Help! How to cut back Philo Selloum?

beverlyflaAugust 22, 2013

I have this posted in Florida Gardening, but I thought someone on this forum might be able to help.

My lovely $9 philo purchased 6 years ago is chasing me out of my courtyard. I trim back damaged leaves, but it keeps getting taller, and I can barely see out my office window. Can I cut the stem to the ground & know that it will once again grow leaves even though there are aerial roots coming off the stem?
Is there a way to cut the stem off or other parts of the plant and successfully transplant those parts in other locations around the house? What is that yellow tube hanging off the base of the plant? There's one of these that fell off and is molding on the ground.

Other small philos have sprouted in the same planting bed, but their leaves never get very large when compared to the 'mother plant'. Is there a way to fix this?

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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

generally no but it will make another offset. I cut mine to the ground and let the offset grow That is the remains of a flower (spadix) gary

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 5:50PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Oh that's so beautiful, the plant and the whole area it's in. Here at the edge of hardiness for this plant, they can be knocked back to the ground by frost, but fairly reliable about growing back again in spring. IDK if it's the 'same part' growing back or an offset, but the potted one I bought had been in a black nursery pot, unattended for a couple years, unsheltered, unwatered. It looks like a bunch of bumps, with foliage coming from some. To take it home, I had to cut the roots that were going through the drain holes into the ground below. Had it for about a year now, and can't imagine it ever getting as big as yours, probably won't in captivity. Anyway, I do have a point, that it seems way too tough to be killed by beheading, and you've already got pups.

Don't think I've seen a flower on one before, that's cool, even if it isn't a showy thing.

If it's too big for that spot, maybe it should just be moved and something shorter put there instead? Easy to say, yeah, I'd have to wait for help with that. OTOH, you probably don't need to close the blinds - LOL!

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 9:25AM
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my understanding is that if you cut off the trunk with may aerial roots below the leaves, you should be able to pot it up. it will use those aerial roots in the soil to get established. then you can put it in the ground.
I suppose you can plant it in the ground right away too.
spring would be the better time to do it. it'll have more time to grow roots and get established thru summer.
the base will sprout new shoots or not. but since you already have many offshoots they should be enough to maintain a pretty bed.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 10:38AM
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All of you on this forum have been so helpful to me with this issue. I'm going to show you the rest of the courtyard so you understand what I'm up against besides the issue of the philodendron.

I planted all the wrong things in the courtyard when I moved in (except for the White Birds of Paradise that now are plagued by White Fly, & the Confederate Jasmine that supplies the most heavenly aroma half the year), and now I'm simply beating back all these mistakes. Because everything has such deep taps roots, nothing can be transplanted or dug out short of using dynamite in this small space. I cut back the fishtails with a chain saw. Nothing here receives any fertilizer. Just regular irrigation from the sprinkler system.

The plants & courtyard hold so much moisture, that I have to pressure wash 2-3 times per year to deal with the mold and mildew. This is my third fountain since 2006 and my second set of patio furniture because the sun, water and rust take a toll on anything outdoors.

The last picture is of the philo selloum in my neighbor's courtyard. It's almost 10' feet across and I know that if I don't cut mine back, I'll have what they have next door in a few years.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 11:16AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

That pretty much sums-up my garden fantasy, fighting the fantastic foliage in FL... so close, and yet so far. People everywhere spend hours shaping juniper into meatballs constantly, or privet into hedges... I don't know that you've done anything wrong, or that it's possible to not occasionally fight any foliage in FL. Does anything ever stop growing? IDK. A 6-year maintenance plan sounds fine to me. The only thing I might do differently is add some foliage with other colors, but that's just what I do.

Really enjoyed your pics!! And I think you answered your own question, you probably couldn't kill that thing if you tried, certainly not by chopping some off.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 11:31AM
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but that philo looks absolutely incredible and very healthy.
perhaps you can train it up? on a tree? in fl forum they'd know better, of course.
do you have typical fl sand for soil, or smth better? just curious, 'cause i'd like to be where everything grows like that!
lots of people in fl have to amend their soil and complain about sand...

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 1:00PM
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petrushuka, no room for another item and not in front of the window. The planting bed is only 2'wide. Soil is nothing but sand, but I face north in the front and it gets full sun a few hours a day and then partial sun the rest of the time. I'm sure that helps. I do mulch every few years and that helps too.

Now that I think about it, the HOA fertilizes our lawns, which runs off into our pond. We pull pond water to irrigate, so I guess the plants get fertilized indirectly.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 1:15PM
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can't you put it upfront? it'll make a whole bed, won't have to put anything else there. they look great as 'a bush' under palms. like in the last pic.
there's a palm in the 1st pic - it's not yours?
you could root the top in the pot and offer it to your neighbor or friends. i'm sure it can make smbody VERY happy.
as an after thought: post in Florida gardening forum - may be smbody in your area can come by and pick up your cut off trunk (do not cut it off ahead of time, unless you pot it up - otherwise it'll dry up).

This post was edited by petrushka on Fri, Aug 23, 13 at 22:30

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 10:27PM
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