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What’s Wrong With My Split-leaf Philodendron?

Ask the Plant Expert:

I have been in charge of caring for a heart-leaf philodendron for a worker who passed away earlier this year. The plant was growing rapidly & bearing big, beautiful, green leaves. I water it on Fridays before the weekends & make sure it is not in direct sunlight.

Last Friday when I went to water it, I noticed there was standing water that the plant was not soaking in. Come Monday, the plant had an odor to it. I figured it needed the next size pot since it had grown so much. So, I re-potted it with Miracle-gro, and there’s no smell, but it looks sick. Please help. – Beth

Flower Shop Network Plant Expert Reply:

Split-Leaf Philodendron PhotoBeth,
Are you adding water to the soil or placing water in a saucer for the plant to soak up from the bottom?  I am not a fan of bottom-watering. Often the water can become stagnant or the roots will develop a rot from too much water. It is best to water the plant from the top, letting the soil become moist, but not soggy. I would water it based on how the soil feels. In this case, let the soil get slightly dry before you water it. Make sure to saturate the soil, yet the excess water will need to drain away from the plant.

Transplant Shock & Tips For Recovery

Since you just transplanted the plant, it will be experiencing transplant shock. Here are a few things to help speed up the recovery process:

  • 1. Make sure the plant is watered correctly. I usually don’t fertilize when I transplant – this causes more stress for the plant. If you fertilized it, the watering will be very crucial – make sure the soil is not soggy.
  • 2. Trim a few of the long tendrils. This way the plant will temporarily have less foliage to maintain while it is in transplant shock.
  • 3. Now, leave it alone. More plants die because people keep trying to ‘fix’ a perceived issue, instead of allowing the plant to heal itself.

You should see a change in about 3 weeks.  You might want to root the parts of the plant that you trim off.  Hope this information was helpful. Please let me know if I can help with anything else.