Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map!

How to Cut Back a Philodendron

By Meg Butler ; Updated July 21, 2017

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.

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.


About the Author


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.