How to Propagate a Philodendron 2 Ways

Propagating a philodendron is an easy way to get new plants from your existing philodendrons. There are two main methods for propagating philodendrons – stem cuttings and air layering. With a bit of care and patience, you can grow an entirely new plant.

What You’ll Need

  • A healthy parent philodendron plant
  • Sharp, clean pruning shears or knife
  • Rooting hormone (optional)
  • Small pots
  • Well-draining potting mix
  • Clear plastic bags (for air layering)

Taking Stem Cuttings

Taking stem cuttings is the most common way to propagate philodendrons. Here’s how to do it:

Choose a Healthy Stem

Select a healthy stem on your philodendron that has at least 3 leaves on it. Avoid woody stems that don’t have any leaves. Newer stems with green growth have the best chance of rooting.

Make a Clean Cut

Use sharp, clean pruning shears or a knife to cut the stem just below a node. Nodes are the small bumps on the stem where leaves emerge. Make sure to get a clean cut rather than crushing or tearing the stem.

Trim the Leaves

Trim off the bottom-most leaves from your cutting so that you have 1-2 leaves left on the top. This helps reduce moisture loss while the cutting tries to form roots.

Apply Rooting Hormone (Optional)

You can dip the end of the cutting in rooting hormone powder. This contains plant growth hormones that can help promote faster root growth. However, philodendrons will root without it.

Pot in Mix

Plant the stem cutting in a small pot filled with well-draining potting mix. Make sure the soil is moist but not sopping wet.

Provide Warmth and Humidity

Place the potted cutting in a warm spot (65-75°F) with indirect light. Covering it with a plastic bag helps provide humidity. Avoid direct hot sun which can scorch tender new growth.

Wait for Roots

Be patient as it can take 4-8 weeks for philodendron cuttings to form roots. Gently tug on the stem to see if roots have formed before fully watering. Once rooted, remove the plastic bag and treat like a normal philodendron plant.

Air Layering Your Philodendron

Air layering involves inducing roots to form on part of a plant while it’s still attached to the parent plant. Here’s how:

Select a Healthy Stem

Find a healthy stem on your philodendron that is at least pencil-width thick. It should have 1-3 leaves toward the top.

Wound the Stem

Use a sharp knife to remove 1-2 inches of outer stem tissue near the middle of the chosen stem. This wound encourages root growth.

Wrap in Medium

Wrap moist sphagnum moss or coco coir around the wounded area and secure with plastic wrap. This forms the rooting zone.

Enclose in Plastic

Enclose the rooting zone fully in a clear plastic bag and seal it closed. This maintains humidity for root growth.

Wait for Root Formation

Keep the area warm, out of direct sun. Check after 1-2 months for plentiful root growth in the rooting medium before cutting off the new plant.

Sever the Stem

Once the air layered stem has abundant roots, use pruners to sever it below the root ball. Plant the new philodendron as you would any new plant.

Caring for New Philodendron Plants

Once your philodendron cuttings or air layers are established plants, care for them as you would the parent plant:

  • Water thoroughly when the top inch of soil is dry. Avoid overwatering.
  • Provide bright, indirect light. Some direct morning sun is ok.
  • Keep temps between 65°F-80°F. Cooler in winter.
  • Humidity around 50-60% is ideal. Mist leaves or use a pebble tray.
  • Fertilize monthly in spring and summer with balanced houseplant fertilizer.
  • Repot when rootbound into pots only slightly larger. Use well-draining potting mix.

With the proper care, your new philodendron plants will grow quickly. The propagation process lets you expand your plant collection for free!

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the best way to propagate a philodendron?

Stem cuttings are the easiest and most foolproof way to propagate philodendrons. Just be sure to start with a healthy stem with leaves, use a clean cut, and provide warmth and humidity as it roots.

How long does it take for philodendron cuttings to root?

Rooting time can vary, but expect philodendron cuttings to form roots in 4-8 weeks. Check for root growth before fully watering.

Can I propagate a philodendron in water?

While some plants root well in water, it’s not recommended for philodendrons. They tend to rot easily in water. Use a potting mix and provide humidity for the best success rate.

What causes a philodendron propagation to fail?

Yellowing leaves, mushy stems, and eventual death of the cutting means it didn’t root properly. This usually occurs from keeping the cutting too wet or situating it in too much bright light before it has roots.

How do I air layer a philodendron?

Air layering involves wounding part of the stem while it’s attached, wrapping the area in moist medium, sealing in plastic, and waiting 1-2 months for roots before severing the new plant.


Propagating philodendrons through stem cuttings or air layering is an easy, rewarding way to expand your houseplant collection. In just a few months, you can create new plants from your existing specimens. Follow the steps outlined above, provide plenty of warmth and humidity, and be patient as your cuttings root and grow. With proper care, you’ll have beautiful new philodendron plants to enjoy.