How To Shape a Philodendron

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Philodendrons are advantageous indoor plants to have in your presence. Philodendrons, if well-kept and maintained indoors, can live 50 plus years. They have even been known to be written into family wills to pass down throughout generations.

Philodendrons do great in ordinary pots or hanging baskets in the air allowing their beauty to overflow. One thing about Philodendrons is that they are very fast-growing plants, which can be positive and negative. Positive is you obtain a small or weak plant because you can quickly bring it back to luscious thriving life. Negative is because of their rapid growth; they can become leggy and untamed, requiring pruning to withhold their beauty.

If you decide to bring home a Philodendron, you better go ahead and grab some pruning shears because you will need them. In this article, we are going to learn why and how to shape a Philodendron.

When To Trim a Philodendron

When owning a Philodendron, trimming is an essential dynamic of ownership. Figuring out when trimming is necessary, though, can be puzzling. Here are a few tell-tale signs it is time to prune your plant.

  • Encourage new growth. If your plant looks a little leggy or seems to be growing slower than it should, it may be time to trim back old, yellow, damaged, or dead leaves and stems. Trimming damaged areas of your plant will not harm your beloved Philodendron; instead, it will encourage new growth to occur.
  • Space Saver. Philodendrons do not know their limits and will outgrow a space in no time. It is time to consider cutting your Philodendron back if its appearance and size are simply outgrowing the area it is meant to fill.
  • Unhealthy. Sometimes we do not initially provide the lighting, soil, water, or other requirements a plant needs to thrive because of a lack of research. That is okay because Philodendrons are resilient plants. If you have neglected your plant or need to start fresh because your Philodendron is looking unhealthy, go ahead and cut off all those old, unhealthy stems.
  • Propagating. Philodendrons are easy to propagate plants. Trimming areas for gifting is a great time to shape a Philodendron.

How To Propagate a Philodendron

Propagating a Philodendron is an easy task to accomplish, only requiring a few steps.

  1. Grab a pair of pruning shears or sharp, clean scissors.
  2. You cannot propagate a Philodendron by the plant leaves; choose a long stem with a healthy appearance. Leave the leaves on the stem, do not cut off existing leaves attached. The stem of choice should be three to five inches long with at least three leaves.
  3. Cut the stem of choice at a nodule. Try to ensure a clean cut to prevent stress on the existing plant.
  4. After cutting your stem, get your pot and fresh soil mix ready and plant your stem roughly eight inches beneath the soil.
  5. Water immediately after planting.
  6. Place your newly propagating plant in bright indirect sunlight and keep the soil very slightly moist. In two to three weeks, you will start noticing new growth.

How To Shape a Philodendron

We have already covered reasons why you would want to trim and shape a Philodendron, but how do you do it without damaging the plant that needs to stay and continue growing?

When determining how to shape your Philodendron, you first need to be clear on why you are doing it. No matter the reason, you need a clean, sharp pair of pruning shears or scissors. Cleaning with rubbing alcohol and allowing time to dry is best but washing your shearing in soap and water will suffice just as well.

Are you trimming your plant just to rid old, damaged, yellow leaves, or are your trimming your plant due to it overtaking its home space?

Removing Damaged Sections

If you shape your plant intending to rid dead stems and leaves, trimming is quite simple. Gently grab the damaged portion and pull it taught from healthy stems and leaves. Once you have your plant piece isolated, cut the damaged portion as close to the plant’s trunk as possible. If you are trimming a leaf and not the entire stem, cut the leaf as close to the stem as you can.

Trimming Up Unruly Areas

If you are trimming up your plant due to appearance or overgrowth, it can be a little more challenging but still a very doable task for even the inexperienced gardener.

Grab your shears again and intend to trim your stems and leaves at the base, like removing damaged portions. The difference here is you will opt for the longer and oldest stems; the longer and older your stems, the fewer nutrients they are receiving compared to some of the newer growth, meaning it is almost their time to go anyways. The goal with trimming off healthy parts of a plant is to trim off long areas leaving the shorter, newer, healthier growth.

No matter the reason for clipping your Philodendron, always water thoroughly immediately after.

How to Shape a Philodendron – The Wrap-up

Philodendrons are beautiful plants to cherish indoors, but they require a little more work than some indoor plants.

A secret to keep your Philodendron maintenance as minimal as possible is to find a grooming routine. It is recommended that clipping dead leaves and stems or overgrown sections monthly can help manage your plant before feeling overwhelming.

A good pair of scissors or sheers is all you need when learning how to shape a Philodendron.


When shaping a Philodendron plant, the goal is to remove dead sections and the longest, oldest stems and leaves. The intention is to leave short, new growth that will provide a fresher appearance benefit most from nutrients.

Once your Philodendron leaves start dying, there is no return. It is the best care practice to remove dead stems and leaves as you notice them appearing.

The only tool you need to shape your plant is sharp, clean pruning shears or scissors. Aside from that, you do want to thoroughly water your plant after trimming off sections.

A few primary reasons are a good sign it is time to trim up your plant.

  1. Removal of yellow, damaged, and dead sections.
  2. To encourage new growth.
  3. To propagate.
  4. Unruly and outgrowing its indoor space.

Philodendrons are easy plants to propagate. To propagate a Philodendron, you need a healthy stem section roughly three to five inches long with a few leaves attached to said stem. However, you cannot do that with only a leaf; you must have a stem section for a new Philodendron to take root.

Published at Wed, 20 Oct 2021 10:08:24 -0700

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