how to propagate philodendron in water

Propagate Philodendron in Water Step-by-Step

Propagating a Philodendron in water is a straightforward and efficient method to multiply these popular houseplants. The process involves cutting a section of the plant’s stem with at least one or two nodes (the points on the stem where leaves attach), and then suspending the cutting in water until it develops roots. This method allows for direct observation of root growth and is especially rewarding for beginners and experienced gardeners alike. The key to success lies in choosing a healthy stem, making a clean cut, and providing the right conditions for root development.

Selecting the Cutting

  • Healthy Parent Plant: Start with a healthy Philodendron plant. Look for stems that are vigorous and free of any signs of disease or pest infestation.
  • Node Identification: Identify a section of the stem that includes at least one node, as roots grow from these nodes. A section with two nodes increases the chances of successful rooting.
  • Leaf Consideration: Ensure the cutting has at least one leaf to sustain growth through photosynthesis, but not so many that it puts undue stress on the stem to support them before roots have developed.

Preparing for Propagation

  • Tools and Materials: Use a sharp, clean pair of scissors or a knife to make the cut. This reduces the risk of infection and ensures a clean cut that heals more efficiently.
  • Cutting Technique: Make a cut about a quarter inch below a node. A clean, angled cut increases the surface area for root growth and helps the cutting absorb more water.
  • Water Selection: Use room temperature water, preferably rainwater or distilled water, as tap water may contain chlorine and other chemicals that can hinder root growth. Change the water every few days to keep it fresh and oxygenated.

The Propagation Process

  1. Place in Water: Immediately after cutting, place the stem cutting in a glass or jar of water. Ensure the node is submerged, but the leaves should remain above the water surface to prevent rot.
  2. Light and Temperature: Position the jar in a location with bright, indirect sunlight. Too much direct sunlight can overheat the water and damage the cutting. A warm, stable temperature between 65°F and 75°F (18°C and 24°C) is ideal for encouraging root growth.
  3. Observation and Care: Monitor the water level and quality, topping up or changing as necessary. Roots should begin to appear within a few weeks. Be patient, as some cuttings take longer than others to root.


  • Root Development: Once the roots are several inches long, the Philodendron cutting is ready to be transplanted into soil. This usually takes 4-6 weeks but can vary.
  • Potting: Choose a pot with drainage holes and fill it with a well-draining potting mix suitable for Philodendrons. Gently place the rooted cutting in the pot and firm the soil around the roots.
  • Aftercare: Water the newly potted Philodendron thoroughly and continue to keep it in indirect light. Maintain consistent moisture in the soil, but avoid overwatering.


  • Select a healthy cutting from a vigorous Philodendron plant, ensuring it has at least one node and one leaf.
  • Use clean, sharp tools to make an angled cut below a node for optimal root growth.
  • Submerge the node in room temperature water, using rainwater or distilled water to avoid chemicals found in tap water.
  • Change the water regularly to maintain freshness and oxygenation, promoting healthy root development.
  • Place the cutting in bright, indirect sunlight and at a warm temperature to encourage rooting.
  • Transplant the cutting once roots have grown several inches long, typically within 4-6 weeks, into a pot with well-draining soil.
  • Provide aftercare with consistent moisture and indirect light to support the transition to soil.

How to Propagate Philodendron in Water

💡 Did You Know?

  1. Origin and Diversity: Philodendrons are native to the rainforests of Central and South America. There are over 400 species of philodendrons, and they belong to the Araceae family, which includes other familiar plants like pothos and peace lilies.
  2. Aerial Roots: Many philodendron species develop aerial roots, which help them attach to trees and other structures in their natural habitat. These roots can also be used for support when grown indoors or as decorative accents.
  3. Leaf Shapes: Philodendron leaves come in various shapes and sizes. Some have large, lobed leaves, while others feature slender, heart-shaped, or even pinnate leaves. The diversity in leaf shapes makes them attractive to collectors.
  4. Air Purification: Like many houseplants, philodendrons can help improve indoor air quality by filtering out toxins such as formaldehyde, benzene, and xylene from the air.
  5. Easy Care: Philodendrons are known for their low-maintenance care requirements. They can thrive in a variety of lighting conditions, from low to bright indirect light, and they tolerate occasional neglect, making them suitable for both beginner and experienced gardeners.
  6. Varieties: Some popular philodendron varieties include the Philodendron hederaceum (Heartleaf Philodendron), Philodendron scandens (Sweetheart Plant), Philodendron bipinnatifidum (Split-Leaf Philodendron), and Philodendron selloum (Tree Philodendron).
  7. Toxicity: Many philodendron species contain calcium oxalate crystals, which can be harmful if ingested. Keep them out of reach of pets and children to prevent accidental ingestion.
  8. Climbing or Cascading: Depending on the species, philodendrons can either be climbing vines or trailing plants. Climbing varieties may benefit from a support structure or trellis, while trailing types look great in hanging baskets.
  9. Propagation: Philodendrons are relatively easy to propagate. You can propagate them through stem cuttings, air layering, or by separating mature plants into smaller sections.
  10. Symbolism: In some cultures, philodendrons are associated with feelings of love, devotion, and affection. They are often given as gifts to express these sentiments.
  11. Hybridization: Due to their popularity, many hybrid philodendron varieties have been developed over the years, resulting in an array of unique foliage patterns and colors.
  12. Longevity: With proper care, philodendrons can live for several years, making them enduring and rewarding houseplants.

When to Propagate Philodendron

Propagating philodendron at the right time is crucial for successful growth. The best time to propagate philodendron is during the spring and summer months when the plant is in its active growth phase. The warm weather and longer daylight hours provide optimal conditions for root development and overall plant health. Pruning and propagation are also recommended during this time as it allows the mother plant to recover and redirect its energy towards new growth.

However, it is still possible to propagate philodendron in the fall and winter, albeit with some considerations. The cooler temperatures and shorter daylight hours can slow down root development, resulting in a longer waiting period for the cuttings to establish roots. It’s important to provide extra care and patience when propagating during these seasons, ensuring the cuttings receive adequate warmth and light.

Regardless of the season, it’s crucial to select cuttings from a healthy and mature philodendron plant. This ensures the best chances of successful propagation while avoiding any potential harm to the mother plant or the spread of diseases and pests.

Season Advantages
  • Optimal conditions for root development
  • Active growth phase aids in faster establishment
  • Opportunity for pruning and propagation simultaneously
  • Possible, but slower root development
  • Requires extra care and patience
  • Provides an opportunity for year-round propagation

Propagation Methods for Trailing Philodendrons

Trailing philodendrons, such as the heart-leaf philodendron, velvet leaf philodendron, Philodendron ‘Brasil’, and Philodendron brandtianum, can be propagated using both water and soil methods. Let me explain these methods in detail:

Water Propagation of Philodendron

For water propagation, you will need healthy cuttings with several leaves. Cut the stems just below a leaf node and place them in a glass or jar filled with water. Make sure the leaf nodes are submerged in the water.

Now, find a warm spot with bright, indirect light to keep the jar. This will provide the ideal conditions for rooting. Over time, roots will start growing from the nodes on the stem. Once these roots are at least one inch long, your cuttings are ready to be planted in soil.

Soil Propagation of Philodendron

If you prefer soil propagation, start by taking long vines of your trailing philodendron and chop them into smaller segments. Each segment should have one leaf. Remember, the node side of the segment should be planted down.

Pre-moisten the soil and create holes for the segments. Gently place the segments in the holes, covering the nodes with soil. Keep the soil moist for a few weeks until the roots establish.

Propagation Method Benefits
Water Propagation
  • Easy to monitor root growth
  • No risk of overwatering
  • Can be visually appealing as a decorative piece in water
  • Simple method for beginners
Soil Propagation
  • Roots establish faster in soil
  • Allows for better nutrient absorption
  • Provides stability for the plant
  • Supports overall plant health

Both methods have their advantages, and you can choose the one that suits your preferences and the resources you have available. Now that you know how to propagate trailing philodendrons, it’s time to get started and expand your collection!

Propagation Methods for Non-Trailing Philodendrons

When it comes to propagating non-trailing philodendrons like Philodendron ‘Birkin’, Philodendron ‘Congo Rojo’, and Philodendron ‘Pink Princess’, there are two primary methods: division and stem cutting.


The division method is the least invasive way to propagate non-trailing philodendrons. It involves separating offshoots or new growth from the parent plant and repotting them in larger containers.

Stem Cutting

Another effective method for propagating non-trailing philodendrons is through stem cutting. Start by selecting a stem cutting with a few nodes and aerial roots. Place the cutting in a jar of room-temperature water, making sure that the nodes are submerged. Remember to change the water every few days to keep it fresh.

Once the roots of the stem cutting reach a length of at least one inch, it is ready to be planted in moist, well-draining soil. This will provide the necessary support and nutrients for the new plant to thrive.

Propagation Method Steps Time to Root Development
Division 1. Choose offshoots from the parent plant
2. Gently separate offshoots
3. Repot offshoots in larger containers
Variable (depends on individual plant and care)
Stem Cutting 1. Take a stem cutting with nodes and aerial roots
2. Place cutting in jar of room-temperature water
3. Change water every few days
4. Plant cutting in moist, well-draining soil
Variable (roots should be at least one inch long)

By utilizing these propagation methods, plant enthusiasts can expand their collection of non-trailing philodendrons and enjoy the beauty of these stunning plants in multiple areas of their homes.

Propagation Methods for Non-Trailing Philodendrons

Continue reading to discover more tips on caring for propagated philodendrons and the benefits of potting versus propagating in water.

Tips for Successful Water Propagation

When it comes to propagating philodendron in water, there are a few key tips to keep in mind for successful results. By following these techniques, you can ensure that your cuttings thrive and grow into healthy plants.

  1. Choose healthy stems: Select stems that are healthy and free from any signs of disease or damage. Look for stems with several leaves, as these will have a higher chance of success.
  2. Cut below a leaf node: Use a clean and sharp pair of pruning shears to cut the stem just below a leaf node. This is where new roots will emerge, so it’s crucial to make a clean cut.
  3. Submerge the cuttings: Place the cuttings in a jar or glass of water, ensuring that the leaf nodes are fully submerged. This allows the roots to develop properly and absorb the necessary nutrients.
  4. Find the right location: Put the jar in a warm area with bright, indirect light. Avoid direct sunlight, as it can heat up the water and cause damage to the cuttings.
  5. Change the water regularly: Keep an eye on the water quality and change it regularly if it becomes cloudy or stagnant. Fresh water is essential for healthy root development.
  6. Patience is key: It takes time for roots to grow, so be patient and allow nature to take its course. Avoid disturbing the cuttings or trying to rush the process.
  7. Transition to soil: Once the roots are at least one inch long, it’s time to transfer the cuttings to soil. Gently plant them in a well-draining potting mix and continue to care for them as you would with established philodendron plants.

By following these tips, you can master the art of water propagation and enjoy the rewarding experience of watching your philodendron cuttings transform into thriving plants.

tips for successful philodendron water propagation

Tips for Successful Soil Propagation

When it comes to propagating philodendron in soil, there are a few key tips to keep in mind for successful results. Whether you’re working with trailing philodendrons like the heart-leaf philodendron or non-trailing varieties such as Philodendron ‘Birkin’ or ‘Congo Rojo’, these guidelines apply to all soil propagation efforts.

  • Choose long vines: Select healthy, long vines for your cuttings. This ensures that there’s enough stem to work with and increases the chances of successful root development.
  • Cut into smaller segments: Using clean, sharp shears or a knife, cut the long vines into smaller segments. Each segment should have one leaf and at least one node, which is the part of the stem where the roots will develop.
  • Plant with the node side down: Pre-moisten the soil to create a moist but not wet environment for root growth. Plant the segments in the soil with the node side down, burying it gently to ensure good contact with the soil.
  • Consider using rooting hormone: To give your cuttings an extra boost, you can use a rooting hormone. Commercial rooting hormones or even a dusting of cinnamon on the cut end of the stem can promote root growth.
  • Place in indirect sunlight: Find a spot with bright, indirect sunlight for your newly planted cuttings. This will provide the necessary light for photosynthesis while avoiding direct exposure that could damage the developing roots.
  • Maintain moist soil: Keep the soil consistently moist, but be cautious not to overwater. Waterlogging can lead to root rot and hinder the development of healthy roots. Monitor the moisture levels regularly and adjust your watering accordingly.
  • Patience is key: It takes time for new growth and roots to appear, so be patient during the propagation process. Typically, after a few weeks, you can expect to see signs of new growth, indicating that your soil propagation is successful.

By following these tips, you’ll increase your chances of successful philodendron soil propagation. Remember to provide the right environmental conditions, choose the right cuttings, and be patient as you wait for new growth to emerge. Happy propagating!

Comparison of Water Propagation and Soil Propagation Methods

Factors Water Propagation Soil Propagation
Root Development Roots develop in water, but may be less robust. Roots develop directly in the soil, providing stability and optimal nutrient absorption.
Growth Rate Initial growth may be slower compared to soil propagation. Roots develop faster, leading to quicker plant growth.
Long-Term Health Can be kept in water indefinitely, but growth may not be as optimal as in soil. Allows for better long-term health and growth due to the presence of necessary nutrients in soil.
Visual Appeal Can be visually appealing as cuttings grow roots in a glass or jar. Planting in soil offers a more aesthetically pleasing look with a fully potted plant.

Successful Philodendron Soil Propagation

Care for Propagated Philodendron

After successfully propagating your philodendron cuttings in soil, it’s important to provide proper care to ensure their growth and development. Here are some essential tips to help you care for your newly propagated philodendron:

  1. Watering: When you first plant the cuttings in soil, make sure to water them thoroughly, until the soil is evenly moist. Maintain this level of moisture for the first week or so, as it will help the roots establish themselves. Avoid overwatering, as this can lead to root rot.
  2. Lighting: Place your newly propagated philodendron in a location where it can receive bright, indirect light. Avoid exposing the plant to direct sunlight, as it can scorch the leaves. If natural light is limited, consider supplementing with a grow light to provide adequate lighting.
  3. Temperature and Humidity: Philodendrons thrive in warm and humid conditions. Aim to maintain a temperature between 65°F to 85°F (18°C to 29°C) and a humidity level of around 50% to 60%. If the air in your home is dry, you can increase humidity by placing a tray of water near the plant or using a humidifier.
  4. Fertilizing: Once your propagated philodendron has settled into its new pot, you can start fertilizing it. Use a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted to half strength and apply it every four to six weeks during the growing season. Be cautious not to overfertilize, as it can cause damage to the plant.
  5. Pruning: Regular pruning is essential for maintaining the shape and health of your philodendron. As the plant grows, remove any yellowing or dead leaves to promote new growth. You can also trim back leggy vines to encourage bushier growth.

By following these care tips, you can ensure the successful growth and development of your newly propagated philodendron. With time and proper care, your philodendron will flourish, adding beauty to your indoor space.

Care Summary for Propagated Philodendron

Aspect Care Tips
Watering Thoroughly water the cuttings upon planting and keep the soil evenly moist for the first week. Avoid overwatering.
Lighting Place the plant in bright, indirect light. Avoid direct sunlight.
Temperature and Humidity Maintain a temperature between 65°F to 85°F (18°C to 29°C) and a humidity level of 50% to 60%.
Fertilizing Use a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted to half strength every four to six weeks during the growing season.
Pruning Regularly remove yellowing or dead leaves and trim back leggy vines to promote bushier growth.

By providing the right care, your propagated philodendron will thrive and become a beautiful addition to your indoor plant collection.

Potting vs Propagating in Water

When it comes to propagating philodendron, there are two popular methods: potting the cuttings in soil or keeping them in water. While both methods can be successful, there are advantages to potting the propagated philodendron in soil.

Philodendron plants thrive in soil because it provides the necessary nutrients and stability for their growth. When we pot the propagated cuttings in soil, it allows for better root development, which in turn promotes the overall health and vigor of the plant.

However, if you prefer the charming windowsill propagation method where you can watch roots grow in water, you can keep the cuttings in water indefinitely. Just keep in mind that although the plant can survive, it may not grow as well as it would in soil. Soil provides the optimal conditions for philodendron plants to thrive, making it the recommended choice for better outcomes.

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