Philodendron is a plant that can reward you with beautiful and bushy growth even with very little care. But they can grow bigger than your liking in no time. That is when you need to trim your philodendron to keep it tamed. With frequent trimming, you can keep the philodendron in shape and save it from other problems. But the question is how to trim your philodendron plant.
It would be best to have a pair of sterilized scissors or garden shears to make clean cuts on the stems and leaves you want to eliminate.
To trim your philodendron, you must cut right above a node. If you want to stop a side stem or vine, cut exactly where it meets the main stem of the philodendron. To eliminate a whole stem, you must trim it at the base. Make sure to get rid of the damaged parts and the overgrown stems.
While trimming your philodendron, you must be careful as any uneven cut can damage the plant and make it vulnerable to pests and other diseases.
In this article, we will take you through the process of trimming your philodendron along with all the related information that can help you with this.
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Does your philodendron require trimming?
Trimming or pruning is a crucial requirement of all houseplants. When a philodendron grows in its native land, it can grow as big as it wants. But when the philodendron is inside your house, you can decide how big you would like to see it.
Trimming will help you tame and control your philodendron’s growth and make it look good in your living space. You may notice other problems in your philodendron besides overgrowth.
Trimming the philodendron will help to:
- Keep the plant in a compact shape
We already mentioned how you need to decide the shape and size of your philodendron when it is growing as your houseplant. Not trimming it will give the plant an unruly and messy look that will not add to the aesthetics of your living space.
Trim the plant whenever you notice any overgrowth or uneven growth and maintain the right shape and size.
- Change the direction of growth
Did you know you could change the direction of growth of your philodendron? Yes, and that you can do with the help of trimming.
If you notice overgrowth on a particular side, which can happen due to a lack of light on the other side, you can trim the overgrowth. This way, you are slowing down the growth on that side.
Once you trim the overgrowth, both the sides will match, and your plant will look even again.
- Eliminate the damaged, diseased, and dead parts
Along the way, your philodendron may get damaged due to any mistake you made or may develop a disease because of unfavorable living conditions. All these can affect the roots, leaves, stems, and all parts of the plant.
It is crucial to get rid of these parts as keeping them on the plant can affect the other healthy parts of the plant. The plant might be using a lot of energy to heal the parts that will not recover. So, eliminating such parts will save the plant’s energy that is getting wasted.
You may also notice dead leaves, stems, or vines on your philodendron, which is nothing to worry about. But you must trim these off as well.
- Boost the growth hormone
If you do not see much growth in your philodendron, trimming might do the trick!
Trimming helps boost the plant’s growth hormone, so you may notice that your philodendron is growing from the part where you trimmed it the last time.
However, the growth can depend on the way you trim or prune the plant. If you prune your philodendron severely, it might show vigorous growth, but you will notice slower growth if you prune lightly.
We would not encourage severe trimming as we don’t want to stress the plant.
- Make the plant bushier
If you want to make your philodendron bushy, you can trim the tips of the stems that will release a hormone that will encourage the growth of side stems. This will make the plant bushier.
You can do this using garden shears or use your fingers to pinch the tips of the stems.
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What to prune in your philodendron?
Let’s take a look at all the parts that you must prune in your philodendron.
- Brown or discolored leaves.
- Stems that have plain-colored leaves if you have a variegated philodendron.
- Dead or broken stems or vines.
- Diseased stems, leaves, or even roots if required.
- Leggy stems grow excessively long and have fewer leaves on them.
- You can cut the top of the main stem to restrict overgrowth.
- If you want bushy growth of your philodendron, cut the tips of the stems
- If you notice crowded growth on your philodendron, you can trim the stems that are rubbing against one another.
How to trim a philodendron plant?
As the philodendrons grow taller or longer, they can start looking leggy if not trimmed.
Philodendrons come in both climbing and non-climbing varieties. The trimming process will not have much difference for either. Let’s find out how you can trim your philodendron.
Trimming can depend on whether you are trying to eliminate the overgrowth, propagate the plant, or get rid of the damages.
- Sharp scissors or garden shears
- The plant!
First of all, use disinfectant to sterilize the scissors or garden shears.
You can follow the five-step process to trim your philodendron:
- Analyze and observe the philodendron
Before you start the trimming, you must take a good look at your philodendron so that you can decide which parts of the plant you must trim. Check for leggy stems or vines, diseased or dying foliage, and nodes that encourage new growth.
- Get rid of the dead parts
Start by trimming the dead leaves and stems that you see on your philodendron. There might be stems that have been affected by root rot. You can gently pull those out of the soil instead of trimming them. Make sure to dispose of these properly.
- Trim the damaged or unhealthy parts
You will notice leggy stems and vines, yellow or brown leaves, pale foliage on your philodendron. Keeping these on the plant will do no good to your philodendron. So trim these to save some energy for your philodendron.
- Trim to eliminate the excess growth and encourage new growth
After trimming the dead and damaged parts, concentrate on the parts you don’t want as they are extra and do not make the plant look good. Trim those off.
To encourage new growth, cut right before a leaf node. When you are trimming a stem, make the cutting close to the main stem of your philodendron.
- Trimming to propagate
If you plan to trim the philodendron to get a new one out of it, you must choose one or more healthy stems or vines. It should be between 3 and 6 inches long. Make the cutting above a leaf.
Now you can place that cutting in soil or water, whichever medium you select for propagation. Keep this in a bright spot with indirect sunlight to see the proper growth of roots.
Tips for pruning your philodendron
Remember these points while trimming your philodendron plant, as we don’t want you to make any mistakes.
- Do not trim more than 25% of the plant at once, as that can cause stress to it.
- Do not forget to clean the tools to avoid spreading disease or infections. Disinfect the tools before and after trimming.
- Use garden gloves that will protect you from the toxic sap while you do the trimming.
- Hold the pruners or garden shears at a 45 degrees angle and make the cutting.
- Water the philodendron thoroughly after trimming it to reduce the stress for the plant.
When to trim a philodendron?
It is best to prune your philodendron at the start of the growing season so that it can grow during the rest of the year. But you can trim your philodendron in the spring or even in the fall season.
Philodendrons might not require much pruning, so you should prune them only when it is required.
It is okay to trim your philodendron at any time of the year if you only want to eliminate the leggy growth and yellow leaves.
What happens if you don’t trim your philodendron?
If you don’t trim your philodendron, you will face the following problems:
- Leggy growth
- Slow growth
- Crowded stems
- Messy and uneven growth
Although philodendrons might not require much trimming, you must trim them occasionally to avoid the aforementioned problems.
Philodendrons can grow vigorously if you take good care of them. Therefore, it will require some trimming to stay in shape and look aesthetically pleasing.
The best time to trim the philodendron will be during spring and fall. You can trim during other times of the year but only trim the leggy or damaged growth.
Try not to go overboard with trimming, as that can stress your philodendron. Trim it when required and if you have to trim a lot, keep at least three leaves on the plant so that it can survive.