Heartleaf Philodendron is known for its charming heart-shaped leaves and beautiful trailing vines. This perennial plant is native to Central and South America and has become a popular houseplant since it’s so easy to grow indoors.
Heartleaf Philodendron needs regular pruning to keep it looking tidy, which makes it the perfect candidate for propagation. Propagating stem cuttings allows you to grow a whole new plant from the old one. You can use this new growth to fill out your current vine, or start a new plant in its own pot! I personally like to propagate new plants and give them away as gifts.
In this article, we’ll teach you how to propagate this houseplant yourself. There are two ways to propagate Heartleaf Philodendrons, you can either root a cutting in water or root a cutting in a pot of soil.
Where Do You Cut to Propagate?
Taking a pair of shears to your beloved plant can be scary! Thankfully, Heartleaf Philodendrons provide lots of stems that can be used for propagating. Even if you mess up the first time, there will be many other points from which to take a cutting.
Find the area on your Philodendron where a leaf meets a stem. This is called the “node”. We cut at this area because this is where roots tend to grow the fastest.
Cut away a section of the stem just above the node. If you cut below the node, your plant will be left with a long piece of stem that can no longer grow. This excess is prone to rotting.
To propagate a Heartleaf Philodendron, you only need one leaf with one node. So after removing a stem with multiple leaves (and nodes), you can divide it up into single leaf cuttings.
How Do You Propagate Heartleaf Philodendron in Water?
Propagating Philodendron plants in water is the most common method. There’s just something about being able to see those roots grow in real-time! For this method you’ll need the following tools:
- A glass jar
- Scissors or pruning shears
Step 1: Take a Cutting
Look for stems that are green and have multiple leaves. The healthier the stem, the better chance your cutting has of being successfully propagated.
As mentioned before, prune above the node to keep the original stem growing. Your cutting should include one node and one leaf. Trim away any excess stem from your cutting, but be careful not to cut the node itself.
Step 2: Place Cutting in Water
Fill your glass jar with water – you can use tap water or distilled if you have it.
Submerge the node of the Philodendron into the water. Make sure to keep the leaf above water.
Step 3: Place Jar in a Bright Area
Place the jar on a windowsill or counter where it will be exposed to indirect sunlight. Just make sure the area is warm and not drafty.
Top up the water when you notice it’s getting lower, or if it starts to get cloudy. Then, wait for roots to grow!
How Long Do Philodendron Cuttings Take to Root in Water?
It takes about 2-3 weeks to start seeing roots grow from your Philodendron cutting. Once the roots are 1-2 inches (2.5-5 cm) long, you can either transfer your Philodendron into soil or keep growing it in water.
Uniquely, Philodendrons can live in water indefinitely, they just won’t grow very big.
Can I Propagate Philodendron in Soil?
Another method of propagating Heartleaf Philodendrons is in soil. Propagating in soil requires a bit more attention to ensure the roots grow, but the results will be the same!
Here’s how to propagate a Heartleaf Philodendron in soil:
Step 1: Fill a Pot with Soil
Choose an appropriate sized pot for the number of stems you are propagating. It’s usually best to plant several cuttings, as not all of them will survive. So, pick a small to medium sized pot.
You can use regular potting soil. Just ensure that the soil and your pot have good drainage. Choose a pot with drainage holes in the bottom, and a saucer to collect excess water.
Step 2: Take a Cutting
Take a cutting from your existing Heartleaf Philodendron. You can cut away an entire 4-6 inch (10-15 cm) stem if you plan to use multiple cuttings. Make sure you trim away any excess stem above and below the node before planting.
Step 3: Bury the Node in Soil
You’ll want to bury the node at least 1 inch beneath the soil. Make sure it is buried deep enough that it will not tip over. If you need to, you can even use a stick to help prop up the cutting for the first few weeks.
Step 4: Place Pot in a Bright Area and Water Regularly
Place the pot in an area of your home that gets lots of indirect sunlight and warmth. Make sure you water the soil regularly and evenly.
Within 3-4 weeks, your cutting should have roots. Look out for tiny leaves as they sprout from the soil!
Is It Better to Propagate in Water or Soil?
Both methods have their pros and cons.
It only takes 2-3 weeks for roots to form in water, versus 3-4 weeks in soil. Water propagation also requires less effort since you don’t have to worry about watering.
However, plants propagated in soil tend to have thicker roots. That’s because the roots have had to reach to get their water from the soil. Water roots don’t need to do this, so they grow much finer.
Because of their fine roots, plants propagated in water often have a hard time transitioning to soil. It’s common for a cutting to not survive this transfer. That’s why it’s recommended that you root and transfer several cuttings at once.
So if you’re strictly looking at plant survival, soil propagation will have better results.
How Do I Know If My Cutting is Rooted?
When propagating in soil, you can’t see the roots growing beneath the surface. So how are you supposed to know if your propagation is successful?
If leaves start growing, you know that the roots have taken hold. But this can take weeks to occur. So, the best way to know if your cutting is rooted is to give the stem a gentle tug. If you feel resistance, your cutting has roots!
If you want to see the roots grow in soil, try planting your cuttings in clear plastic bottles. Then once you know the roots are growing, you can transfer them to a proper pot.
Why Are My Cuttings Not Rooting?
If it’s been several weeks and you still have no sign of roots, something may have gone wrong in the propagation process. Let’s look at a few of the most common problems.
Too Much Water
When propagating in soil, it’s a common mistake to overwater your pot. When roots get waterlogged, they start to rot.
Too much water can also be due to improper drainage. This is possible if your soil mix is too heavy and retains too much water. If you’re not having any luck with regular potting soil, try mixing in some perlite.
Not Enough Water
Unfortunately, not enough water can also prevent your cuttings from rooting. Cuttings are very susceptible to drying out. This is because they don’t yet have roots to help them absorb water. A good way to improve moisture without overwatering is by creating a humid environment. You can do this by placing a plastic bag over your cutting and placing it in a warm area of your home.
Made an Improper Cut
If you try to propagate from the wrong cutting, roots will not form. One common mistake is to try and propagate solely from a leaf. Only certain plants can grow roots from their leaves, such as African violets.
Heartleaf Philodendrons grow roots from their nodes. So, ensure your cutting has a leaf and a node.
Planted Too Soon
This is a common issue with water propagation. As eager as you may be to see your new plant take shape, you should let roots grow to the required 1-2 inches (2.5-5 cm) before planting in soil. If you transfer your cuttings before this point, the roots may not be healthy enough to survive in soil.
If you’re not having luck transferring water roots to soil, you can try slowly acclimatizing the roots first. To do this, gradually add soil to the water up until the time of transfer.
Vine plants like the Heartleaf Philodendron are a good way for beginner gardeners to start experimenting with propagation. They produce so much foliage that it’s easy to take multiple cuttings. And, it doesn’t take much time or effort to get those cuttings to start producing roots.
To propagate Heartleaf Philodendron in water, all you need to do is submerge a cutting with a node in a jar of water. Keep the jar in a bright, warm area of your home and you should start to see roots form in 2-3 weeks. To propagate in soil, bury the node of the cutting in a small pot of soil. Keep the soil moist and in a bright location, and roots will form in 3-4 weeks.
Propagating is all about trial and error, so you should experiment to find out which method you prefer!