Philodendron is a genus of evergreen tropical plants most commonly kept as conservatory or house plants. Pruning requirements for tropical plants, including philodendrons, are minimal except for when leaves die back due to age or damage. Two main types of philodendron growth forms exist: trailing, also known as vining, and clumping, also called self-heading. Prune philodendrons sparingly when needed to preserve their natural form.

Self-Heading Philodendron

Step 1

Prune out individual leaves that have died or become discolored or diseased. Sever the leaf at the base of the stem down to the crown of the plant just above the soil line.

Step 2

Reduce the size or spread of the plants by removing the longest, oldest and most outsize leaves and stems down to the crown. Distribute these cuts evenly throughout the plant to maintain the natural form.

Step 3

Remove any stems that have lost their leaves. Sever the stem stump down to the crown of the plant, just above the soil line.

Vining Philodendron

Step 1

Snip off any dead, discolored, diseased or otherwise unsightly leaves that appear on the vines. Remove either an individual leaf or whole sections of vine as needed to keep the plant looking green and tidy.

Step 2

Cut back defoliated vines to just below a healthy leaf because the bare vines will likely not regenerate new growth once lost.

Step 3

Prune away leaves on the vines that have become brown or yellow due to over-watering or lack of sufficient sunlight. Once this occurs, the leaves will not be restored to a deep green hue. Remove the leaves at the base of the stem. If the vine tip or a section of vine is damaged, cut back to a healthy green leaf node just above the damaged tissues.

Step 4

Cut back the tips of the vines as desired to bring the plant back within preferred bounds and reduce size and spread.