Broken philodendron leaves - can they be saved?
October 12, 2010 8:35 AM   Subscribe

Bought a philodendron and somehow managed to bend two of the leaves to the point of breaking them on the subway journey home. How should I handle this? Should I trim off the dead, drooping part, and if so, will it eventually fill back in to the standard leaf shape? Or is there some way to glue it so it will eventually fuse back together?

Google's failing me on this one... if you can suggest a search term that works, that would be good too.
posted by coupdefoudre to Home & Garden (10 answers total)
Best answer: Just cut the entire leaf off. Plenty of water, some nice ambient light (no direct sunlight please), and it'll grow out new leaves in no time!
posted by matty at 8:37 AM on October 12, 2010

Best answer: matty's right. Leaves don't heal like that. Cut them off close to where they join the rest of the plant. Don't worry about it (unless they were the only two leaves, in which case leave them).
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 8:46 AM on October 12, 2010

Response by poster: Hmm... Yeah, since it's a new plant, there are only about 6 leaves. Totally cutting off these 2 would leave it looking pretty lopsided until new ones grew. Any ideas how long that would be?
posted by coupdefoudre at 8:48 AM on October 12, 2010

Best answer: coupdefoudre, philodendrons grow very fast. Cut, and wait, and the plant will take care of its amputation in short order.

Also, I love this question. It reminds me of the whole Zuzu's petals thing in Its a Wonderful Life. (Daddy, glue them back on!)
posted by bearwife at 8:53 AM on October 12, 2010

Best answer: New sprouts will start out of the vine of the plant over the next couple or three weeks.

With philodendrons, the trick is to not watch it - otherwise it'll never seem to grow... but once you stop paying attention to it, voila! Water it once or twice a week, whenever the topsoil is dry to your fingertip. Just a nice watering, not a soaking!

Patience, green-thumb grasshopper!
posted by matty at 8:56 AM on October 12, 2010

Response by poster: Haha I guess you can tell I'm a beginner at this plant stuff... thanks everyone! I guess my instant-gratification need for a pretty plant will need to be turned off for a little while until it actually looks pretty again.
posted by coupdefoudre at 9:04 AM on October 12, 2010

Philodendrons are toxic to cats, so watch out if you have a feline.
posted by Surinam Toad at 9:30 AM on October 12, 2010

Also to kids and other pets. :)
posted by purpletangerine at 10:33 AM on October 12, 2010

Once every month or so let it get kind of dry (not droopy and sad, just skip one watering) and then put the pot in the tub and give it a gentle shower and really good watering with room-temp water. Leave it in the tub til it's dry, then put it back in its regular place and watch that baby grow. They really like getting showers once in a while- actually, most houseplants are pretty into this.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 11:10 AM on October 12, 2010

You can't kill a philodendron.. My wife has had one for 26 years now (elephant-eared) and that's saying something... At one point one of the longest branches snapped in half (almost completely off) and she duct-taped it back together. It healed up completely, and it's been years since that happened..

That being said, if you just cut those leaves off it's not going to hurt the plant in the slightest!
posted by Glendale at 2:56 PM on October 12, 2010

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