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How to Remove Split Leaf Philodendrons

By S. McMullen ; Updated July 21, 2017

Split-leaf philodendrons (Monstera deliciosa) occur naturally in the shaded understory of the tropical jungles across Central America. Although primarily grown as a houseplant, split-leaf philodendrons work well as outdoor ornamentals in U.S. Department of Agriculture zones 10 to 11, where they will eventually reach 70 feet in height if left unpruned. The 1 1/2-foot-long leaves present an exotic and attractive appearance, but they will easily shade out and kill less vigorous plants if left to grow unchecked. Removing split-leaf philodendrons becomes necessary when they begin to overtake the garden, but it is a surprisingly easy task despite their massive size and dense root system.

Dig a shallow ditch with a 12-inch diameter around the base of the split-leaf philodendron plant using a mattock to direct water toward the root system. Dig it to a depth of 2 inches.

Water the split-leaf philodendron plant deeply the day before removing it to soften the soil. Run a garden hose on low at the base of the plant for 15 to 20 minutes.

Prune the split-leaf philodendron to remove all the foliage and stems using a pair of large pruning shears. Cut it down so just a small portion of the trunk remains. Cut up the leaves and stems. Discard them in a green waste can.

Create a 12-inch-diameter mark around the base of the split-leaf philodendron plant using a pointed shovel. Insert the shovel 1- to 1 1/2-feet deep into the soil around the base of the plant.

Work the shovel under the root-ball of the split-leaf philodendron. Pry the root-ball out of the ground using the pointed shovel. Scrape the inside of the hole using the shovel to remove any remaining root fragments.

Discard the root-ball in a trash can or green waste can, not in a compost heap since it might attempt to take root in the compost.

Fill in the hole where the split-leaf philodendron grew with standard garden soil.


About the Author


Samantha McMullen began writing professionally in 2001. Her nearly 20 years of experience in horticulture informs her work, which has appeared in publications such as Mother Earth News.