How to prune Philodendron is a question that gardeners and farmers have been asking for centuries. Although the question has its roots in natural history and botany, the techniques for removing dead or damaged leaves and cutting back excess growth are almost universal. The difference lies in the plant’s physiology and genetic architecture. While all plants lose some of their own foliage each year, many Philodendrons (and other climbing plants) grow their young, or thorns, above the soil where they normally die. There is no way to avoid this loss but the best strategy is to cut these dead leaves and stems and allow them to drop off.
The question, How to prune a philodendron, is more complex than it seems at first glance. In fact, it’s much more difficult than you might imagine. The best strategy is to start by removing as much debris as possible from the plant’s site of growth. This means taking away dead, damaged, or dead-looking leaves, branches and flowers, while also trimming back any aerial roots. If you don’t do this, the plant will attempt to grow its way up, or out, through the weaker, damaged roots. Doing this on its own can be a full-time job.
After this has been done, it is a good idea to repot the plant. A common mistake new gardeners make is to let the plant dry out completely before putting it into a new pot. While it is true that the more water the plant gets, the better it will do in the ground, it’s a bad idea to wait until the soil has dried completely before putting it into a new pot. Any remaining moisture will cause root rot, which is not only shallow, but also potentially fatal. If you are concerned about rotting or cracking, put a layer of gravel in the bottom of the container, cover the gravel with topsoil, and lightly pack some sand in between the layers to fill in any gaps.
After the plant has had enough time to get into its new pot, it will probably need a little help from you. There are two ways to do this, depending on the species of philodendron. The first is called “sowing and pulling.” Basically, you take a piece of the stem and gently tug at it. If the leaf moves outward, this means the stem is ready to propagate and grow leaves. If, however, the leaf stays rigid, it’s an indication that it doesn’t have the space needed for further growth.
The second way to propagate your plants is to pinch off a few leaves. To do this, you must have access to at least two sets of leaves; otherwise the plants will dry up and die. Cut one leaf at a time from each plant, and gently tug on it until you feel the plant move. Then, hold the pruned stem upright and twist the joint so that it releases the joint. After the plant has done its thing, you can place the remaining leaflet on top of the dead one and gently dry it out with a hair dryer.
To keep your plants healthy and to get rid of old, dead leaves, you should prune your plants on a regular basis. You should start pruning about a year before your first frost. If you live in a warm climate, you should prune your plants about twice a year, but in a cold climate, you should do it more often. How to prune is relatively easy if you know what to do. Here are some helpful tips:
In summer, when the temperature outside is warm, it’s always best to move your plants indoors. This will keep your leaves from becoming dry and brittle, and will give them a chance to develop their new, hardy leaf shape. When you move your plants indoors, don’t forget to move all of your pots as well. If you leave your plants with their pots, there’s a good chance that they will rot. Don’t forget to report them at the same time every summer as well. Repotting is especially important if you move your plants inside during wintertime because they won’t have as much room to spread out.
During the winter season, move your plants out of their pots and into their new habitats, which should be somewhere with a lot of humidity. Don’t expect them to do well in dry air. You might need to add a bit of water or extra humidity. This humidification process will help your plants to be better able to resist diseases.