Split leaf philodendron pruning (Helpful Guide)

Split leaf philodendron is one of the most popular plants for indoors. In this post, we will see how to care split leaf philodendron, one of the best house plants. After caring for split leaf philodendron, are you thinking about pruning split leaf philodendron? We will also check here how to prune a split leaf philodendron.

What is a Split leaf philodendron?

The Split leaf philodendron is a low maintenance indoor plant native to the rain forests of Central America. Though these plants are found in abundance in the regions from southern Mexico to Panama they were introduced into cultivation in England around 1752. Since then these plants have adorned households all through Europe, American, and the entire world.

Split leaf philodendron pruning
Photo of from Split leaf philodendron swansonsnursery.com

The Split leaf philodendron is a plant that has large leaves these leaves are heart-shaped or rounded with a glossy leathery finish, the most distinct feature of the leaves of this plant are the deep clefts and oblong perforations the leaves develop as they mature.

The leaves grow up to 18 inches in width making it a plant that requires a lot of space. There are variants of the Split leaf philodendron that has smaller leaves like the “Variegata” and the “Albovariegata”.

Owners of this plant need to note that the plant is particularly poisonous and should be kept away from babies and pets. All parts of the plant except the ripe fruits can cause painful irritation in the throat and stomach.

If you are planning to get this plant to be sure to plant them in big planters as they require a lot of root room for healthy growth. The soil quality also needs to be taken care of for good quality leaves.

After having a deeper understanding of where these plants come and what their basic characteristics are. Let us look into details of caring for them.

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How to look after a Split leaf philodendron?

care for a Split leaf philodendron
Split leaf philodendron pruning

Looking after a Split leaf philodendron is not a meticulous task as these plants come under the love to no maintenance category. These plants need a lot of places to grow and flourish as they have large leaves. this makes it imperative to plan your space before planting the Split leaf philodendron to avoid a rain forest looking living space.

These plants need bigger pots as they get top-heavy and also require more room for the roots to grow. Anticipate this before investing in pots that are too small. As these plants grow vigorously it is important to support the stem to prevent breakage.

A tree bark or a moss-covered stick is good for this purpose as it not only provides adequate support but also provides moisture to the areal roots.

These plants can be cared for indoors through the year, for optimal health and growth they need to be fertilized regularly during spring and watered less often in winters. If you wish to take them out in the summer increase the sun exposure gradually as they can easily sunburn if left out in the scorching heat.

Looking after the Split leaf philodendron is an easy task as they are low on care and maintenance. Here are a few tipe on how to care for them all year through

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How to care for split leaf philodendron

Split leaf philodendron is easy to maintain and care for and can be planted in spring or early summer.

The container they are planted in needs to have drainage holes in them to prevent the roots from rotting. After discussions about the plant and the type of container they need to be planted in, there are often questions about the aerial roots.

These appear near the base of the plant and a common practice is to cut off a few of them while pruning Split leaf philodendron.

We have all seen the Split leaf philodendron indoor but are these truly indoor plants? There are questions about these plants surviving outdoors especially as the seasons change

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Can the Split leaf philodendron grow outdoors?

The Split leaf philodendron is a plant that is preferred as an indoor plant, as they are the most adjusting. These plants like hot and humid conditions but adapt well to the humidity indoors.

They are also plants that in a way fill up space and hence you do not need to invest in a lot of décor a simple plant will make your living space look a lot different. 

These plants can be planted outdoors as well. the United States Department of Agriculture declared zones 9 to 11 perfect for these plants. When planted outdoors these plants produce a long purple spathe as an inflorescence adding to the beauty of the plant.

Tip: Plant the Split leaf philodendron in a planter outdoors so that you can manage it better during fall

Pruning is a process where overgrown branches or dead parts of the plan are cut. This is done for beautification as well as overall maintenance. Here is how the Split leaf philodendron is pruned

Read How to grow croton plant from cuttings

Split leaf philodendron pruning

Split leaf philodendron pruning
Split leaf philodendron pruning

One important detail to remember about these plants is the fact that they grow rapidly and may sometimes grow too big for the space they are in. This is one reason why people who own indoor plants choose to prune the Split leaf philodendron.

Other reasons may include overall maintenance where the dead or discolored leaves are snipped off the tree giving it a healthier and fresher look.

Whatever the reason you want to prune the Split leaf philodendron here are a few steps you can follow to make things easier

1. Check if your Split leaf philodendron needs pruning

The first step to pruning effectively is checking if your plant really needs to be pruned.

Simply chopping off good leaves and stems of the plant will not do any good to it. Pay attention to the condition of leaves, if you notice discoloration or a few leaves have wilted away it is a good idea to give it a trim.

Another reason you will need to prune your plant is getting too big for the room it is in or if you see it growing in an un-kept manner. Pruning will help control its size and make it more manageable.

2. Check the extent of damage

This loosely means that you need to be vigilant while pruning a Split leaf philodendron. If half your leaves are discoloured or are beginning to wilt you could trim off that part leaving the healthy part as it is.

Or if by chance you see a leaf infested, do not cut off parts of the plant that are healthy. On the other hand, if you come across dry leaves get rid of them immediately.

3. Survey the space you have

While pruning your Split leaf philodendron the amount of space you have in the room needs to be taken under consideration.

A large plant in a small home will look out of place, hence, it is necessary to prune the plant regularly in accordance with the place available.

4. Pay attention to the stems as well

The Split leaf philodendron will often grow stems that are longer than the other. These are known as “leggy” stems. Leggy stems not only make the plant look un-kept and untidy but also hamper the proper development of the plant.

They take up a lot of nutrients and as a result, new stems find it difficult to grow. Once the leggy stem is taken care of the plant not only appears tidier but is also in a better position to support other stems.

5. Trust your instincts

As a gardener novice or seasoned it is important to trust your instincts. If you feel that the plant you are caring for needs water it is time to water or if you feel the plant needs to be pruned it probably needs to.

Someone once said that while pruning “do it in a way that is least noticeable”. Which is intriguing as it teaches us so much in terms of pruning the Split leaf philodendron.

We tend to go overboard when cutting back plants and this is something that takes away the actual essence of the plant. Hence it is important to prune the Split leaf philodendron only when necessary and in a way that it doesn’t hamper the overall beauty of the plant.

When you talk about Split leaf philodendron pruning the damage or the reasons can be classified broadly into 3 categories namely cold damage, root pruning and general pruning. Let’s have a look at details about these 

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When should you prune the Split leaf philodendron?

Pruning the Split leaf philodendron depends upon 3 major factors like mentioned above. All these factors are detrimental to the overall growth of the plant and hence it is important to understand how to deal with them.

split leaf philodendron pruning
split leaf philodendron pruning

1. Cold damage

The Split leaf philodendron is a tough plant and is generally immune to most temperatures. When placed outdoors most seasons work well for the plant but however, they are frost tender. The damage caused to the plant when the snow is called cold damage.

Cold damage on most plants can remain limited to only the leaves. damage can be easily identified as damaged leaves turn black and die back. In rare cases, the stem may be affected as well. the worst cases of cold damage are damaged roots if this happens your plant may not survive long.

2. How to treat

Pruning Split leaf philodendron is the only option when it comes to treating cold damage. If the plant is potted and left outdoors it can be moved indoors and saved but if the plant is in the ground all you can do is cut back the damaged foliage.

You may not have to cut the trunk of the plant but if there are damaged spots they will need to be dealt with. 

Once the plant is pruned wait for about three to four weeks into spring to check if there is re-sprouting. After about two weeks cut off the parts that are not producing foliage.

3. Root pruning

As we know it the Split leaf philodendron is an easy-going plant and loves to be kept indoors. Thought this plant is an excellent addition to any room it also has the tendency to grow leaps and bounds.

This means the however big the pot your plant will always outgrow it. The solution to this is pruning the roots of your Split leaf philodendron.

How is it done?

Trimming the roots of a split leaf philodendron plant is a little more complicated as compared to trimming the leaves or the stem of the plant.

While pruning the roots you need to be careful about damaging the root ball. Here is how it is done

First, remove the plant from the pot carefully and dust off the soil from the root ball. After the roots are exposed remove the side roots using a sharp pair of scissors or a cutter.

Remove the damaged and wounded roots as well. the aerial roots can be trimmed as well. After pruning the roots plant back, the plant in fresh soil. Water it well until the plant is re-established.

4. General Pruning

The stems of the plant can grow extremely long and hence the pruning process of these stems is known as general pruning. Stems need to be cut back to the node as it promotes growth.

This plant is divided into sections with the help of ridges. While pruning cut back to one of these sectional divisions for best results.

Now that we have details about all the reasons why the Split leaf philodendron is pruned let us understand what goes into the pruning process

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How to start pruning a Split leaf philodendron?

To start pruning the Split leaf philodendron it is important to understand two major factors. One is the pruning necessary or what is the reason you want to prune the plant and two where to start.

This is a rather simple question as you can start from either damaged leaves of stems that are old and leggy. So, in that order, the longest and the oldest stems go first and then the extra ones if you want to make the plant look manageable and in shape.

Split leaf philodendron pruning

Now that we are clear about the reason these plants need to be pruned here are some steps to follow

Maintain tool hygiene

Before pruning the Split leaf philodendron, it is important to sterilize the tools you are planning to use. The reason for doing this is simple, it stops the spread of bacteria from the tools to the plant.

How to sterilize equipment?

Whether you are using garden scissors or a pair from your stationery collection which we suggest not to – it is better to keep scissors used for pruning exclusively for that purpose.

There are sanitizers and other solutions available for sterilization if you choose to use an over the counter solution get an alcohol-based solution meant for sterilizing gardening equipment.

To make your own solution at home all you need is some bleach and water. Mix one-part bleach to two parts water and soak the tools in it for about 10 to 15 minutes. They can then be used for pruning.

After you finish pruning wash the tools under running water you could alternatively soak it in the bleach or sanitizing solution for an additional 10 minutes to clean them thoroughly.

Cut to preserve

This may seem confusing but you need to cut in a way that you preserve as much plant as possible. Meaning, if you see half a leaf that has gone bad cut in a way that you can save most of the leaf instead of just snapping off the entire leaf.

In the same manner, don’t randomly cut off stems this will cause a haphazard look, instead, cut in a way that your plant looks almost the same as it did earlier without drastic snaps.

The 45-degree trick

While pruning the stems of the Split leaf philodendron, may it be the long, old or leggy ones keep in mind that the tool needs to be at a 45-degree angle. Cut the stem in proportion with the other stems, this will ensure that the plant grows evenly and looks neater.

Straight cuts will in most cases stunt growth hence it needs to be cut at an angle. Cutting the stem at an angle also ensures that it receives nutrients and other minerals in proportion to the other stems.

Tip: The Split leaf philodendron needs to trimmed during active growth periods. This will help promote regrowth

Take your time

This can be interpreted in two ways. One – don’t rush into pruning – pruning is a process that needs to be hurried into. Start pruning only when you know you have time to dedicate.

Some people use plant maintenance as therapy and do it in a way that it can give you time to relax and concentrate on something while diverting your mind from regular thoughts.

Two – don’t prune too often – while pruning can be therapeutic it is necessary to give plants time to heal. Hence, it is necessary to space pruning sessions. This not only helps the plant heal but also helps promote growth.

Prune them right

Pruning is good to promote plant growth but pruning right is imperative. While pruning, stay away from the main stem as this is the food source to the entire plant. You can cut of offshoots and stems but, pay attention not to damage the main stem.

You can cut the main stem only if you see a portion of it being infected with a disease – in most cases this will not happen. Be sure to make cuts just below the leaf node this will help the plant heal faster and grow better. So you should know how to prune a split leaf philodendron properly.

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Can pruned cuttings of the Split leaf philodendron be used for propagation? 

The Split leaf philodendron loves pruning as this is a way in which it can grow better and healthier. The best part about this plant is that the cuttings can be used to grow new plants. Here is how this can be done:

  • Sterilize the scissors – when planning to prune the Split leaf philodendron it is important to use tools well sterile. 
  • Sharp tools – these plants need to be pruned using tools such as scissors or an extremely sharp cutter. This will not only help you get a cleaner cut but will reduce the damage to the plant.
  • Cutting – while cutting it is important to know where the cut needs to be made to propagate well. the sweet spot for this plant is just below the leaf node. 

Once the cutting is ready remove the leaves from the bottom 1/3 of the stem. then dip the cut end in a rooting hormone that contains a fungicide. You can also use honey for this.

This stem ensures that the cutting grows roots faster. 

Once the cutting is ready, plant it in a 6-inch pot that contains a well-draining soil mix and has holes at the bottom.

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The bottom line is that the Split leaf philodendron is an amazing indoor plant and it can add life to an otherwise dull apartment. These plants can also be planted outdoors but you need to be careful during fall as it may be detrimental to the health of the plant.

These plants are also low on maintenance and pruning Split leaf philodendron becomes necessary to retain a manageable size.

The cuttings left after pruning can be used in the compost bin which can then be used to better the overall health of the plant. With the tips and tricks discussed in this article, you will be able to plant and manage a Split leaf philodendron by effectively pruning it. Got an idea on pruning split leaf philodendron? how to prune split leaf philodendron? how to trim a split leaf philodendron?