repotting and/or dividing huge Philodendron

WendyB(5A/MA)February 20, 2008

This plant has been in this pot way too long and I'm determined to finally do something I used to bring it outside for the summer until it got too heavy. I think that was about 4-5 years ago. So its way overdue. Notice the aerial roots coming out too.

I am contemplating whether I should divide it or root prune it?

I like the fullness that it is now (even though it needs a little help staying up!). I plan on reusing the same pot or maybe a new one but the same size. Over the years it has lost old leaves from the base.

I am also curious if I should place it lower so those aerial roots are below the soil level?

Actually I took these pictures a few months ago. The roots are bigger and part brown now.

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bihai(zone 9)

This is a Philodendron selloum. Its natural growth pattern is to make a TRUNK and turn into kind of like a tree. It WILL turn into a tree in milder climates (like mine) where we have specimens in people's yards that have been there for 20+ years and are huge. They will also lay over on the ground and run sometimes, and trist and turn and make all sorts of convoluted trunk patterns if you plant them, say, near a pond or stream. SOme look pretty cool.

The purpose of the aeriel roots is to anchor the plant as it trunks so that it doesn't completely fall over. You should NOT cut these roots. They can reach the diameter of hot dogs and are stronger than ropes.

You plant wants to fall over because its a little leggy probably due to low light levels (for it, anyway). They like full sun.

If you can get someone to help you wrestle it out into the yard this Spring, you can undertake the job of unpotting it and separating the plants, it looks like you have 6-7 in there. Normally we only plant ONE by itself.

These will grow up a support, you can place some sort of heavy duty totem in there to prop it up. If I were you, I personally would ditch the "real" clay pot and repot it into one of those "fake" clay look pots that are 100 times lighter.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2008 at 3:31PM
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Thanks for the info and ID. Now that I look closely, I notice that the sections with the aerial roots are the sections with the longest trunk parts. That's fascinating that the plant knows it needs extra support as the trunk forms.

I thought that was just where old leaves have come off. So if it is a real "trunk", then I would not bury it in the soil when repotting, right? Keep the soil at the same level? I know with African VIolets as the "neck" develops, it is okay to replant and cover the neck.

Yes, it probably is time for a new lightweight pot. Maybe I will put 3 sections back in the new pot for the long term and use some divisions to put outside again in the nice weather and/or give to friends.

So is the plant generally tough? Can I treat the rootball with tough love (if needed)? Anything that has been in the same pot that long might put up a fight :-)

    Bookmark   February 20, 2008 at 8:53PM
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