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Apr 30, 2020 3:43 PM CST
Thread OP

Hi, we recently purchased a home in San Diego, CA that has what we believe is a Split-Leaf-Philodendron (see photos). My first question is, is this a split-leaf-philodendron? My second question is when should we prune this plant? Currently there are many large leaves/stems that are laying flat on the ground, should these be removed? I would likely remove them without asking but there is something protruding out of the stems and I'm not sure if we should leave these? Also, it appears that this plant has been laying on the ground for many years, how do we get it to start to make a trunk and stand up vertically? Thanks all!

Joshua Beckman - San Diego, CA
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Apr 30, 2020 4:28 PM CST
Name: Lin Vosbury
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)

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Hi jbeckman524, Welcome!

Yes indeed, that is the Split Leaf Philodendron, a/k/a Tree Philodendron (Thaumatophyllum bipinnatifidum). Scientists just recently moved it from the genus Philodendron, to genus Thaumatophyllum. The common names are "Split Leaf Philodendron", "Tree Philodendron", etc. If your plant has been there a long while, I'm not sure why it hasn't produced a stem/trunk. They are common landscape plants here in Florida, we have them in a few places in our yard. We had lots of them growing in the yard at our old house but only one really grew with a somewhat straight trunk; the usual habit is for them to scramble across the ground and they will sometimes put out aerial roots and climb trees. This is the only one I've ever had that grew in a more upright manner and I removed the lower leaves along the stem to give it a Palm like appearance.

I sometimes remove the lower leaves, especially any that are laying flat on the ground. All of my plants have the lower growth habit where the stem/trunks are laying on the ground and I still remove lower leaves of the ones alongside the house, to tidy them up a bit but I won't venture into the area where they are growing on the other side of the fence because I worry about snakes being in there. Smiling
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The protrusion you are seeing on your plant might be the sheath of a new leaf that has yet to unfurl or it could possibly be the bloom, which is the green and white spathe that encloses the white spadix. Here are photos of a new leaf unfurling in photo on left and the bloom (which consists of the green spathe and white spadix):
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If you click the blue link I provided, it will take you to the plant in our database where you will find growing information many more photos.
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Apr 30, 2020 5:46 PM CST
Name: Gina
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One of the hallmarks of the Meconostiwgma philodendrons (Thaumatophyllum) is their trunk formation with the 'eyes' left behind by the old petioles and leaves falling off. You can trim the plant if you like but it will eventually trim itself. They grow upright by making the trunk. That takes time
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Apr 30, 2020 6:48 PM CST
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I split your post and question off to it's own thread since it was not related to the original posters question about their plant from last year. This way you get answers directly to your post.
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Avatar for jbeckman524
May 4, 2020 9:43 AM CST
Thread OP

Thank you plantladylin, Gina1960, and Calif_Sue for your responses and assistance. I'm so happy that I posted my questions here on, I now have the answers I was looking for.

I believe it is about to flower, so thank you plantladylin I wasn't sure what those protrusions were! Now I'm excited to see this specimen bloom. I'll attach photos of the blooms once it does. I also believe it is starting to go vertical, so maybe in the next few years it will actually have a small trunk. Currently it has kind of a snake like appearance on the ground about 3.5 feet in length, but it looks like it is starting to go vertical. There are no trees around the specimen at all, so nothing for it to grab onto to heard towards the sky.

I've decided that I will clean it up and prune it once it blooms and the bottom leaves look a little more tattered. Smiling
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