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  Epiphytic philodendron culture
From: xeen_sg at yahoo.com (Isla Verde) on 2007.08.28 at 03:40:48(16170)
Hello all:

I know that some philodendrons need to climb higher in order to get bigger leaves. The problem is, I don't have all the vertical space for them. So could I just top off the plant and stick the cutting back onto ground level and expect the leaves to maintain/increase their sizes from there?

Thank you

From: derek at horticulturist.com (Derek Burch) on 2007.08.28 at 11:50:31(16171)
Hi Calvin,

When I worked for Bob Wilson at Fantastic Gardens in Miami (about fifty
years ago I realise with a shock), he had perfected that technique, and we
would laboriously produce gorgeous totems of various aroids by making two or
three passes through the growth cycle. So, yes, it should work for you, and
I think that strong light will also help the process along, simulating the
growth up through the forest canopy.


From: Steve at ExoticRainforest.com (ExoticRainforest) on 2007.08.28 at 12:37:05(16173)

In personal experience that only "sort of" works. If your plant has begun to morph into a larger blade size it may retain that more adult form but not necessarily continue to morph. At least that has been what I've seen in my atrium. I was given a fully adult Monstera adansonii about one year ago. I attached it to a totem and every new leaf since has been half the size of the original blades. Ron Weeks and others will have better experience than do I. I've resorted to using multiple sphagnum moss totem poles in order to give the plants as much height as possible. You can find those fairly inexpensively on the net.

Steve Lucas

From: rhweeks at attglobal.net (Ron Weeks) on 2007.08.28 at 16:56:55(16177)
The technique was still in good use when I worked there a mere 35 years
ago. No doubt it still works today.

From: denis at skg.com (Denis Rotolante) on 2007.08.28 at 18:47:05(16179)
Try mossing off the top 3 to 4 leaves and allowing the roots to grow out
into spagnum brfore you top it and restick it at the base of a totem.
that might help to retain the vigor and increasing leaf size with out
set back.

From: pugturd at alltel.net (Brian Williams) on 2007.08.29 at 02:19:45(16181)
Wow Ron 35 years ago that's been longer than I have been alive LOL.

Another trick I have seen is these totems which you can add sections to
to make them taller. Once the mature part of the plant begins to reach
this section you remove or cut the totem and the plant so it is still
attached to what it was growing on and re-root it. I believe the
technique works but if the plant is not attached already or does not
attach really soon it will start to revert back.


From: xeen_sg at yahoo.com (Isla Verde) on 2007.08.30 at 01:40:53(16184)
Thanks for all your comments!. Brian mentioned about the plant having to have established rooting on the totem as an assurance that it won't go back to juvenile leaves before lopping it off. This is interesting! Could it be due to the Hiemiphytic nature of some of these philodendrons? (that says something about the clasping/feeding roots getting some nutrients from the attached points at the totem surfaces?)



From: chammer at cfl.rr.com (Bluesea) on 2007.08.30 at 15:07:03(16186)
Calvin, I doubt clasping roots getting nutrients have much to do with
growth to mature stage in Aroids. Obviously they do have a role in
nutrition, and I always pour fertilizer water down the totem. But
there's another phenomenon at play here.

I agree with Brian in that the Aroid must remain rooted to the totem. I
read decades ago, probably in Aroideana, that there's a particular
chemical/enzyme produced in the roots when Aroids have actually rooted
to wood and are in climbing mode. The chemical is not present when it's
running across the ground. Apparently this chemical triggers the
physical journey to mature stage growth, assuming other necessary
factors are present, such as proper light, temps, etc. My own theory is
that the chemical/enzyme is produced only in the roots of the growing
tip, which is why they start to revert to juvenile stage as soon as they
are separated from the surface of the totem, or a tree.


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