The Complete Tree Philodendron Propagation Guide

Last Updated: October 16, 2023

Tree Philodendron

Tree Philodendron


If you’re a fan of indoor plants, then you might already be familiar with the stunning beauty of the tree philodendron. These tropical plants, with their glossy, heart-shaped leaves, can add a touch of the exotic to any interior space.

But did you know that you can propagate your own tree philodendron? Yes, that’s right! With the right knowledge, tools, and a bit of patience, you can create new plants from your existing one.

This guide aims to provide comprehensive information on the best and most successful ways to propagate your tree philodendron.

From understanding the basics of tree philodendron propagation, to exploring the different methods and the right time for propagation, this guide will cover it all.

It will also delve into the care and maintenance of your propagated plants, as well as common problems and their solutions. By the end, you should be equipped with the information you need to propagate your tree philodendron with confidence and success.

Whether you’re a seasoned plant enthusiast looking to expand your collection, or a beginner seeking to dive into the world of plant propagation, this guide will prove to be an invaluable resource.

So, let’s get started and learn about the fascinating process of tree philodendron propagation!

Understanding Tree Philodendron Propagation

The process of creating new plants from an existing tree philodendron is known as propagation. By grasping the fundamental aspects of tree philodendron propagation, one can successfully cultivate new plants with relative ease.

There are various methods of propagation available, each with its own set of pros and cons. The goal is to produce healthy, vibrant offspring that retain the mother plant’s desirable traits.

Before diving into the propagation techniques, it is crucial to understand the plant’s biology. The tree philodendron, scientifically known as Philodendron bipinnatifidum, is a tropical plant native to South America.

It is renowned for its large, lush leaves and slow-growing, tree-like structure. Hence the name, ‘tree philodendron’. This plant thrives under indirect sunlight, in well-drained soil, and with consistent moisture.

What is propagation?

Propagation primarily involves two parts of the plant – the stem and the leaf node. The leaf node, also known as the growth node, is the part of the stem where the leaf grows out.

It contains meristematic cells, which are capable of dividing and developing into various other plant tissues. When propagating, this is the part that will develop into roots and shoots, given the right conditions.

Successful propagation of tree philodendrons requires patience, care, and a bit of knowledge. While these plants are resilient and can be relatively easy to propagate, it’s important to understand the intricacies of the process to ensure optimal results.

Methods of Propagation

There are several methods that can be employed to propagate tree philodendrons successfully. Among these, the most commonly used techniques are propagation via stem cuttings and air layering.

Each of these methods has its own unique set of requirements, and their success can often depend upon a variety of factors such as the health and maturity of the parent plant, the time of year, and the specific care they are given post-propagation.

Propagating Tree Philodendrons: Stem Cuttings vs. Air Layering

Method Pros Cons
Stem Cuttings
  • Allows for multiple new plants from a single parent plant
  • Can be done any time of the year
  • Generally a faster process
  • Risk of infection or rot if not properly cared for
  • Can cause stress to the parent plant if not done correctly
  • May need a growth hormone to improve success rate
Air Layering
  • Less traumatic to the parent plant
  • Higher success rate as roots form before separation
  • Allows for larger, more mature plants
  • Requires more time and patience
  • Typically only produces one new plant at a time
  • More complex technique, not optimal for beginners

Propagating Tree Philodendron from Stem Cuttings

One of the most effective ways to propagate tree philodendrons is through stem cuttings. This method is relatively simple, less time-consuming and can yield great results when done correctly. Here are the steps that should be followed for successful propagation from stem cuttings.

Equipment for Stem Cutting Propagation:

  • Gardening gloves: For protection against possible plant sap or soil bacteria.
  • Sharp and clean pruning shears: These are crucial for making clean cuts on the plant stems.
  • A healthy tree philodendron: Ensure that the mother plant is healthy and free from any diseases or pests.
  • Fresh potting mix: This should be well-draining to provide the optimal environment for root development.
  • Disinfectant: This will be used to clean your equipment, ensuring they are free from any potential contaminants.
  • Plant pots or containers: These will house the new plants as they grow.
  • Plastic wrap or bag: This will be used to create a mini greenhouse effect, maintaining humidity for the cuttings.
  • Watering can: For watering the new cuttings.


Step 1: Select and Cut the Stem

Browse through your tree philodendron, looking for a healthy stem with a few leaves. Using a clean, sharp knife or scissors, make a cut about 3-6 inches below a leaf node.

A leaf node is the point where a leaf attaches to the stem. It’s advisable to cut at a 45-degree angle to increase the surface area for root formation.

Step 2: Prepare the Stem Cutting

Once you’ve cut your stem, remove the lower leaves, leaving only two to three at the top. This helps to channel the plant’s energy towards root development.

Next, dip the cut end of the stem in a rooting hormone, which helps to stimulate root growth and increase the chances of successful propagation.

Step 3: Plant the Cutting

Prepare a pot with well-draining potting mix, then plant the stem cutting. This pot should be deep enough to accommodate the new developing roots.

The cut end of the stem (with the rooting hormone) should be inserted into the soil. Firmly press the soil around the stem to ensure it’s secure.

Step 4: Maintain the Right Environment

Place the potted cutting in a bright location, but out of direct sunlight. Maintain a high humidity environment by placing the pot in a clear plastic bag or using a humidity dome.

Water the cutting regularly, but take care not to overwater as this could lead to root rot. It generally takes about 2 to 6 weeks for roots to develop.

Once the cutting has started to develop roots and new leaves, it can be treated as a mature tree philodendron, with regular watering, feeding, and light requirements.

Propagating Tree Philodendron from Air Layering

Air layering is another viable method for propagating tree philodendrons, particularly for those individuals who prefer not to separate a section of the plant completely.

This method allows a new plant to form while still attached to the parent plant, thus ensuring a constant supply of nutrients and reducing stress on the parent plant.

Equipment for Air Layering Propagation:

Gather the following items before you start with the propagation process:

  • A sharp, clean knife or pair of scissors: These are essential for making a clean cut on the stem of the plant without causing unnecessary injury.
  • Clear plastic wrap: This will be used to create a greenhouse effect around the wounded section of the stem, promoting root growth.
  • A piece of string or twist tie: To secure the plastic wrap around the stem.
  • Humus-rich or peat-based soil: This type of soil provides the right balance of nutrients and moisture for the new roots to grow.
  • Rooting hormone (optional): This can help stimulate root growth, although it’s not strictly necessary.
  • A spray bottle filled with water: To keep the new roots moist and promote their growth.


Step 1: Identify the Layering Point

Identify a healthy stem on the tree philodendron that you wish to propagate. This stem should be mature but still young, with several leaves attached.

The point you select for air layering should be at least a foot away from the tip of the stem.

Step 2: Make an Upward Slanting Cut

Make an upward slanting cut about one-third of the way through the stem using a sterile knife. Be sure not to cut all the way through. The cut should be clean and precise to prevent unnecessary damage to the plant.

Step 3: Insert aToothpick and Apply Rooting Hormone

Insert a toothpick into the cut to keep it open, allowing air to enter and stimulate root development. Apply a rooting hormone to the cut area to encourage quicker root formation.

Be cautious while applying the hormone, ensuring you do not over-apply as this can have adverse effects.

Step 4: Wrap the Cut Area

Wrap the cut area with a moist sphagnum moss, then cover it with a piece of clear plastic wrap. Secure the plastic wrap with ties above and below the cut area, ensuring the moss remains moist and in contact with the cut.

This creates a mini greenhouse effect, allowing the cut to develop roots.

Step 5: Wait and Monitor

Patience is a virtue with air layering. It may take several weeks for roots to appear. During this period, monitor the moss to ensure it stays moist. Once roots have developed, you can cut below the rooted area and gently remove the new plant from the parent.

This process, while perhaps a bit more complex than stem cutting, is a rewarding and successful method of propagating tree philodendrons. It’s suitable for those who want to avoid the potential shock to the plant that can occur with the stem cutting method.

Best Time to Propagate Tree Philodendron

The right timing is crucial when it comes to successful propagation of tree philodendron. Though these plants can technically be propagated at any time of the year, they are more likely to root and grow vigorously during certain periods.

Spring and early summer are generally considered the best times to propagate tree philodendrons. During these seasons, the plant is in its active growth phase, making it more receptive to propagation. The increased sunlight, warmth, and humidity encourage faster rooting and growth of the new plants.

In contrast, propagating during the late fall or winter is often less successful. During these colder, darker months, the plant’s growth naturally slows down. This means that cuttings or layerings may take longer to root, if they root at all.

Furthermore, the lack of sunlight and dry indoor air can create less than ideal conditions for new growth.

However, if you provide the right growing conditions — warmth, light, and humidity — it is possible to propagate tree philodendrons year-round. This is particularly true for indoor gardening, where environmental conditions can be more easily controlled.

In conclusion, while tree philodendrons can be propagated at any time, your chances of success are higher if you carry out the process in the spring and early summer. But with the right care and conditions, you can achieve successful propagation throughout the year.

Care and Maintenance of Propagated Tree Philodendrons

Once your tree philodendron has been successfully propagated and is beginning to grow, it’s crucial to provide proper care and maintenance. Ensuring the right conditions will help your new plant thrive and develop into a strong and healthy specimen.

Light Requirements

Tree philodendrons prefer bright, indirect light. Place the plant near a north or east-facing window where it will receive enough light but won’t be subjected to harsh, direct sunlight. Too much direct sun can cause the leaves to burn, while too little light can stunt growth and cause the leaves to yellow.


Watering should be carried out consistently, but be careful not to overwater. Wait until the top inch of soil feels dry before watering again. Overwatering can cause root rot, a common problem for many indoor plants. Keep in mind that the plant’s water needs will decrease during winter.

Temperature and Humidity

Tree philodendrons thrive in temperatures between 65 and 80°F (18-27°C). They are not frost-tolerant and should be kept away from draughts and sudden temperature drops. They also prefer high humidity levels, so consider misting the leaves regularly or placing the plant on a pebble tray filled with water to increase humidity.


A balanced houseplant fertilizer can be applied during the growing season to support healthy growth. It’s recommended to feed the tree philodendron once a month in spring and summer, and once every two months in fall and winter.


Pruning is a necessary part of plant care. Regular pruning helps the plant maintain a compact shape and promotes lush foliage. Remove dead, yellowing, or damaged leaves as soon as they appear. Be sure to use sterilized pruning shears to prevent the spread of disease.

By providing the right care and maintenance, your tree philodendron can thrive and add luscious greenery to your space for years to come.

Common Problems and Solutions

Even with the most meticulous care, propagating tree philodendrons can encounter a few problems. However, these issues are generally manageable, and knowing what to look for is half the battle.

Yellowing Leaves

One of the most common issues is yellowing leaves, which is often a sign of overwatering. This plant prefers to be a bit on the dry side, so it’s paramount to allow the soil to dry out between waterings. If you notice yellow leaves, cut back on watering and ensure the plant is not sitting in water.

Brown Leaf Tips

Brown leaf tips usually signal a lack of humidity. Tree philodendrons thrive in humid environments, and dry air can cause the leaves to brown at the edges. To rectify this, you can mist the leaves regularly, place the plant on a pebble tray with water, or use a humidifier.


Like many plants, tree philodendrons can fall victim to pests such as mealybugs, aphids, and spider mites. These pests can be identified by the presence of small, discolored spots or a sticky substance on the leaves. To treat an infestation, you can use an insecticidal soap or a solution of water mixed with a few drops of mild dish soap. It’s important to isolate the infested plant to prevent the pests from spreading to other plants.

Slow Growth

If your philodendron is growing slowly or not at all, it might not be getting enough light. Although these plants can survive in low light conditions, they prefer bright, indirect light for optimal growth. If your plant isn’t thriving, try moving it to a brighter location, but keep it out of direct sunlight, which can scorch the leaves.

Tree philodendron propagation might seem daunting, but with patience and a little knowledge, you can tackle these common issues and achieve a lush, thriving plant.


In conclusion, successfully propagating a tree philodendron is a rewarding process that involves a good understanding of the plant, the right equipment, and a bit of patience. While stem cutting is the most common method of propagation, air layering offers an exciting alternative for those willing to try something different.

Once propagated, taking care of your new plant involves a consistent regimen of light exposure, watering, temperature and humidity control, feeding, and occasional pruning. It’s also crucial to keep an eye out for common problems such as yellowing leaves, brown leaf tips, pests, and slow growth.

Remember, propagation is an art as much as a science. With practice and patience, you can master this skill and enjoy the lush beauty of tree philodendrons in your space. Happy planting!

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