Asked on Sep 05, 2013

Split-leaf Philodendron in N. Georgia: Can it survive the winter?

Teresa D
by Teresa D
I have this philodendron that I purchased from Lowe's (I think) in the spring. The directions said to plant it in the ground and called it a shrub. I didn't pay attention and put it in a pot. Now, it has grown pretty large and I have roots reaching all over the place and creepind down through my deck. I'm thinking about moving it to my front yard but I don't recall ever seeing a plant like this in any other landscapes around here or at any other nurseries. I read that it is found in zones 10 and up, where the winters rarely reach below 40 degrees.
I don't want it to die but it's so big and the roots growing out of the pot is crazy! I'm afraid if I bring it in the house, my dogs might get interested in the roots. Any ideas? Has anyone out there moved this kind of philodendron in the house and managed it well? What about planting it in the ground and having it survive the winter?
  21 answers
  • Marie Smylie-Darling Marie Smylie-Darling on Sep 05, 2013
    in the uk we call it a swiss cheese plant's,hence the slashe's in the leave's,it's quite normal to have the root's coming out,we usually plant a moss stick[filled wit damp moss]into the plant and the root's cling to it,you should be able to buy a moss stick from a plant shop,in the uk if it is going to be freezing we put a net cloth over it to stop it from freezing to death ,or you can have it in the house or garage ,when it is freezing,
  • It is a houseplant for most. It will not survive outside. If you have no room inside what about in a garage with a window for sunlight? There is another option to keep dogs from chewing on it ~put the pot in a laundry basket (dollar store sometimes gets the perfect size in for this project) and maybe fill in around the pot with something to disguise the pot if it is faded or dirty from outside. Philodendrons are one of the easiest houseplants to grow. Even if she looks like heck when winter is over, once spring is here and you put it outside it will grow back to the lush that it is now. It is a beautiful plant. Good luck.
  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Sep 06, 2013
    Some philodendrons make good outdoor plants here in Florida, but they will certainly not survive in the ground in north Georgia. These will get REALLY big and it is definitely going to want to be in a larger pot. You can prune the aerial roots if you are concerned about your dogs.
  • EdenMaker EdenMaker on Sep 06, 2013
    Your plants seems to be happy outdoors during the non-winter climate and is thriving. One of my favorite design strategies is to incorporate beautiful, large lightweight planters within the garden bed. Re-pot your plant in a larger container (lightweight) and place it as a focal point in your front yard garden or on the porch. You can move it to a protected garage or even indoors for the winter. IF you bring indoors, make sure to prepare the plant by washing the leaves and inspecting soil for pests.
  • Teresa D Teresa D on Sep 06, 2013
    As always, you guys are a great help! Thanks so much for your responses and suggestions. I will definitely repot it and I will bring it inside for the winter. I know exactly where I'm going to put it. It is a beautiful plant, the largest I own. I would hate to lose it. @Douglas Hunt , I didn't know I could cut the aerial roots. Thanks for that. @Eden Maker Garden Design, I had this one on my deck in the back. I think I will try it in the front next year and see how it does. This way I can make my neighbors envious! ;-) Marie and C Renee, I appreciate your input as well. Thanks!
    • Landee2 Landee2 on Sep 07, 2013
      @Teresa D I grow one of mine outside, but we have very mild winters here and it dies back a bit, but I mulch it heavily and so far it has gotten through two winters.
  • Joy  Johnson Joy Johnson on Sep 07, 2013
    my sister in western NC keeps hers alive in basement and loses almost no leaves
  • Nana Nana on Sep 07, 2013
    I grew one to over 5 feet then lost it in a divorce settlement (true story). Anyway I grew it as a house plant in Michigan. It had pineapple shaped fruit once a year. It was amazing. Bring it inside for the winter then take it back out next spring. It is beautiful.
  • Beverly Brannan Beverly Brannan on Sep 07, 2013
    Split leaf are hardy. I live in St. Louis. During the winter, all my potted plants come in-doors. In the spring and summer they stay outdoors. Just a note here, before bringing the pot and plant inside, you might want to pull the plant out, scrub the pot and put in new soil. Just a thought.
  • Gretchen Gretchen on Sep 07, 2013
    Just out of curiosity, does anyone know if she could divide this plant (and make more to give away) thereby decreasing the size of this original?
  • Tracey T Tracey T on Sep 07, 2013
    You can always cut it back and start new ones for next spring, but I would bring it indoors for the winter. We have had some outdoors but we live in a tropical climate! Good luck with it!
  • Donna Rakes Donna Rakes on Sep 07, 2013
    mine stays under bottom deck from spring til late fall. Then I take it into garage n front of the window ill the next year. I do all my inside plants like that,the big news and spider plants and a few others.
  • Peggy Peggy on Sep 07, 2013
    Teresa, glad you asked this question. I was wondering the same thing. Mine outgrew the plant it was in, so I planted it in the ground in the spring. I guess I'll be looking for a bigger pot so I can enjoy it again next year.
  • Robbie Bagby Robbie Bagby on Sep 08, 2013
    I think you could potentially separate the root ball, leave part of it planted in the pot and put part in the ground. The part you put in the ground, heavily mulch it with straw. I have mexican heather in my front flower bed. It isnt known to survive winters in Alabama but i mulched mine heavily with straw mulch and they survived this past winter. What you leave planted in the pot, bring it in or put it in a garage if you have one so it will survive.
    • Teresa D Teresa D on Sep 09, 2013
      @Robbie Bagby That's a good idea. I might just plant part of it to see how it does in the ground. Thanks Robbie!
  • Rhonda Clements Rhonda Clements on Sep 08, 2013
    I had one ceiling tall that lived indoors all the time, The Split Leaf Philodendron prefers medium lighting, so it is best to keep this plant located within 5 to 8 feet of a window. However, be careful when choosing the location for this house plant because once you have placed it somewhere it does not like to be moved. This house plant has an attitude of its own, because if you then move it to another location it may drop its leaves in revolt to your moving it. Also, if the light level is to low, the leaves will not develop their unique perforations.As it grows, split-leaf produces cordlike roots that soak up moisture from the air.
    • Teresa D Teresa D on Sep 09, 2013
      @Rhonda Clements Hmmmm, maybe I should put it in my basement and it can act like a dehumidifier? :-)
  • Therese Ryan-Haas Therese Ryan-Haas on Sep 09, 2013
    My jaw dropped when I saw these growing in the trees in Mexico. The leafs got at least 3 feet wide! I have had one for at least 20 years. And like others said I put outside in summer, whack it back and bring in in the fall. I live in North Illinois and its could be in the basement under grow light for up to 4 months. After I bring it in I ofton forget about it lol. Really tough plant. Not picky about light, humidly, or water. Worst thing that will happen is the leafs at bottom will die off exposing the stem. Just looks leggy. Hack it back and start it over again.
  • Robbie Bagby Robbie Bagby on Sep 10, 2013
    I look forward to reading how things go with your plant.
  • Carrie Krumrie Carrie Krumrie on Dec 24, 2014
    They are a cousin to kudzu. should be careful where you plant it.
  • Susan Lukehart Susan Lukehart on May 24, 2016
    I have a couple of these plants and one is the mother plant to the other. Sometimes I will cut it back and put the cuttings (with their own roots like you have) into new pots or have even given one away... very hardy plant One is in a low light spot in the living room and the mother is in my daughters office where it gets more light.. they will be going out for the summer. Love this plant.
  • Michelle Michelle on Nov 09, 2017

    I have a split leaf philodendron. It is over 3yrs old. I live in NJ so its outside in the screened in patio all summer and fall then inside for winter and partial spring. Easy to care for but needs to be transplanted every 5 mos to keep the roots inside the pot.

  • Barbara Baldwin Barbara Baldwin on Nov 09, 2017

    These desirable tropical plants we love here are noxious weeds in their country of origin...I think that's funny..

  • Lisa S. Lisa S. on Nov 09, 2017

    This is a tropical plant. Bring it inside ASAP. Beautiful plant.