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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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Thursday - April 22, 2010

From: Kingsley, MI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Propagation
Title: Rooting house plants
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

Hello Mr SP: I've had Philodendron house plants (many) for years now, because they're easy to grow & that's about my style. Years ago I tried to grow a new plant from a cutting off of one, but it just sat in the glass. So about 7 weeks ago when I wanted to do this again I looked online as to instructions. I was surprised to see I'd done it correctly when I was unsuccessful, however that place said it could take a month or so to get roots..so I assumed I'd not waited long enough. I took 3 cuttings about a foot long 7 weeks ago & put them in a glass of water in my kitchen window-it's doing nothing, except maybe rotting. The ends in the water are turning a darker color, no roots even starting. This is frustrating to be because it's such a simple plant (what's that say about me?) & I can't afford to pay what a plant house charges for a new plant, & this is supposed to be easy! Please help!!

ANSWER:

Sorry, this question is outside our area of expertise.  The mission of the  Lady Bird Johnson Wildower Center is to increase the sustainable use and conservation of native wildflowers, plants and landscapes and Philodendron, being a tropical plant, does not fall within that.

However, Mr. Smarty Plants has rooted a few houseplants in his day, and we suspect you are having a problem because you have the glass in too much light.  A quick check of Wikipedia and we found this: 

"New plants can be grown by taking stem cuttings with at least two joints. Cuttings then can be rooted in pots of sand and peat moss mixtures. These pots are placed in greenhouses with bottom heat of 21-24 °C. During the rooting cuttings should be kept out of direct sunlight. Once rooted the plants can be transplanted to larger pots or directly outside in milder climates. A second way to propagate philodendrons is to take stems cuttings, particularly from trailing varieties, and place them in water. In four to five weeks the plant should develop roots and can be transferred to pots."

Try again and good luck!

 

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