Ask a Question forum: Philodendron Transplant Concern

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Name: Carolyn Karrh
COLORADO
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cottontaildoc
Mar 31, 2018 7:57 AM CST
Hello all---I am very new to plants and have only had a few ever in my life. My mother recently died and she had a Philodendron for more than 60 years (she got it back in college in the 1950's)--I remember her caring for this plant when I was a child 40-50 years ago. I now have this plant and want to do my very best to care for it properly---it is a living part of her and it's very important to me. I am worried about it, though---she lived in Georgia and I live in Colorado. I carried the plant on the plane home with me and when I arrived, the one thin root stem had separated from the plant, leaving no visible root to replant. It was one long vine! I did a little reading and discovered that I could cut the vine and place the ends in water, so I have done this. It has been about two weeks and, though the vines themselves appear green and healthy, the leaves are turning yellow/brown and falling off.

A few questions:
1) Is this normal for the leaves to fall off so quickly? Should I be worried?
2) If I am doing this right, how long before each stem sprouts a root?
3) When can I replant them into a pot?
4) Do they need different care now that I am in a drier climate? Should I be misting them daily even though they are in water?
5) The original root system is still in the pot and I continue to water it only because I don't know if it's viable---will this amount to anything or should I stop caring for it?
6) Am I completely wrong about everything and need to do something else for this plant?

Help!

Carolyn Karrh


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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Mar 31, 2018 8:47 AM CST
Sorry for the loss of your mom, Carolyn. Nice that you have something to remember her by.

Bear in mind that caring for plants takes some experience and most of us have had our share of failures along the way. I know this plant is important to you, but don't be hard on yourself if you struggle with it. Hopefully, not!

The preferred way to propagate Philodendron cuttings is to use short, tip cuttings that are about 3-6 inches in length and have about 4 leaves each. The tip ends of each vine are where most of the growth hormones are located and root more readily. In addition, very long vine cuttings like yours have many more leaves to support while the roots are still developing.

In any case, it may take several months for healthy roots that are at least an inch long to develop. Change the water weekly to keep it fresh. When you have multiple cuttings each with roots an inch or more in length, you can pot them up together in a small pot filled with a porous potting mix. Having the roots make the transition from water to potting soil is tricky and will require careful monitoring of the potting mix to keep it damp, but not wet. It will take several months or more for this transition to be successful.

Philodendrons have proven to do well even in very low humidity, so misting is not necessary.

The original pot in the hanging planter appears to be fine and healthy. No need to repot it. Just water it as soon as the top half-inch of soil feels dry to the touch.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Carolyn Karrh
COLORADO
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cottontaildoc
Apr 2, 2018 8:27 PM CST
Thank you, Will! The photo of the full plant was the day I brought it home---the other photos are what I have now that it has been detached from the original root system. Sad Should I worry about the brown and dying leaves? It seems that there is pretty much nothing left on the vines at all now and I am concerned.
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Apr 3, 2018 8:51 AM CST
What happened to the original plant and root system? Did you discard it?

You have multiple cuttings in the vase. I suggest that you take each one and cut off all but the last 4 or so inches at the end of each stem and discard the rest. You will end up with the same number of cuttings, but each one will be much shorter with just a couple of leaves each.

Put them into a smaller (less deep) container of plain water. Change the water weekly and be very patient. It will take several weeks or more before you see some roots growing from the stem nodes that are submerged in the water.

After the roots of each stem are at least an inch long, they can move together into a small pot filled with a damp potting mix. Or, you can simpy leave them in water indefinitely.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Native Plants and Wildflowers
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purpleinopp
Apr 3, 2018 9:25 AM CST
So sorry about your loss!

Since these vines do not look very healthy, and some may not take root, I would keep all of the cuttings. If the water develops any odor, color, or lack of clarity, dump it out, rinse the glass & cuttings & add fresh water.

It looks like some of them were cut at a point where they now have several inches of stem protruding past the nearest node. I would re-trim those cut ends so there is the smallest possible length of stem protruding past the last node. This should allow at least the last 2 and possible 3 nodes to be in water.

New roots will form at the nodes, so having at least 2 in the water doubles your chances of having roots form, and if both nodes form roots, they should also form new vines, yielding 2 new vines instead of 1. The more stems that are put into a new pot, the more full it will be. If fullness is your goal, having the most possible cuttings is to your advantage. If some of the vines look more healthy at the tip, multiplying the cuttings by trimming the tips is another way to try.

Brown & dying leaves are caused by failure of the roots to deliver moisture to the foliage. Being too soggy wet in a container without a drain hole can be one cause, or just going too long without someone giving a drink can be another. Whenever I've wanted to change the pots that my vines are in, I don't bother trying to keep or repot the old roots, I just take cuttings & start over, even though the plant looks perfectly healthy.

My current primary pot of this plant is a 5-gallon bucket that was started with about 15 pieces of vine, some were 5+ feet long, and the submerged length of stem was as long as the bucket is tall. It's a matter of your personal preference, vines are very easy to manipulate into all kinds of display styles.

Best luck!!
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Name: Carolyn Karrh
COLORADO
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cottontaildoc
Apr 3, 2018 5:48 PM CST
I cannot tell you both how much I appreciate your advice here---thank you so much. I am very protective of this plant and want to do all the right things---it is more important than I can express.

I have cut each of the very long stems shorter (closer to the nodes) and they are all in fresh water again. I have (2) stems that have several nice green leaves and am hopeful for these. Is it okay that they are all placed in (2) vases with multiple stems? Will they do better if I separate them each into individual vases?

When the roots begin to grow from the nodes, is it obvious? Do I need to removed the dead brown stems from the previous leaves or will they fall off by themselves?

I did not discard the original pot and soil---the photo of the full plant I sent before was about 2 hours after I got home from my travel home with it, and my attempt to replace the stems into the moist soil after they detached from the root (after reading somewhere online that this could be done). I have attached a photo of the original pot and soil---there is (1) small root sticking up where the plant was attached (the entire plant was all attached to this one root!). I still water it and keep it moist in the hopes that something will happen---am I wasting my time? I suspect that the root system is very intricate in that pot, as this is the same one it's been in since the 70s! Will this tiny root ever sprout another plant again? It does not feel dry or dead---it feels pliable and alive.

I feel a little like a kindergartner asking what are probably such basic questions in this forum---but I have googled my specific questions and haven't found the answers. So, thank you for your kindness in helping me here.

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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Apr 3, 2018 6:01 PM CST
The development of roots on individual stem cuttings will not be affected by whether they are rooted separately or together. Ultimately, you will want to pot multiple cuttings together so you have a fuller plant. The development of roots from the nodes submerged in water will be obvious to you.

How did the stems detach from the roots in the original pot? There were multiple roots, not just a single root in the original pot. The roots had grown together into one larger rootball. I don't see anything that suggests life in the original pot.

Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Carolyn Karrh
COLORADO
Image
cottontaildoc
Apr 3, 2018 6:34 PM CST
Will, when I removed the plant from the box it traveled in (my carry-on), I lifted the plant out of the box and attempted to gently arrange it while it was hanging, then could not find an attachment to the soil anywhere. And the plant seemed to be one long vine. I assumed the entire plant was attached to that one root because I could not find any other root stem besides the one visible in the photo. I combed the entire plant and checked every node and could not find a root on the vine anywhere. So, that root stem isn't viable?
Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Native Plants and Wildflowers
Tropicals Butterflies Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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purpleinopp
Apr 4, 2018 8:43 AM CST
Agree, you will know when the roots start to form, they will be white and obvious. It sounds like you have done what can be done to try to preserve this plant. They are good questions, but even after decades of propagating this plant hundreds of times, it's impossible to say for sure what will happen with your specific cuttings.

Also agree, the original pot does not look promising. It's definitely possible that all of the vine material was a single vine that had been wrapped around the pot over & over all of those years. When you noticed that it was no longer connected to any roots, it could be because the roots had rotted, or because something about the way it was moved may have pulled it loose. The root system of this kind of vine can be surprisingly small compared to the above-ground plant mass.
👀😁😂 - SMILE! -☺😎☻☮👌✌∞☯🐣🐦🐔🐝🍯🐾
The less I interfere, the more balance mother nature provides.
👒🎄👣🏡🍃🍂🌾🌿🍁❦❧ 🍃🍁🍂🌾🌻🌸🌼🌹🌽❀☀🌺
☕👓 The only way to succeed is to try.
Name: Carolyn Karrh
COLORADO
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cottontaildoc
May 7, 2018 7:54 PM CST
Hello! It's been about 1 month since I posted and the clippings from my mother's plant have started to sprout roots! They are many that have roots anywhere from 1-3 inches now. At what point do I attempt to re-pot them into soil? Should I let them continue to root for a while? And what is the best way to go about planting them again? It was mentioned that transplanting can be tricky.
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Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Native Plants and Wildflowers
Tropicals Butterflies Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Image
purpleinopp
May 8, 2018 8:21 AM CST
Those look great. That stage is usually when I move cuttings to a pot. I usually fill a pot about halfway, then lean the cuttings around in a circle, then finish filling the pot. Shouldn't take more than 3-5 minutes. Then water with a gentle sprinkle the first few times, not a gush or flood of water that would compact the soil.
👀😁😂 - SMILE! -☺😎☻☮👌✌∞☯🐣🐦🐔🐝🍯🐾
The less I interfere, the more balance mother nature provides.
👒🎄👣🏡🍃🍂🌾🌿🍁❦❧ 🍃🍁🍂🌾🌻🌸🌼🌹🌽❀☀🌺
☕👓 The only way to succeed is to try.
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
Image
WillC
May 8, 2018 9:17 AM CST
They can be moved to potting mix at any time, but there is no rush either. I suggest a terra cotta pot just large enough to accommodate the roots and sufficient potting mix to cover them. I also suggest potting them all together in one pot.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

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