En EspaŅol

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.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?


Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
rate this answer
3 ratings

Thursday - April 22, 2010

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


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!!


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!


More Propagation Questions

Looking for an apple tree to plant in Austin, TX.
December 08, 2010 - I want to plant an apple tree in my yard that bears fruit and will provide habitat and shade. Are any varieties that will do well in the South Austin area? And do I have to plant two trees to get fru...
view the full question and answer

Need some information about wild native grapes in Gatlinburg, TN.
August 13, 2010 - We have some wild grapevines growing on a southern exposure eroded bank. They are providing assistance in reducing erosion with rapid growth. Do these plants develop ground contact as they grow? In...
view the full question and answer

Propagation of Mexican buckeye from seeds in San Antonio
October 02, 2009 - I recently collected seeds from a Mexican buckeye. Is it best to plant them now or wait until spring? Do they need to be scarified?
view the full question and answer

Information about growing mountain laurels (Sophora secundiflora)
November 15, 2008 - I live just outside of Austin on 10 acres. I have several very large mountain laurels on my property that I planted from containers. Mine flower profusely every year. I feed them bi-weekly and wate...
view the full question and answer

Propagation of mountain laurel seeds
June 20, 2008 - My Texas Mountain Laurel this year finally produced seed pods. How do I go about planting the seeds for a new tree? A few of my co-workers love my tree and I would like to give them either the seeds ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center