Help a reader: Is this philodendron unusual?

philodendron with hand
This philodendron started out small, but now some of the leaves are larger than this gardener’s hand. What’s up with this plant? Photo courtesy Sue Hill

by Connie Oswald Stofko

Sometimes readers send me questions that they’d like to get some opinions on, so I share their questions with my readers. Here’s one.

Hi Connie,
I was given a philodendron in a basket with other plants as a gift over 10 years ago. I give it 20/20/20 every watering which is weekly.

For over a year, there is a stalk about 1 inch in diameter supporting extra-large leaves. They are bigger than my hand, so approximately 8 inches. The stalk started sprouting roots about then and they have adhered to my wall. Needless to say, this plant stays in the house when we move! There are also small regular-sized leaves mixed in.

Is this common? Can this plant win some prize? I’ve attached some photos that I took last summer, and needless to say, it is now well over the wooden hook rack! Any information on this would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

Sue Hill
Town of Tonawanda

I don’t know if this is common, but I never heard of it before. My guess is that this is probably how the plant grows in the wild and that Hill has it in a good spot in her house.

Can you shed any light on this for Hill? To join the conversation, leave a comment below.

philodendron plant attached to wall
The plant is attaching itself to the wall. Photo courtesy Sue Hill

How to get your questions answered

Sometimes readers contact me with questions that I can’t answer. I’m not a gardening expert– I’m a writer by profession. I interview knowledgeable people in order to provide you with great articles on

So when someone asks a question I can’t answer, I post the question and rely on my readers to share their expertise. If you have advice for Hill, please leave a comment below. If you want to know the answer to this question, check back later to read the comments.

Sending a question to me to post can be helpful if you’re looking for a wide range of opinions and don’t mind waiting for the answer. If you want to try this route, email the question to me at and I’ll pose it to my readers in an upcoming issue.

Don’t send questions where you are looking for specific facts. For example, if you want to know what is wrong with your plant or you want to identify a particular insect you found in your garden, don’t send those questions to me.

For those questions, definitely ask the Master Gardeners with Cornell Cooperative Extension or to turn to your local garden center.

For most questions, it’s probably quicker to ask the Master Gardeners or your local garden center. When you email me and I ask my readers, you’ll get a wide range of opinions.

Find contact information here for your county’s Cornell Cooperative Extension office. The businesses that support this magazine have very knowledgeable staff. Check out our Gardening Directory or click on the ads to the right.

philodendron by window
Some of the leaves on this philodendron are huge. Photo courtesy Sue Hill






12 Comments on “Help a reader: Is this philodendron unusual?

  1. Lyn, that’s a good idea. Maybe after the roots dry, they will be smaller and fall out. Molly, I have my fingers crossed for you!

  2. Removing vein roots can be very difficult. Perhaps if you just left them they will dry out and be easier to remove. If they were recently attached to the plant they are still viable and would not pull off. After they are dead it should be much easier. Good luck!

  3. Molly, I’m not sure what you can do. It sounds like you have pulled or cut the plant away from the wall, and it has left roots behind. That’s why people have left comments suggesting that gardeners shouldn’t let their philodendron climb up a wall– it could ruin the wall. This may be a question for a home repair person. I wish you luck.

  4. i cannot remover the philodendrum sm roots from outside wall. have tried soap and water, stiff brushes but nothing gets the small roots off my wall. what can I do.

  5. I have seen this on many plants in Cancun, it is common, almost like a new set of roots on the plant helping it to climb usually on a slab of bark wood or a tree. In one hotel in Cancun they were in planters like our window boxes on the top floor of an open area and they hung down several floors like a curtain. Gordon is right they will damage the wall but you could remove them and give them a piece of wood to climb on or root them in another pot.

  6. I agree with the plant being a philodendron, cut back the weekly feeding and remove the enlarged section. This could be rooted to start another plant. Definitely remove it from the wall. That’s just asking for trouble. Removal won’t hurt the plant at all.

  7. This is a philodendron. What you see are aerial roots which the plant uses to support itself. When they are a problem simply use a clean cutter or razor blade to remove them.

  8. Not Pothos. Def. Phil. and Phyllis is correct. They will do damage on an inside wall. Similar to ivy on an outside wall only on a MUCH larger scale.

  9. This plant looks like a pothos to me. I do believe that when allowed to climb the leaves can get very large.

  10. Also,I’d like to ask, does she really want this plant attaching itself to her wall?? Not a good idea!! Give it something like a wooden post to climb. Roots attaching to your wall can cause a lot of damage.

  11. I would suggest she stop feeding it so often. Once a month should be all it needs. I have seen them in the wild too, and they are huge!

  12. Philodendron can be very aggressive and in the tropics, especially Hawaii it is very evident. They grow wild in the forests everywhere practically swallowing up trees.

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