Philodendrons are a beautiful addition to your home, and they’re super easy to care for compared to other house plant species. However, sometimes their environmental conditions can cause growth problems or the loss of leaves. When this happens, it leaves you scratching your head, wondering if the leaves will grow back.
Philodendron leaves will not grow back. If your plant has “leggy” growth, leaves won’t grow to fill those gaps, but you can prune it to encourage new growth. Cutting back the leggy vines and propagating them in the same pot will encourage fuller growth, as long as the growing conditions are ideal.
This article will explore what’s causing unhealthy growth from your philodendron, how to fix growth issues, and how to help them thrive with fuller growth.
Why Your Philodendron Is Looking Rough
To understand your philodendron needs, you must assess your unhappy plant first. When you’re trying to determine what your plant lacks, it’s essential to check the following:
- The leaves
- The soil
- The lighting condition
- The humidity
Plants typically show something wrong, such as the loss or discoloration of leaves, or maybe they’re growing with fewer leaves.
For philodendrons to grow fuller, they need ideal growing conditions. Philodendrons are tropical plants that thrive in high humidity, bright light, and moist soil. They adapt to their indoor surroundings but often need your help to get the most out of their environment.
In their native habitat, philodendrons are busy at work during photosynthesis. They use pores (called stomata) on their leaves to absorb the bright sunlight and air moisture. They also use leaves for breathing during cellular respiration and transpiration.
So, the leaves of plants have a critical role in their survival and health, especially for this type of plant. If the growing conditions for your philodendron don’t provide enough solar energy to maintain and create new growth, it won’t produce fresh leaves. As the plant grows, it’ll begin shedding leaves to direct energy needed elsewhere.
Some common philodendron problems include leggy growth and the loss of leaves, both of which I’ll cover in the next sections.
The Reason Your Philodendron Has Leggy Growth
“Leggy” is a term often used by indoor plant owners because it’s a common issue with houseplants. Plants that appear leggy means they’re growing long with less foliage than they should. Philodendrons are known to grow vines with spaced out leaves when they don’t receive the amount of sun exposure needed.
Even though philodendrons can survive with less than ideal sunlight, it’s crucial that they grow healthy vines.
These plants are versatile and can grow in low-lit to bright conditions. However, bright and indirect sunlight is what philodendrons prefer to thrive in their environment. Their leaves are sensitive to direct sun exposure, so if they’re placed in direct sunlight, their leaves will suffer from brown burn spots.
The Reason Your Philodendron Is Losing Leaves
A plant’s leaves can tell you a lot about its health. Leaves that are yellowing, drooping, and falling off can indicate a lack of sunlight, water, humidity, or a combination of these. Your philodendron can also lose leaves on the back side of the plant if you aren’t rotating it to get ample sunlight on all sides.
Philodendrons also love humidity and thrive with tropical levels at 70% to 90%. However, these humidity levels are also loved by mold and mildew, which is not good for your home. As long as you keep the indoor humidity level between 40% and 50%, your philodendron shouldn’t lose leaves from lacking moisture in the air.
To help with humidity closer to where your plant is placed, group your philodendron with several other plants that prefer moisture, or place a small humidifier next to your plant to obtain a more favorable humidity level.
How To Encourage Fuller Growth in Philodendrons
To encourage your philodendron to grow attractively fuller, you’ll need to help create a better atmosphere and environment for it to thrive in. Along with routine care and proper soil, philodendrons require specific light and humidity levels.
Provide Bright, Indirect Light
When you provide your philodendron with bright, indirect light as much as possible, you’ll see a considerable change in how healthy it grows. Lighting conditions are typically what causes your plant to lose leaves or grow with fewer leaves and appear leggy. Placing your plant in the right location can make a whole world of difference in nutrient uptake and healthy growth from more sunlight.
Locations next to windows are ideal, as is a brightly lit kitchen or bathroom, as the humidity is typically higher in those areas.
Light exposure should be available for all sides of the plant, so don’t forget to rotate your philodendron periodically.
Ensure the Soil Is Slightly Moist
These leafy guys love their soil to stay slightly moist to promote healthy growth and roots. The best way to water them is by bottom watering. When the bottom watering technique is used, the soil absorbs the water from the drainage holes on the bottom of the pot and distributes it evenly to the root system for healthy growth and spread of the roots.
It’s best to frequently check the top of the soil to see if watering is needed. Use your finger to poke down in the soil close to the pot wall. Watering is necessary if the soil isn’t moist when you reach your second knuckle.
Keeping your philodendron watered when needed will aid in overall growth and development with happy leaves and vines trailing down to the floor.
Provide a Humid Environment
Since philodendrons are tropical plants, they need higher humidity levels than your home provides. While you may not be able to give them 70% to 90% humidity, keeping it close to 50% will keep them happier than lower levels.
You can raise the humidity for your plants in a few different ways without causing mold and mildew growth issues in your home, including:
- Use a humidity tray.
- Group your plants together.
- Mist your plants often.
Keep Up With Routine Care
Don’t forget to continue with routine care while reviving your philodendron growth. Regular maintenance helps provide a better environment to keep your plants happy and on track with gorgeous development. It would help if you did these essential care chores throughout the year:
- Rotate the plant often. This is essential to ensure that all plant areas are exposed to sunlight and should be done often, typically when watering is needed.
- Water the plant when needed. Water is crucial to keep plants growing and healthy. Whether you’re top or bottom watering, you should check the soil weekly for dryness. Poke your finger in the soil, close to the wall of the planter. If it’s dry, your plant needs water.
- Prune and trim the plant regularly. This is encouraged to promote new growth and is typically best done in the springtime.
- Repot the philodendron every three months or so. This keeps nutrients available for your plants to break down into food for survival.
- Fertilize the plant when needed. This will provide a good boost of energy for your plants to thrive. Fertilizing is not necessary during the dormant months. And if you’ve repotted your philodendron within six weeks, hold off on fertilizing because it can cause an excess amount of nutrients in the soil, which will burn the roots and leaves.
Propagating Your Philodendron for Fuller Growth
If you’re looking for a bushy philodendron with beautifully full vines, you’ll need to follow the suggestions above and include propagating your trimmings into the same pot.
Propagation is when you create new plants from clippings or other parts of a parent plant. Propagating your philodendron is easy and can be done with the cuttings from pruning your plant. And since you’re having issues with fewer leaves, you should cut back your philodendron to promote new growth anyway, so why not take advantage of those clippings?
Here’s are some tips on propagating your philodendron to aid in bushier growth that will make you smile:
- Grab a pair of sharp shears and a cup or jar of water. Growing your clippings in water is super easy, and you won’t have to worry about keeping soil moist to encourage root growth. You can also see how big the roots are to ensure they’re at a healthy length to grow when transplanted into your philodendron pot.
- When trimming your philodendron, always clip below the fourth leaf from the base of the plant. The leaves of your plants grow out of nodes, and you want at least three leaves per cutting. Many nodes will have additional little bumps around them called baby roots, and philodendrons use these to attach and climb on their surroundings.
- Each cutting must have a leaf for propagating to work. Remove the bottom leaves, including the one on the node that will take root. Because the roots come from the nodes, trim up the small stem from where you cut to just under the node to prevent rotting as it sits in water or soil.
- Once you have some cuttings to root, you’ll have to prepare them before they’re submerged in water. If you have rooting hormone, roll the node you want to root in it before placing it in the water. If you don’t have a rooting hormone, cinnamon is said to heal the injury from cutting, which helps direct plant energy to root development instead of healing, and is applied the same way.
- Once you have your cuttings in a jar, root growth will take about a month. When your roots have reached at least one inch (3 cm) long, you can plant them in your philodendron planter and watch them grow. They’ll soon begin to develop new leaf growth and help your parent plant appear fuller and livelier.
Propagation is an easy way to grow more of your favorite plants or even give them away to friends and family.
The philodendron has gorgeous trailing heart-shaped leaves. So, it’s upsetting when you notice your plant is losing those beautiful leaves or looking leggy and slightly rough. While new leaves won’t grow to fill those empty spaces, there are some things you can do for your leafy (or not so leafy) guy to help with fuller, lush growth.
Ensure your philodendron has bright, indirect light for healthy (and less leggy) growth, and prune back your plant and propagate those cuttings to add to your existing plant to create fuller growth. Doing this will encourage your philodendron to thrive.