How to Make a Philodendron Bushy?

Philodendron
Philodendron (Source: Unsplash)

Philodendron is a fast-growing plant that spreads rapidly but may leave significant gaps behind, making your plant look malnourished and skinny.

Remember, Philodendron hederaceum var. oxycardium or Philodendron Brasil is a tropical vine that proliferates in the wild but may not do well in domestic conditions.

To get the same bushier effect in your home, dictate the spread and length of the vines using the following method.

Prune, Fertilize, and Sunlight: Occasional pruning will dictate the foliage spread, fertilizing will boost its appearance, and adequate sunlight will boost its health.

Listen to this article here:

Bushier Philodendron Plant
Bushier Philodendron Plant (Source: Unsplash.com)

Within a matter of a week, you will start seeing bushier green foliage in your Philodendron.

However, indulging in wrong pruning techniques may set it back or permanently damage it.

Can You Make Philodendron Bushier without Damaging the Plant?

Indeed, you can!

From pruning and fertilizing to providing sunlight, giving too much or too little of anything can accidentally damage your plant.

Despite your good intentions to make them bushier, you could set back your plant or damage the new growth altogether.

Hence, always remember these points when trying to make your Philodendron bushier.

  • Never leave your plant outdoors in the frost.
  • Avoid pruning in cold weather when the plant is suffering from frost damage.
  • Sterilize your pruning equipment beforehand to prevent bacterial infection on the fresh cuts.
  • Stop overfeeding your plant with fertilizer that may choke the plant root or cause root burn.
  • Stop placing your plant under direct sunlight.
  • Find a cozy place such as patios or windows with enough indirect sunlight.

Now that you know what could damage your Philodendrons let us delve deeper into making your plant bushier.

How to Make Philodendron Bushy?

Since this is a vine plant, you want to make sure that you dictate the growing foliage to make it bushier but lengthy.

Prune, prune, prune! Fertilize with mild plant feed every month in spring and summer! Provide four hours of indirect sunlight every day!

It is easy said than done. Here are the three methods in detail.

1. Prune Philodendron Periodically

Philodendron enjoys occasional trimming so it will not become too large for its surrounding.

Pruning gives it a shape that helps keep it bushy; otherwise, the stems will spread all around, making them look lanky.

Pruning overhanging stems and yellowing old leaves will contain its proliferating size and encourage new growth to produce bushier foliage.

Pruning plant leaves
Pruning plant leaves (Source: Unsplash.com)

Decide to prune your plant every month during the growing season, spring and summer, to encourage proliferation, and once in the fall before the onset of winter to avoid frost damages.

Here is how you can prune your plant to contain its size.

Step 1: Assemble the Tools

Get proper tools before you start pruning your plant.

A pruning shear, hand trowel, and gloves are a must. You can use standard scissors as well, but make sure they are not too big to handle.

Step 2: Sterilize the Tools

Sterilize all of your tools with regular rubbing alcohol before using them on the plant. Repeat the process after pruning as well.

Sterilizing the tools will prevent bacterial infection on the fresh cuts.

Step 3: Prune the Stems

Philodendrons stems can grow to 18 inches or more, which will easily take up the room space.

To make your plant look fuller.

  • Start with trimming the outgrowing stems that are falling.
  • Remove lanky stems with few leaves.
  • Ensure to cut just below the lead node or where the joints meet the plant’s central crown to prevent setbacks on the new leaf or stem growth.
  • For stems descending below the soil, trim them at the soil line.

Step 4: Prune the Leaves

Cutting away damaged leaves will encourage the plant to supply nutrients to other areas such as new growth and stems.

  • Trim away damaged leaves, including yellow, brown, or defoliated petals.
  • Cut just above the joints where another leaf will propagate.
  • In case you have trimmed healthy leaves and stems, consider propagating them in another potting mix.

Step 5: Provide Aftercare

Once done, do not forget to water your plant to help reduce the stress of pruning.

As a rule of thumb, water once a week to allow the topsoil to dry out between waterings.

It’s also essential to place your plant in an appropriate place without damp conditions. Consider keeping it in medium to bright indirect sunlight, such as close to windows, but avoid placing it in direct sunlight to prevent leaf burn.

Pro Tip: Avoid pruning your Philodendron in winter to prevent further damages caused by the frost. Resume pruning after the frost has already passed.

2. Fertilize Philodendron Every Month

Philodendron enjoys occasional boost from fertilization. Boost it with appropriate plant feed regularly to encourage bushier growth.

Here is how to fertilizer your Philodendron adequately for the desired growth.

Step 1: Decide the Plant Feed

Use compost or a solution made using liquid seaweed as an organic method to fertilize your plant.

Alternatively, you can rely on indoor plant food such as Miracle-Gro® Plant Food for an instant boost.

Step 2: Mix the Solution

Make a solution by mixing the plant feed with water and pour it into a can.

Note: Ensure to use water-soluble plant feed for indoor plants like Philodendron that need an instant nutrient boost for proliferation.

Step 3: Apply the Solution

There is no need for a sprayer when you can pour the solution directly on the soil around the plant but keep it away from stems and leaves.

The plant roots will quickly take up the soil’s nutrients without risking leaf and stem burn from the fertilizer.

Step 4: Make it an Occasion

Mix water and fertilizer into a solution and pour it on the soil every month during spring and summer. It will help expedite the proliferation process of the new stem and leaves.

Fertilizer the plant every six to eight weeks during autumn and winter to prevent excess fertilization and root burns.

Quick Tip: To fix pale and yellowing leaves caused by a lack of nutrients, use mild fertilizer rich in micronutrients like calcium and magnesium.

3. Expose Philodendron to Indirect Sunlight

Philodendrons do manage to grow without sunlight, but that could prove to be detrimental to their health.

Although it may grow at a much slower pace in shades, it definitely would not look healthier or bushier.

For healthier and bushier plant growth, ensure to provide an adequate amount of sun, at least 4 hours every day.

However, avoid keeping them directly under the sunlight, which can burn the plant leaves.

Sunlight hitting the leaves
Sunlight hitting the leaves (Source: Unsplash.com)

Place the plant in a sunny location such as patios or windows that receive a significant amount of indirect sunlight for an appropriate sunlight intake.

But, here’s a catch!

If your plant leaves started turning yellow, it means it is getting too much light, and if the stems are leggy with several inches between the leaves, the plant is not getting enough light.

You can quickly mitigate these problems while ensuring the plant gets enough light by providing at least four hours of sunlight every day.

Note: Philodendrons are sensitive to cold and frost, so take them inside the house in winter and use fluorescent grow lights to compensate for the sunlight.

Tips for Caring for Philodendron

Here are some handy tips for caring for your favorite plant.

1. Regulate the Environment

Always place plants in indirect sunlight where the temperature is warm but less hot.

Provide mild to warm temperatures to encourage healthy growth.

Ensure the temperature is between 65°F and 85°F with some humidity in the air for Philodendrons.

2. Water Accordingly

The water required for Philodendron is similar to other indoor plants.

Water every 1-2 weeks in the growing seasons, spring and summer. Allow the top inch (2.5 cm) of soil to dry out between watering.

Water until the liquid clears out of the drainage hole. Discard any excess water from the saucer.

Keep watering to a minimum (3-4 weeks) when it is cold.

3. Provide a Support

Vining plants like Philodendron require a post or supporting structure to climb; otherwise, the lengthening stems will fall.

Use long sticks, stakes, wood cages, or trellises to support the plant’s vertical growth to train it to grow upwards.

You can make these at home using spare wood or metals or buy them on Amazon.

Alternatively, you can keep your plant in a hanging pot to let the growth fall down naturally.

4. Take Special Care in Winter

Philodendrons are sensitive to winter and frost. When left outside, the plant could suffer frost damages.

To ensure your plant does not suffer from cold, bring them inside the house after the summer has ended to prevent frost damage.

Avoid pruning your plant when the frost damages are visible such as discolored or wilted leaves.

Once the frost has passed, ensure to prune away frost-damages leaves and stems to encourage new growth.

For bushier growth, ensure to prune your plant during spring, when the plant is blooming, and autumn, when it slows down before winter.

Bushier Philodendron foliage
Bushier Philodendron foliage (Source: Unsplash.com)

To Sum It Up

Philodendrons are very rewarding houseplants, as they will add appeal to your rooms with their long and bushier foliage.

However, when it comes to making the plant bushier, there are different factors that you need to keep in mind.

  • Prune long stems and old leaves occasionally.
  • Provide high-quality mild plant food every month.
  • Water every 1-2 weeks.
  • Provide at least four hours of indirect sunlight every day.

Once you start following these as a routine, your Philodendron will become bushier with lush-green foliage at no time!

You might also be intrested to read about the ornamental plant : Philodendron Gabby

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