How to Propagate a Trailing Philodendron

It's as simple as snipping a few stems to root. In almost no time, you'll have new plants to expand your collection or share with friends.

Trailing or heart-leaf philodendron is a houseplant just about anyone can grow. It will tolerate dim indoor light, and can bounce back well after you forget to water it for a while; bright, indirect light and regular water are preferable, of course. Its thin stems can reach impressive lengths if you let them (they've been known to wrap entirely around a room). And all along its stems, this philodendron will produce cute little heart-shaped leaves that have a glossy sheen if you keep them dusted. But one of the best things about this plant is how easy it is to grow more of them from simple stem cuttings.

Propagating a Trailing Philodendron houseplant at home

Phoebe Cheong / BHG

How to Propagate Philodendron by Stem Cuttings

You can root philodendron stem cuttings in either a small container of potting soil or a cup of water. To make a cutting, use a clean, sharp knife or garden snips ($14, The Home Depot) to remove a piece of stem about 3 to 6 inches long. It's best to make your cut just above another leaf on the stem. This allows the rest of your plant to neatly produce more shoots and leaves from that point, and your cut stem will also have plenty of room for forming new roots.

Philodendron houseplants in a glass of water ready for propagation

Phoebe Cheong / BHG

Next, snip or gently break off all of the leaves from the cutting except the top three or four. Put the bare stem into the cup of water or moist potting soil, and firm the soil around the stem to hold it in place. Make sure that none of the leaves are buried or submerged. If they are, perch the cutting a little higher or remove another leaf. Place your container in bright, indirect sunlight near a window and keep the soil moist or the cup of water topped up.

In two or three weeks, roots will appear, followed by new leaves. In water, the roots will be easy to see. It's possible to grow trailing philodendron in just water indefinitely, but the plants won't reach their full size. If you'd prefer to pot your rooted cutting, wait until the roots are about an inch long before moving the cutting into a container that's about 3-4 inches wide and filled with fresh potting soil. Keep your newly potted philodendron well-watered to help it adapt to its new home.

When rooting philodendron cuttings in potting soil ($12, Walmart), after a couple of weeks, give the stem a gentle tug; if you feel resistance, you'll know that roots have formed. If not, let it be for another week, making sure to keep the soil moist.

If your mother plant is large enough, take three to five cuttings at one time and let all of them root in the same container. Then when you plant them, you'll have a pot that looks full and lush without having to wait for just a single cutting to branch out.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • When's the best time to propagate my trailing philodendron?

    Trailing philodendron can be propagated nearly any time of year, except for winter which is when the roots will grow exceptionally slow. In addition to making sure you propagate the plant in spring, summer, or fall, you should also be sure to choose cuttings from a mother plant that is well established and at least a year old.

  • When should I repot my trailing philodendron?

    In general, you should repot your trailing philodendron every two years, or when you notice the root system is getting bound up or coming out of the base of the planter. The best time of year to repot the plat is during late spring or early summer, when it will be subjected to the least environmental stressors.

  • How often should I trim my trailing philodendron?

    Trailing philodendron can be trimmed any time of year—or not at all, depending on how large you'd like your specimen to grown. Feel free to remove any yellowing or browning leaves as you see them. You can also do larger pruning once a year in spring, but you should never remove more than 1/3 of the plant at once.

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