Philodendron selloum has frost/rot damage

glen.m.wilsonNovember 27, 2012

I was given this plant a few days ago, and would like to save it if possible. I'm not entirely sure what kind of plant it is, but I believe it is something like a philodendron selloum (bipinnatifidum?). The plant was left outside in the cold for too long and seems to have rotted in many places. After being brought inside, it looks like some parts survived. The tallest stem seems to be rotten below where the leaves are, and many of the aerial roots also seem to be rotten. The soil the plant is in is very wet, so I am not sure what to do.

Can I cut off the top of the plant with the aerial roots and try to get it to root? Should I split off the smaller plants on the bottom? What kind of a plant is this so I can do more research about it? Thank you for your help!

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Hi Glen. I don't think you're Philo is selloum, but it could be a split-leaf..Foliage is too young/small to tell.

As Philo matures, leaves will split..'if it's split-leaf.'

One problem, your Philo wasn't getting enough light. Stems are frail, and leaves are pale and small.

Since soil is extremely wet, the first thing I'd do is get it out of that pot and discard soil. Does soil have an odor?
One reason dirt is drenched if from lack of sun.

Rotted roots should be trimmed off, repotted in fresh, fertile, well-draining soil.

After ridding soil and trimming roots, Philo might fit in its current pot. If roots barely fit, up a size, if there's more than 2" of space between medium and inner pot, either leave in same pot or downsize.

Philos leaves don't look frost-bitten unless you've removed them. Frost-bitten leaves turn gray/black, usually drop on their own.

After repotting, keep Philo in bright light, a semi-warm, semi-humid room.
Give a drink until water seeps from drainage hole/s.

Good luck...keep us posted on its progress... Toni

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 12:40PM
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Thanks for the advice Toni! I'll get on repotting it ASAP. If I understand correctly, I should remove the rotted part of the stem too?

As for the frost-bitten leaves, my understanding is that the plant was left out in the cold last winter, and is now only bouncing back.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 3:58PM
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Glen....yep, any parts that are rotted should be removed.
Are the pieces soft, mushy?

I don't know how cold it gets where you are, but it's amazing your Philo survived. :)

Which zone are you? Toni

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 4:52PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)


Anything soft & mushy should pls. but cut back to firm, healthy tissue. Then sprinkle the cut areas w/ cinnamon (acts as antifungal & to prevent rot); shake off the excess & repot when ready.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 5:09PM
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Yeah, the lower part is soft and mushy. It was in CT and now it's in NJ. I'm going to get some pots and try to get it sorted out tomorrow. I'll let you know how it goes! Thanks again.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 9:16PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

That looks a lot like the one people plant in the ground here which do grow back bigger each spring, probably a lot of them go untrimmed when partially rotted. I also think yours and these are P. bipinnatifidum. It will hopefully stop rotting since it's not freezing cold anymore. Must be the season for these, I talked this landscaping place out of one for half price Monday because it looks dead after a couple frosts. If it looked as good as yours, I'd post a pic. Of course they weren't sure of the species name. I trimmed all of the dead stuff, repotted, and brought inside. Good luck to us both!!

I was out of cinnamon, just plan to let it get really dry now and see how it does. Would there be any point to sprinkling the soil and watering it in whenever it does seem time to water this thing? Seems like probably a moot point by then...?

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 10:30AM
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Glen, Pirate Girl's right..I forgot about cinnamon. I keep a jar of cinnamon with plant supples/fertilizers, etc. In case.

Purple, I don't understand your last paragraph about sprinking???

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 12:30PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

I was still talking about cinnamon. About sprinkling it on the soil after it dries out, before I water, so the water would kind of rinse it into the soil. Don't know if it would still do any good that way at that time. I haven't used it on plants much and don't know all of the timing of using it.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 12:58PM
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Purple..I see now.

I've never used cinnamon in soil.

Two years ago, the top/trunk of my Brighamia insignis rotted. I sawed off the rotted part, then sprinkled cinnamon over the entire cut..didn't water afterwards.

If a plant needs water and some rot, water first then sprinkle.

Like baking a ham, only using

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 1:15PM
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simonbetta216(7 NC)

By any chance when you repot this plant, can you give me a small stem from your plant. I really want to grow one of these. You can email me at

This post was edited by simonbetta216 on Thu, Nov 29, 12 at 21:34

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 9:28PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Hey, Glen, how's the plant doing now? The one I mentioned getting at the end of Nov has finally grown a couple leaves, and has many more tiny ones starting to show up around the base. Don't know if it's exactly the same kind as yours, but seeing those leaves the past few days reminded me of this discussion, your similarly rescued plant. Hope it's showing similar signs of progress!

    Bookmark   January 17, 2013 at 12:36PM
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