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Philodendrons are aroids (part of the Araceae family) from sub-tropical and tropical rainforests. They grow in the heat, humidity, and shade the forest canopy provides.
Though there are about 200 Philodendron species, there are only two basic groups: vining types and what is referred to as self-heading or arborescent (able to support themselves). Both groups are propagated by stem cuttings, but some non-vining types can also be propagated by offsets.
- How to Propagate Philodendrons
- Alternative Propagation Media to Water
- Vegetative Philodendron Propagation Methods
- Caring for Your New Philodendron
- In Closing
How to Propagate Philodendrons
You can boost your Philodendron propagation success rate by using sterile material, clean, sharp equipment, and starting with plants free of stress.
Knowing the Philodendron species’ recommended environmental circumstances will further maximize success.
The following environmental conditions are necessary for successful water propagation:
Most vegetative propagation specimens require bright and indirect light to boost photosynthesis.
This triggers the plant’s need for roots as water suppliers, and the plant will develop them in their absence. Limit light to 12 hours in a 24-hour cycle.
There needs to be a temperature difference between the growing medium and ambient temperatures, with the latter being warmer.
The rooting media temperature should be between 75° and 80°F (24 – 27°C) for optimum results.
Alternative Propagation Media to Water
Water is effective in propagating houseplants using leaves, stem tips, tips of branches, and stem sections. However, here are some alternatives:
Sand has an acidic pH and offers efficient water drainage and aeration. To guarantee healthy root development, cuttings environments should have a pH of no more than 6.5.
Vermiculite holds water well, has a neutral pH, and provides good water drainage and aeration.
Bark has an acidic pH and excellent drainage and aeration. You can use these components singly or in combination. Their benefit is that they provide a pathogen-free, bright, moist environment for roots to grow.
Because compost and garden soils may contain pathogens, they’re unsuitable for starting plants.
Vegetative Philodendron Propagation Methods
The most common method (and considered the easiest way) to propagate Philodendrons is to use stem or tip cuttings.
Using Philodendrons stem cuttings is the easiest way to propagate these aroids, allowing several options. It only takes 3 to 4 weeks for cuttings to take root, and this can be brought down to a fortnight in warmer conditions (77⁰F (25⁰C)).
You can speed the propagation process further by grouping several cuttings in a single container.
Propagate Philodendrons in Water or Perlite
Find a section of your Philodendron’s stem with one or two nodes, then propagate it in water (where the leaves and roots grow out of the stem).
Cut at a 45-degree angle, about a quarter inch below a node, with a clean set of shears.
If you cut below a node, the node will be part of the cutting. Because that is where new roots will grow, it is crucial to add.
Place the cutting in a jar with room-temperature water, ensuring that at least one node—preferably more—is submerged.
If there are any leaves below the surface, remove them gently because they have a propensity to decay.
Within the first week or two, you should notice little roots forming, but it will be at least a few weeks before the roots are sufficiently long to allow you to pot the cutting.
Give the roots room to grow to a few inches.
You can treat your cutting like a typical plant after you’ve placed it in potting soil and given it a good watering!
Caring for Your New Philodendron
Philodendrons are low-maintenance houseplants, adding some of the tropics to your living space if you follow these guidelines.
Philodendron Light Requirements
The optimal light for Philodendrons is lots of indirect sunshine. It should be set back a little before a window because direct sunlight will burn the leaves.
Alternatively, use a sheer curtain to keep the sun off the foliage. The forest canopy shades philodendrons in their natural habitat, and replicating this will ensure their continued happiness.
Philodendron Water Requirements
Philodendrons are tropical plants that must be kept moist (not wet). This can be time-consuming initially while still learning out your plants’ likes.
Overwatering is a common misstep that is easy to do if you aren’t careful. The easiest way to care for your Philodendron is to check the soil before watering it.
Stick your finger in the dirt to see if your plant needs water. The top one to two inches of soil should be completely dry between waterings.
Do not let the soil dry out for extended periods. The occasional dry spell encourages root growth but extended dry periods harm your plant.
Philodendron Temperature and Humidity Requirements
As tropical plants, most aroids thrive in humid environments. Because most homes do not have enough humidity, it must be supplemented or provided in another way. Buying a humidifier is a worthwhile investment, as the benefits will be visible as your aroids flourishes.
Philodendron Soil Requirements
Begin by mixing perlite and coconut coir into a high-quality houseplant potting soil mix. The perlite aids aeration and drainage, while the coconut coir helps retain moisture.
These two additives offer the ideal soft and airy soil balance for a Philodendron.
Philodendron Fertilizer Requirements
Fertilizing every two to four weeks will benefit the foliage of Philodendron plants. Use a half-strength water-soluble, balanced houseplant fertilizer. The NPK rating of the best philodendron fertilizer should be 20-20-20.
You can use an organic houseplant fertilizer instead of chemical fertilizers if you don’t want to use chemical fertilizers. Alternatively, add worm casting to the potting mix every time you repot the Pilly. Err on the side of under-fertilizing as excess fertilizer will damage the roots.
Philodendrons are a houseplant favorite, and it’s easy to propagate, allowing you to create a tropical forest in a couple of years.
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