Man, you guys are so awesome!

Yesterday, I asked what advice you would give to the KOB employee who asked:

>>>>“Hi Liza!  Here’s that picture finally.  If you could look at it & let me know how to cut it back without killing it, I sure would appreciate it!”>>>>

wild plant

Let’s see how you answered:

Joseph Brenner wrote, “I bought one of these at a yard sale, about a dozen years ago. I have been blessed to be allowed to live in his home, ever since.

I started by cutting all but a few main stems off — they root easily in water or planted directly. Then I divided the roots by three( one for each main stem ). It seems brutal, at the time, but Phil always responds by growing even more. The toughest part is finding room for his children( also named Phil )each fall. I’ve given quite a few away, but always have a few in each room through winter.”

Claude from Random Rants and Prickly Plants wrote, “Basically I’d cut the stems to root the cuttings, and put the new cuttings all in one pot and keep that. The roots will probably resprout , so you’ll end up with two huge plants…soooooo, I guess I’d look into getting one adopted?”

Cass McMain from Albuquerque wrote, “What a beautiful monster it is, too. Monstera deliciosa (Split-leaf philodendron) does like space. It’s very easy to take cuttings or divide as described above. I had one about eight feet across once. As Claude said, best to find some adoptive parents for all the cuttings unless you want two (or three or ten) of these beauties…Although you could get a large trellis and train it in an upward direction as well, to open up some floor space! Google some images of it growing in the wild, and you won’t feel yours is very large at all.

Just as an aside, the name ‘deliciosa’ comes from the fact that in its native habitat, these produce a fruit that is supposed to be delicious.”

See what I mean? You guys are awesome.

Here’s my actual response to her:

>>>>Wow, what a beautiful plant! It’s appropriately named Monstera deliciosa (Splitleaf Philodendron), as it’s quite the monster!

A couple things. One, you don’t have to prune it. You can try to train it to grow up instead of out by giving it a pole or trellis to climb up.

Two, if you do want to prune it, just prune little bits at a time. Pruning bit by bit will help strengthen your confidence. If you cut one stem off, and then watch to see what happens, that knowledge will help fuel more pruning in the future.

There are a couple of ways to prune. One is to remove individual leaves. You would cut the leaf off all the way down at the base. Another option is to prune the stems. You can make the cut practically anywhere, but keep in mind that wherever you cut, you’re going to encourage a lot of new growth. That means you’d want to cut near the soil to encourage growth inside, as opposed to encouraging the plant to grow out like it is already.

You can try to root the cuttings in water or a vermiculite mixture so that you can start a whole new plant.

Let me know if that helps. I would also recommend taking before and after pictures so you can see how the plant changes.

I think we all nailed that!

Joseph, I appreciated your first-hand knowledge. Phil seems like quite the generous plant, letting you live in his house and all.

Claude, I’m not surprised that you would know exactly what to do. I didn’t think to warn her about all the “children.”

Cass, I liked how we both suggested growing up! And thanks for the info – I didn’t know why it was called that.

The employee later told me that she did get her nerve up to prune her monster, and has since given away lots of cuttings. She’s a pro now at shaping her big plant.

Well done everyone! Thanks for sharing your advice!

If you’d like to participate even more, you can also leave your best guess for last week’s puzzler, in which Ivynettle from Letters and Leaves asked if this plant was real or fake:

Good To Grow To Grow, Ivy's photos, real or fake plant puzzler

It’s a tough one! I’ll reveal the answer and the winner(s) tomorrow after an all-new Ask the Experts panel, Mother’s Day edition.

Hope to see you back here.