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Philodendrons such as the Atom are known for their ability to filter pollutants from the air, so why not propagate this plant to fill your home with cleaner, oxygen-rich air? There are a few ways to propagate these plants, and luckily, the Philodendron Atom is resilient and fast-growing, so if you follow these steps, you’ll have a viny, philodendron-filled home in no time.
Here’s how to propagate your Philodendron Atom:
- Propagate cuttings in soil or water.
- Sow Philodendron Atom seeds.
- Use air layering to root your Philodendron.
This article discusses the different methods of propagating your Philodendron Atom, the various steps involved, and tips to get better results. At the end of this article, I will also answer a few FAQs about the Philodendron Atom.
Propagation through stem cuttings is a method that requires an existing healthy and fully mature plant. Taking cuttings of an existing plant and rooting them in soil or water is one of the easiest ways to reproduce your plants, especially the Philodendron Atom. In addition, you’ll have a high chance of success with this method.
Wet the soil of your plant do this a few days before you plan to cut your cuttings. Watering ensures that your Philodendron Atom has time to absorb the nutrients it needs through the moisture in the soil.
Watering before cutting helps strengthen your prospective stem before you put it through the stress of being separated from the rest of the plant.
Choose one of the older stems, not the younger, springy ones. Too young a stem will rot. Also, choose a stem with multiple nodes.
Nodes are the part of the stem where leaves start to grow. These bumpy joints are where your cutting’s roots will sprout out. You’ll sometimes see errant roots grow from nodes, even when the stem is connected to the main plant.
Choose a stem with many nodes and at least two leaves attached.
When cutting the stem, make your cut between two nodes. Cut as close as you can to the node part of your cutting, as this is where your roots will pop out later.
If the stem length after the node is too long, the roots will not grow correctly, so you need to ensure that your cutting is resilient and just-right-sized.
If you have a plant with multiple stems, it’s advisable to take more than just one cutting to have more chances that at least one will root.
Then, cut right above the node line using a clean, sharp knife.
You can grab the Linsen Outdoor Pruning Knife, so you have a knife just for your gardening. Its stainless-steel blade is four inches long and folds into its wooden handle for extra convenience.
If your cutting has many leaves and stems, trim off the lower ones closer to the node. Be sure to leave a few leaves on the stem, maybe three or four.
Doing this gives you a reasonable length of your cutting free of leaves and stems, and it will be the portion planted in soil or soaked in water.
Your soil or propagation media should be loose to drain well but still enough to support your cutting and keep it upright.
You can add sand, perlite, bark, and other propagation mediums to help make your soil mixture loose, airy, and well-draining.
Choose a small container for your soil and fill it, leaving around 1” (2.5cm) of space between the top of your container and the soil level. This gap will allow you to move the soil around when you plant your cutting. Make sure each cutting has its own container/ pot.
Be sure to moisten your soil well before placing the cutting in it around 1” to 1 ½ “ (2.5 to 3.8 cm) deep, which is just deep enough for the soil to support the cutting and new root growth.
You can move the soil around to help make your cutting stand straight in its container.
Suppose you decide to root your cutting in water. In that case, it’s advisable to use a transparent container to see inside and check on the rooting progress easily.
You can choose to mix in some rooting hormone to help encourage the growth of new roots, but this step is not necessary since the Philodendron Atom roots easily. However, the rooting hormone always increases the chances of success when propagating plants.
Covering your propagation container with plastic wrap or a plastic lid will trap moisture and humidity for your cutting, encouraging root growth.
So that fresh air can also get to your cutting, you can poke some holes in the plastic, so air flows through it. You can use anything from plastic sheeting to an old grocery bag.
This seedling MIXC Seed Starter Tray eliminates the need for a separate plastic sheet or a bag since it comes with its adjustable humidity dome.
Philodendrons are subtropical plants that enjoy warmer temperatures. When you’re propagating a cutting, temperatures need to be a little warmer than usual to help it grow – around 70°F – 75°F (21 °C – 24°C).
Ensure that you don’t expose your cutting to direct sunlight, which can burn the leaves and hinder the root development. You can observe new growth in around ten days to 2 weeks.
If propagating in soil, tug your cuttings gently after around four weeks to test if they’ve started to grow roots. If you feel some resistance, they have. Your Philodendron will be ready to replant in 4-6 weeks.
Keep an eye out for new growth sprouting above the soil. Your cuttings have grown roots if you see fresh leaves or tiny budding leaves.
If propagating in water, wait until the roots have grown a few inches before repotting in soil. Ideally, you should wait until they’ve started to form into a ball before you repot your cutting.
Be sure to replace the water in the container every three days while waiting for your cutting’s roots to grow. You’ll see roots start to grow in about ten days or so.
With good root growth, your Philodendron Atom is now ready to be transplanted.
Again, if propagating in soil, water your plant a day before you repot it, so it has a chance to absorb all the nutrients it needs. Watering also helps to reduce the stress on your plant that may come from transplanting.
You’ll need a pot around 2” (5cm) bigger than your root ball. Don’t choose a too big pot, which can lead to overwatering.
Fill your new pot loosely with moistened potting medium. Don’t compact the soil by pressing it down. The soil level should be around 2 inches (5cm) or so from the top of the pot.
Gently remove your rooted cutting from its container and place it on the soil in its new permanent container. You can gently pull a few roots outward to loosen the root ball.
Place more potting medium around the root ball until your plant can stand independently. Be sure to put soil in the gaps of your root ball. Gently press down on the potting medium as you put more in the pot.
Don’t put much potting medium on your plant’s root ball. Adding too much of a top layer can result in you overwatering your Philodendron Atom in the future, as the top layer may seem dry.
These Gepege Beaded Ceramic Pots are perfect for your Philodendron Atom’s permanent home. They’re not too big, have mesh pads to keep soil from spilling out of the drainage hole, and have saucers to catch excess water.
Growing your Philodendron Atom from seeds takes much longer than if you were to start with a cutting. However, it’s a viable option, primarily if your mature philodendron has produced seeds for you. The seeds don’t need to be soaked before you plant them.
It’s better to place 2-3 seeds in each pot to have more chances of at least one sprouting.
Choose a pot with enough room to place each seed at least with at least ½ inch (1.8cm) space around them. This space will give the seeds enough room to germinate and develop.
Place your seeds in your potting medium around ⅓” (1cm) deep and cover them with soil gently.
You need to keep the soil moist as the seeds germinate, so water it frequently.
You should keep the soil temperature at around 68 °F to 73 °F (20 °C to 23 °C). If these conditions are met, your seeds should germinate in 2-8 weeks.
If the seedlings become robust enough, it’s advisable to put each seedling in its own little container to have more room to grow and develop healthy roots.
Air layering is the least common method to propagate your Philodendron Atom.
You can try this method when you have little space, don’t want to use a separate pot to propagate cuttings, or don’t have the patience to germinate seeds.
Layering is a propagation method where stems are still partially attached to the mother plant and encouraged to root through a rooting medium.
Generally, this method is more successful than propagating your plant through cuttings. That is because the layered plant will still have the support of the mother plant while still growing its new roots.
Air layering is done by wounding the stem, cutting around 1 inch to 1.5 inches (2.5 cm to 4 cm) below a node. Use a thick toothpick to prop the cut open. Then, wrap a handful of moist sphagnum moss around the wound. Make sure the moss is damp to help encourage new growth.
Seal this moss ball with a layer of plastic wrap, using electrical or first-aid tape to seal the ends. In about three weeks to a month, you should be able to see new root growth through the plastic wrap.
Once the roots are visible, your layered plant is ready to be separated from the mother plant and placed in its pot. Use a sharp knife to sever the trunk or stem below the layered area. Remove the tape and plastic before putting the stem in potting soil.
Here are the main things to keep note of when caring for a Philodendron Atom:
- Watering: Only water if the top 25% of the pot’s soil is dry. You’ll only need to water it around 1-2 times a week.
- Lighting Conditions: Bright but indirect light. Direct sunlight will burn the leaves.
- Humidity: Philodendron Atoms enjoy 50%-65% humidity. You can keep the environment humid enough for your plant using humidity trays or placing your plant on a tray with pebbles and water.
- Yellow leaves: These are a sign that your plant is in distress. It can be caused by overwatering, poor lighting conditions, and pests. Find the cause as soon as you can so you can resolve it.
- Temperature: Philodendrons Atoms are happy in warmer temperatures, around 70°F to 80°F (21°C to 26°C). Extreme temperatures can hurt your plant, so don’t place your Philodendron close to heaters or air conditioners.
The Philodendron Atom is one of the rarer varieties of Philodendrons. With its wavy, glossy, green leaves and compact size, it’s known for its hardiness and is perfect for beginners.
Philodendron Atoms are a subtropical plant that grows underneath the canopies of the trees and on the forest floor, so it needs a warm, humid environment and bright and indirect light.
You can grow a philodendron in water permanently, depending on the variety. Philodendron Atoms do not grow well in water alone, so be sure to repot your cuttings as soon as they have robust roots.
Some varieties of Philodendrons, such as the Heart Leaf Philodendron (Philodendron cordatum) and velvet leaf vine (Philodendron micans), can grow in water permanently. However, Philodendron Atoms are unfortunately not one of those varieties.
You can root a Philodendron Atom cutting in water. Still, it isn’t advisable to grow them regularly in a jar of water.
There are three main ways to propagate a Philodendron Atom: rooting cuttings in water or soil, planting seeds, and air layering. Each method has its unique benefits, and taking cuttings is usually everyone’s go-to method since it is so simple.
However, growing your philodendrons from seed can be incredibly rewarding, and learning to air layer is a game-changer, so give each method a try to see what works best for you and your Philodendron.