough energy to bounce back.
- Philodendrons are famously easy-to-grow houseplants.
- An annual or periodic cutback will reduce your philodendron's size and stimulate it to grow thickly.
Compost or discard the cut foliage.
Water the philodendron immediately after you prune it. A drought-stressed philodendron will not bounce back as readily after a hard pruning.
Cut the philodendron again when it looks spindly, sickly, or its vines get too long. Until then, allow the plant to grow as usual. Pruning does not have to be performed annually -- just when the plant needs it.
Care For Philodendron
Although philodendron (Philodendron spp.) Excess water should drain freely. Atypical of many foliage plants, philodendron is a heavy feeder. Look for a 24-8-16 premixed formulation, or a water-soluble fertilizer that you dilute typically at the rate of 1/2 teaspoon per gallon of water, and apply every two weeks during the plant’s growing season. One of the hardiest species, cut-leaf or tree philodendron (Philodendron bipinnatifidum, formerly Philodendron selloum), grows in USDA zones 9 through 11. Tree philodendron typically maintains a full, upright shape, but when the older leaves naturally wilt and turn yellow before they die, you can go ahead and prune them away.
- Compost or discard the cut foliage.
- Tree philodendron typically maintains a full, upright shape, but when the older leaves naturally wilt and turn yellow before they die, you can go ahead and prune them away.
Tree philodendrons may not be cut back in the same manner as houseplant philodendrons. They will survive, but they will not branch very well afterward.
- University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture; Tree Philodendron; Gerald Klingaman; Jan. 13, 2006
- "How Not to Murder Your Plants: A Book About the Care and Training of People Who Own House Plants"; Marilyn Hencken; 1988
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Philodendron Scandens
- University of Connecticut Cooperative Extension System: Philodendron
- Floridata: Philodendron Bipinnatifidum
- University of Florida: Hybrid Philodendrons
- Clemson Cooperative Extension: Philodendron
- University of Florida IFAS Extension: Disinfecting Pruning Tools
Based in Houston, Texas, Meg Butler is a professional farmer, house flipper and landscaper. When not busy learning about homes and appliances she's sharing that knowledge. Butler began blogging, editing and writing in 2000. Her work has appered in the "Houston Press" and several other publications. She has an A.A. in journalism and a B.A. in history from New York University.