Split-Leaf Philodendron Propagation

Split-leaf philodendrons are favored houseplants that brighten up any room with their tropical appearance. They’re hardy plants that are simple to grow and easy to propagate – all it takes is soil, water, and time.

Here’s how you can propagate a split-leaf philodendron in 9-easy steps:

  1. Choose a method to propagate your philodendron.
  2. Pick a philodendron leaf to propagate.
  3. Cut the philodendron stem between nodes.
  4. Buy or create high-quality soil.
  5. Place the philodendron and dirt in a pot.
  6. Wait for the philodendron root system to grow.
  7. Choose a larger pot for your philodendron.
  8. Remove dirt from the philodendron roots.
  9. Report your philodendron.

With the cost of indoor plants rising each day, propagating your philodendron yourself is not only satisfying but cost-effective. Want more details? Let’s dive into each step.

1. Choose a Method to propagate Your Philodendron

First, you’ll need to decide on your method of propagation. The two most common choices are soil and water propagation, each with pros and cons.

Soil Propagation

Propagating in the soil is the standard way to propagate most plants and will be the primary method in this article.

This process involves placing your philodendron in a soil mix and a temporary pot. Then, the rest consists in waiting for the roots to grow.


  • Roots will grow faster due to nutrient-dense soil.
  • Has a lower chance of transplant shock when repotting.
  • The roots are better at absorbing minerals from the soil.


  • Soil is messy and gets everywhere.
  • You’ll need to make or purchase your soil mix.
  • It’s challenging to see root progression without removing the plant.

Water Propagation

Plants that propagate using water as a medium grow surprisingly well.

Essentially, you fill a large container (such as a clean milk jug) with water and place the plant inside. From here, the plant takes care of itself, as long as you maintain the water level until the roots sprout.

Once roots are visible, it’s time to transplant a philodendron into the soil.

However, there are a few factors that are unique to this method:


  • Lower maintenance propagation.
  • No need to replace water; only refill when needed.
  • You can see root progress if using a clear container.


  • Fewer roots tend to grow.
  • Higher chance of transplant shock.
  • Not trimming aerial roots prior can lead to rot.
  • The root system needs to acclimate to mineral absorption in the soil after transplanting.

Either method of propagation will work, but let’s continue with the rest of the steps needed using soil.

2. Pick a Philodendron Leaf To Propagate

Now it’s time to pick what part of your philodendron you wish to propagate.

You have some flexibility when making your choice. Both large and small leaves will work, as long as you keep the following in mind.

If you decide to use an older and larger leaf, you’ll likely only need one. On the other hand, a smaller and younger leaf will perform better with multiple other leaves attached (around 2-3 is preferable).

If possible, choose a part of the philodendron with multiple nodes from which the roots can grow.

3. Cut the Philodendron Stem Between Nodes

Before performing this step, I highly recommend wearing gloves. Philodendron sap contains raphides, which are known to cause harsh skin irritation.

If you need a good pair of gardening gloves, I recommend this Cooljob Gardening Gloves pack from Amazon.com. They’re lightweight, durable, and provide excellent protection despite being inexpensive.

According to Oregon State University, plant nodes are sites where buds eventually turn into stems and leaves.

You can find the nodes of a philodendron by identifying where the leaves meet the plant’s stem. There is often a noticeable ‘bump’ in this location.

You’ll also often see what is known as aerial roots, or roots that grow above the soil. These tend to grow right below a plant node.

Cut right below the plant node and aerial roots using a pair of sharp pruning shears. You want as clean a cut as possible to let the roots grow without difficulty.

4. Buy or Create High-Quality Soil

Your philodendron will only be as strong and healthy as the soil it grows in.

The most important thing to remember is philodendrons are tropical plants and grow best in loose and well-drained soil.

The following options all use ingredients easily found at your local hardware or garden center.

Premium Potting Mix

This method uses a standard potting mix from your local garden center with perlite.

A premium potting mix will help provide proper moisture and nutrients to the plant, while perlite ensures the soil drains properly.

No matter the size of the pot, you’ll want to aim for 70% potting soil to 30% perlite.

Sphagnum Moss

Sphagnum moss, also known as peat moss, is known for retaining moisture without too much excess. Doing so allows for more time in between watering.

Since it’s cheap and widely available, sphagnum moss is an excellent choice if you want to propagate with minimum investment.

Another advantage this moss has over regular potting soil is it’s not as compact, making it easier to remove when it’s time to transplant.

If you decide to use sphagnum moss, soak it in water for 1 hour before planting your philodendron.


Vermiculite is a mineral that helps to aerate the soil while keeping it moist.

Its use as a propagation medium and seed starter was made famous by Mel Bartholomew, inventor of the Square Foot Gardening method.

It releases this moisture over time, making it a suitable medium for propagating young plants that require decent drainage.

Vermiculite is also very easy to remove from plant roots once it’s time to switch to a bigger pot.

5. Place the Philodendron and Dirt in a Pot

Although it seems a simple process, you should take care when placing your plant into its temporary pot. Once your soil is ready, follow this simple process to transfer your philodendron into your pot securely.

  1. Pour into a temporary pot using your soil medium of choice, leaving an inch (2.5 cm) or so of room on top.
  2. Add enough water to moisten the soil without oversaturating it.
  3. Make an indent deep enough so the aerial roots and plant nodes are inside.
  4. Cover with the soil you pushed aside before.
  5. If your leaf and stem are on the larger side, feel free to add support for it to hang onto. Tying it to a wooden chopstick or small branch will do the trick.

Once you have your philodendron in the soil, the waiting game begins.

6. Wait for the Philodendron Root System To Grow

On average, it’ll take about three weeks to transfer your philodendron into its permanent pot.

While you wait, make sure the soil is well-watered and stays moist. Since your plant is still adjusting to its environment, choosing a spot with indirect sunlight will ensure it doesn’t fry in the heat.

Give the stem a very light tug to test if your philodendron is ready to be transplanted. If there’s resistance, that’s a good sign that the roots have taken hold. If the plant gives in too quickly, it may need more time.

7. Choose a Larger Pot for Your Philodendron

After you determine that your philodendron’s roots have grown sufficiently, it’s time to move them into a larger pot.

A good rule of thumb is to pick a pot slightly larger than its root ball, about 1-2 inches (2.5-5 centimeters) more in diameter. You’ll also want to ensure the pot has drainage holes on the bottom, which prevents your philodendron from becoming root-bound.

In terms of material, pots made of ceramic, clay, or terracotta perform best with this type of plant. These materials promote good airflow through the soil and help maintain a good moisture level.

8. Remove Dirt From the Philodendron Roots

Before moving your philodendron into a new pot, you’ll need to remove most soil from its roots. Doing so allows the roots to more easily access the nutrients from the fresh dirt.

You can heavily damage the roots if you’re too rough and stunt the plant’s growth. Removing as much soil as possible while minimizing damage to the roots is vital.

There are a few different ways to remove excess soil:

  • Gently shake the root ball and allow the dirt to fall off.
  • Use a soft paintbrush to sweep as much dirt off as possible.
  • Utilize some water to break up large clumps of soil.
  • Use a toothpick to dislodge smaller clumps of dirt.

Once most of the dirt is gone, it’s time to repot.

9. Repot Your Philodendron

Keep in mind that philodendrons are tropical plants and outgrow their pots quickly. You’ll have to report it semi-frequently depending on how well it grows.

A great way to tell if your philodendron is ready for repotting is to look at the pot’s drainage holes. If you see roots beginning to poke through, it’s time for a bigger pot!

The process is the same as step 5 – pour your choice of soil mix into the new pot and make enough room for your philodendron and its root ball. Cover with more dirt as needed.

Now that you’ve repotted your philodendron, it’s time to pick a suitable area for it to thrive. Geographical factors come into play here.

If you live in a warmer climate, such as Miami, Florida, your philodendron will thrive on indirect sunlight, preferably on a porch or under a canopy.

In colder climates, like Northern Washington State, you’ll want to keep your plant inside and exposed to as much sunlight as possible. Since philodendrons are tropical plants, they’ll need extra daylight to compensate for the lack of warmth.

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Philodendrons are hardy and low-maintenance plants that enliven indoor areas with broad green leaves. There’s no need to go out and spend money on another philodendron when you can create more yourself. A great way to multiply these tropical plants is to propagate them using the above methods.

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