Ask a Question forum→philodendron losing bottom leaves and new growth not opening up

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London, UK
Adonis
May 22, 2020 7:07 AM CST
Hi,

I've had this philodendron for a few years - still not sure what type it is yet, imperial green?

I've kept it in the bathroom for high humidity but it's a very shaded spot, so it's growth has been relatively slow. I also repotted it last week for the first time, using general indoor potting soil in a same size pot (photos are before repotting). I water it every week now and ever other week in the winter.

Over the past two years the lower leaves started drying up at the tips and the dry patch grew up the leaf with a yellow strip on the end, as you can see in the photos. Initially I thought it was being overwatered so I reduced watering over winter. The leaves eventually went yellow/brown to the stem and dropped (think it lost 3-4 leaves this way.

My first question is, now that almost all of the bottom leaves are gone, would you recommend cutting the top off and repotting it?

Second question...over the past month or so there are two new leaves growing but these don't seem to want to open up! I moved it to the living room to get a bit more sunlight but still no change. I had the same issue a two years ago I think - the leaf never opened up and eventually fell off. Any thoughts on why this is happening?

Thank you
Adonis
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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
May 22, 2020 8:04 AM CST
The yellow patches indicate under watering. Indoor plants are non-seasonal so watering by the calendar can lead to problems. Many indoor plants need water more frequently in the dry winter air. I suggest that you water your Philodendron whenever the top half-inch of soil feels dry to the touch. Always water thoroughly. Under watering may be why the newer leaves haven't opened properly.

The lower leaves will never be replaced. The newer top growth looks healthy, so pruning and propagating it may be a good idea. I suggest cutting the top section just above the highest discolored leaf. That top cutting can be propagated by inserting it in the base of the existing plant or in its own smaller pot.

I also suggest making a second pruning cut a few inches above the soil. That will eliminate the entire middle section. New growth will emerge on the pruned stem starting a few inches above the soil and grow upward from there.

It looks like there is already a smaller stem at the base. You could end up with three separate stems in the same pot so you will have a much fuller looking plant.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
London, UK
Adonis
May 24, 2020 4:48 AM CST
All great and very useful advice Will, thanks a lot! I'll give it a go...let's hope I end up with three stems Smiling

I read that philodendrons don't need much light but I am not sure if there's enough light in the spot I have it. It's a northeast facing window but obstructed by other buildings. The photos are pretty much what it is like for most of the day, with the exception of maybe 1hr max in the morning, when the sun hits the bathroom window. Would that be enough or is it a dark spot for the philodendron?

Thanks again!


WillC said:The yellow patches indicate under watering. Indoor plants are non-seasonal so watering by the calendar can lead to problems. Many indoor plants need water more frequently in the dry winter air. I suggest that you water your Philodendron whenever the top half-inch of soil feels dry to the touch. Always water thoroughly. Under watering may be why the newer leaves haven't opened properly.

The lower leaves will never be replaced. The newer top growth looks healthy, so pruning and propagating it may be a good idea. I suggest cutting the top section just above the highest discolored leaf. That top cutting can be propagated by inserting it in the base of the existing plant or in its own smaller pot.

I also suggest making a second pruning cut a few inches above the soil. That will eliminate the entire middle section. New growth will emerge on the pruned stem starting a few inches above the soil and grow upward from there.

It looks like there is already a smaller stem at the base. You could end up with three separate stems in the same pot so you will have a much fuller looking plant.


Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
May 24, 2020 8:45 AM CST
It is really hard to determine how much light is blocked by the opaque glass used in your bathroom. It is probably minimally adequate but less than ideal. Do you have a somewhat brighter option with light coming through clear glass?
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
London, UK
Adonis
Aug 10, 2020 11:31 AM CST
WillC said:It is really hard to determine how much light is blocked by the opaque glass used in your bathroom. It is probably minimally adequate but less than ideal. Do you have a somewhat brighter option with light coming through clear glass?


Thanks Will! Sorry I forgot to reply earlier.

I moved the philodendron next to a west facing window which gets bright light and very little direct sunlight late in the afternoon. Seems to be happier here.

I haven't propagated it yet and it's still growing new leaves! I attempted air layering but gave up as I thought I might cause the stem to rot. It's probably better to wait for next year now to propagate the top part. Would you propagate at the start of autumn?

Thanks again!
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