How to Remove Split Leaf Philodendrons

Split-leaf philodendrons (Monstera deliciosa) occur naturally in the shaded understory of the tropical jungles across Central America. Although primarily grown as a houseplant, split-leaf philodendrons work well as outdoor ornamentals in U.S. Department of Agriculture zones 10 to 11, where they will eventually reach 70 feet in height if left unpruned. The 1 1/2-foot-long leaves present an exotic and attractive appearance, but they will easily shade out and kill less vigorous plants if left to grow unchecked. Removing split-leaf philodendrons becomes necessary when they begin to overtake the garden, but it is a surprisingly easy task despite their massive size and dense root system.

Step 1

Dig a shallow ditch with a 12-inch diameter around the base of the split-leaf philodendron plant using a mattock to direct water toward the root system. Dig it to a depth of 2 inches.

Step 2

Water the split-leaf philodendron plant deeply the day before removing it to soften the soil. Run a garden hose on low at the base of the plant for 15 to 20 minutes.

Step 3

Prune the split-leaf philodendron to remove all the foliage and stems using a pair of large pruning shears. Cut it down so just a small portion of the trunk remains. Cut up the leaves and stems. Discard them in a green waste can.

Step 4

Create a 12-inch-diameter mark around the base of the split-leaf philodendron plant using a pointed shovel. Insert the shovel 1- to 1 1/2-feet deep into the soil around the base of the plant.

Step 5

Work the shovel under the root-ball of the split-leaf philodendron. Pry the root-ball out of the ground using the pointed shovel. Scrape the inside of the hole using the shovel to remove any remaining root fragments.

Step 6

Discard the root-ball in a trash can or green waste can, not in a compost heap since it might attempt to take root in the compost.

Step 7

Fill in the hole where the split-leaf philodendron grew with standard garden soil.