Monster elephant plant

Asked November 1, 2017, 5:21 PM EDT

In 1974 my aunt gave me this “stick” and asked if I could make it beautiful. After about a year it was doing well but she passed away. I have it and it is just to big and really heavy. I want to trim it back Drastically need help What can I do with all of the aerial roots. Can you also tell me what the name of this plant is besides Phil Trrry

Hennepin County Minnesota pruning plant identification house plant

1 Response

Thank you for the question. The houseplant looks like a cut leaved philodendron. Congratulations on keeping it alive for so many years. Philodendrons are a huge genus and I don't know for sure which variety you have. Regardless, it looks very root bound and in need of repotting or even discarding after taking cuttings to propagate a new plant or two.

Since this plant is so overgrown and you have sentimental attachment to it, you may want to start a new plant or several plants for insurance from the old one just to make sure you have a live plant. There's a chance that one so old and root bound will resent being dug out, old roots cut off, and repotted. If you decide to repot it, you will need to knock it out of it's pot, disentangle the roots, cut off dead ones and many of the big encircling roots. In the process some of the leaves will probably break off. This will be time consuming and difficult work. Transplant with new potting soil into a pot one size bigger than the current one. It will take it some time for the plant to recover from this treatment, but hopefully, you will see new growth and you can cut off the old.

Read the linked publications to learn more about propagating and transplanting houseplants. Good luck!

Thank you for contacting Extension.