How to Propagate Tree Philodendron: A Quick Guide

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Tree philodendrons are stunning plants with large, deeply lobed leaves that add a touch of tropical flair to any indoor space. As these plants grow in popularity, many enthusiasts are eager to learn how to successfully propagate and expand their collection. Propagation not only allows you to increase the number of plants in your home, but also gives you the opportunity to share your love for these impressive specimens with friends and family.

Propagating tree philodendrons is a straightforward process that can be achieved through stem cuttings. By following a few simple steps, even a novice gardener can grow a new, healthy plant from a single cutting. This method allows for a relatively easy and cost-effective way to create new plants, while maintaining the unique characteristics of the parent plant.

In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about how to propagate tree philodendrons. From the proper way to take cuttings, to the best methods for encouraging root growth, we will guide you through each step of the process. With a little bit of patience and the right knowledge, you’ll soon be well on your way to creating an impressive collection of these magnificent plants.

Propagation Methods

Propagation is the process of reproducing plants, and there are several ways you can propagate a tree philodendron. In this section, we’ll explore two popular methods: stem cuttings and air layering.

Stem Cuttings

Stem cutting is the most common and easiest method for propagating tree philodendrons. Follow these steps:

  1. Choose a healthy stem with at least two or three leaves and no signs of disease or damage.
  2. Using a clean, sharp knife or garden snips, cut a 3 to 6 inches long piece of stem. It’s best to cut just above another leaf on the stem.
  3. Remove the leaves on the lower half of the cutting.
  4. Prepare a pot filled up to an inch below the rim with moistened potting mix.
  5. Insert the cutting into the potting mix, burying at least one leaf node (the point where the leaf is attached to the stem).
  6. Place the pot in a warm, bright location but avoid direct sunlight. Maintain a consistently moist soil until roots develop, usually within a few weeks.

During the rooting process, you can also cover the pot with a plastic bag to maintain high humidity levels, which helps in faster root development. Once you see new growth, it indicates that the cutting has developed roots and is ready to be placed in its permanent location.

Air Layering

Air layering is another effective method for propagating tree philodendrons, especially for larger and more mature plants. It involves the following steps:

  1. Identify a healthy branch to use for air layering, preferably with a diameter of at least half an inch.
  2. Make a small upward cut about one-third of the branch’s diameter and 12 inches away from the tip. Gently peel back the bark and phloem, exposing the sapwood.
  3. Wrap the exposed area with moist sphagnum moss, ensuring that it covers the entire wounded portion.
  4. Enclose the moss with plastic wrap or aluminum foil, sealing the ends to retain moisture.
  5. Secure the wrap in place using twist ties or string.
  6. After 4-8 weeks, check for root development. If you see roots, you can cut the branch just below the air-layered section and plant it in a pot filled with a well-draining potting mix.

Both of these propagation methods can yield successful results in growing new tree philodendrons. Remember to provide your newly propagated plants with the appropriate care, including monitoring water, light, and nutrient needs.

Preparing the Planting Material

In this section, we will discuss how to prepare the planting material for propagating a tree philodendron. We will cover two essential sub-topics: selecting the right cutting and taking a stem cutting.

Selecting the Right Cutting

To achieve successful propagation, you must begin with the right cutting. When selecting a cutting, consider the following factors:

  • Choose a healthy stem with several leaves growing from the mother plant
  • The desired cutting length should be about six inches long
  • Make sure the cutting has 2-3 leaves and a couple of nodes on the stem

These guidelines will help ensure that you have a healthy start for your tree philodendron propagation.

Taking a Stem Cutting

Once you have identified the right cutting, follow these steps to take a stem cutting:

  1. Make a clean cut below a node on the stem
  2. Remove the leaves on the lower half of the cuttings
  3. Place the fresh cutting in water and put it in a location that receives bright, indirect light
  4. Change the water every week to keep it fresh

By following these instructions, you’ll be able to take a stem cutting and start propagating your tree philodendron successfully. And once you have successfully propagated this lovely foliage, it is vital to water it thoroughly when the top inch or two of the soil feels dry to the touch. With proper care and maintenance, you’ll enjoy the beauty of your newly propagated tree philodendron for years to come.

Propagating from Stem Cuttings

Root Development Techniques

There are two main methods you can use to promote root development in tree philodendron stem cuttings: water rooting and soil rooting. In water rooting, you place the stem cutting in a cup of water, making sure the bottom nodes are submerged while keeping the leaves out of the water. Monitor the water level consistently, and replace it with fresh water when it starts looking cloudy. Philodendron cuttings typically form roots within four weeks during the spring and summer.

Alternatively, you can root the stem cuttings directly in soil. To do this, prepare a small container with well-draining potting soil, make a hole in the center, and place the cutting inside. Water the soil to keep it moist but not soggy, and cover the container with a plastic bag to maintain humidity. After a few weeks, you should see new roots forming in the soil.

Planting the Cutting

Once the roots have developed on your stem cutting, it’s time to plant it in a pot or outside, depending on your specific tree philodendron variety. For planting in soil, follow these steps:

  1. Select an appropriate container with adequate drainage holes.
  2. Fill the container with your desired potting mix. Tree philodendron generally prefers a well-draining mix that retains some moisture.
  3. Create a hole in the center of the potting mix and insert the rooted cutting.
  4. Firmly press the soil around the base of the cutting to ensure it stays in place.
  5. Water the newly planted cutting to settle the soil around the roots.

When planting the cutting outside, be sure to choose a location with partial sun and well-draining soil. Dig a hole slightly larger than the root ball, place the cutting in the hole, and fill the surrounding area with soil. Water thoroughly to help the plant adjust to its new environment.

During the initial weeks, keep an eye on your tree philodendron’s moisture levels, and water as necessary to maintain adequate hydration. With proper care, your propagated tree philodendron should continue to grow and thrive in its new home.

Air Layering Process

Choosing the Branch

When selecting a branch for air layering your Tree Philodendron, look for a healthy stem with at least one or more nodes, as these are the points where roots will develop. Ideally, the chosen branch should be between 1/4 to 1/2 inches in diameter. This will ensure there is enough energy and growth potential in the branch for successful rooting.

Creating the Air Layer

  1. Prepare the materials: Gather a sharp, sterilized knife, a handful of moist sphagnum moss, plastic wrap or a clear plastic bag, and some twist ties or parafilm.
  2. Injure the stem: Locate a node on your chosen branch, then make an upward 1-inch-long cut through the bark and cambium layer of the stem without completely cutting it off. Insert a small twig, matchstick, or toothpick into the cut to keep it open.
  3. Apply sphagnum moss: Thoroughly moisten the sphagnum moss, and then gently wrap it around the injured part of the stem, covering the entire node area.
  4. Secure with plastic wrap: Cover the moss with plastic wrap or place it into a clear plastic bag, making sure it is completely enclosed. Secure the plastic wrap or bag at both the top and the bottom of the air layer with twist ties, parafilm, or string. This will keep the moss moist and create a humid environment conducive for root formation.
  5. Monitor the progress: Keep an eye on the air layer and make sure it remains moist throughout the process. You should start to see roots developing within a few weeks to a month.
  6. Once a sufficient root system has formed, carefully cut the newly rooted section below the air layer and transplant it into an appropriate potting mix. Water it thoroughly and place it in a location with bright, indirect light. Give the new plant time to acclimate, and it will soon be well on its way to becoming a mature Philodendron.

Remember that patience is essential during the air layering process. The reward will be a healthy new Tree Philodendron with its own established root system. Happy propagating!

Post-Propagation Care

After propagating your tree philodendron, it’s essential to provide the necessary care for the new plant to thrive. In this section, we will discuss the key aspects of post-propagation care, including watering, temperature and humidity, and fertilization.


Watering is a crucial factor in the growth and survival of your new tree philodendron. Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. You can check the moisture level by inserting your finger an inch into the soil. If it feels dry, it’s time to water the plant. Ensure you use well-draining soil to avoid root rot.

Water your tree philodendron more frequently during the growing season (spring and summer) and reduce watering during the cooler months (fall and winter). Overwatering can lead to root rot, while underwatering can cause the leaves to wilt and turn yellow. It’s essential to strike a balance that promotes healthy growth.

Temperature and Humidity

Tree philodendrons prefer a warm, tropical environment. Maintain a temperature range between 65°F and 80°F (18°C and 27°C) for optimal growth. These plants can tolerate short periods of lower temperatures, but it’s best to keep them away from drafts, cold windows, or air-conditioning vents.

Humidity is another key factor in the tree philodendron’s health. Aim for a humidity level of around 50% to 60%. You can maintain this by:

  • Placing a tray filled with pebbles and water under the plant pot
  • Misting the leaves with water every few days
  • Using a humidifier in the room


Your new tree philodendron will benefit from regular feeding to support its growth. Use a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer during the growing season, applying it every four to six weeks. Consider diluting the fertilizer to half-strength to prevent over-fertilization, which can lead to weak, leggy growth and burnt leaf tips.

During the fall and winter months, reduce or stop fertilization as the plant’s growth slows down. This will allow your tree philodendron to focus its energy on maintaining its overall health and vigor.

By carefully monitoring your tree philodendron’s watering, temperature, and humidity, and providing the proper fertilization, you’ll create an environment in which your newly propagated plant can thrive and grow into a beautiful, lush specimen.

Common Mistakes and Troubleshooting

When propagating tree philodendron, there are a few common issues and mistakes to be aware of so you can prevent problems and ensure success.

  • Overwatering: Overwatered tree philodendrons will have dark brown leaves that are softer to touch. The brown patches will often be all over the leaf, and the soil will be wet and compacted. To avoid overwatering, make sure to use a well-draining potting mix and only water when the top layer of soil feels dry.
  • Taking the wrong type of cutting: To achieve successful propagation, it’s important to cut below a node on the stem. Nodes are the points where leaves and roots grow. Taking a clean and healthy stem cutting will increase the likelihood of rooting and potential growth.
  • Not removing the lower leaves: When propagating in water, make sure to remove the leaves from the bottom half of the stem. This prevents rotting and encourages root growth at the submerged nodes.
  • Keeping the plant in poor light conditions: Tree philodendron cuttings require proper lighting for successful propagation. Place the cuttings in a bright and indirect light area; direct sunlight may scorch the leaves.
  • Ignoring humidity: Tree philodendrons appreciate humidity, so make sure to maintain adequate humidity levels around the cuttings. You can mist the leaves or use a tray of water placed near the cuttings to maintain good moisture levels.

If you encounter any difficulties or problems during the propagation process, consider the following troubleshooting tips:

  1. If your cutting isn’t developing roots after a few weeks, try changing the water more frequently or moving the cutting to a location with better lighting conditions.
  2. If you notice rotting or browning leaves, check the moisture level in your potting mix. Adjust your watering frequency if the soil is too wet or too dry.
  3. Keep an eye on the overall plant health, and maintain a regular care routine to reduce the risk of pests and diseases.

Remember to be patient during the propagation process, as tree philodendrons might take time to develop roots and start growing. By avoiding these common mistakes and addressing any issues that arise, you’ll be on your way to successfully propagating and nurturing a thriving tree philodendron.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I propagate a tree philodendron?

Propagating tree philodendron is relatively easy, and stem cuttings are the most common method. Just make a clean cut below a node on the stem, and you’re ready to start. You can choose to root your cutting in water or a small container of potting soil. Keep the soil moist and place it in a bright spot with indirect sunlight for optimum growth.

What are other methods to propagate philodendron plants?

Apart from stem cuttings, there are a few other methods to propagate philodendron plants:

  • Offshoot and root division: Some varieties produce offshoots that can be separated from the parent plant and allowed to grow.
  • Node propagation: You can propagate new plants from just the nodes, where leaves and roots emerge.
  • Air layering:

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