The Q&A Archives: Suckers On Philodendrons

Question: I have inherited a philodendron and there are all kinds of suckers which have grown out from all over the plant and back into the soil. They are kind of ugly. Is it safe to chop these off? I've heard different opinions on this.

Answer: Philodendrons are tropical plants and it's their nature to produce aerial roots. Similar roots are found on orchids, which, like philodendrons, expect to encounter humidity in the air. The roots you mention are an integral part of the plant. If you cut them off you'll be removing some of the supporting structure of your plant and stopping the transportaion of moisture and nutrients. Cutting the aerial roots off will wound the stem, providing an entry point for disease organisms. Here's a third opinion: Since aerial root production is natural, I'd leave them alone.

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