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House Plants/rejuvenate Split Leaf Philodendron


Several summers ago, a deer ate every single leaf off my huge split leaf philodendron that was summering on the front porch. I found it one morning looking like a pencil cactus. Not pretty. At the time, I moved it back inside, cut it back half way, left it in the pot in which it was growing and tried to remember to feed it some. It has never been the same. I feed it with a liquid plant food in the summers but irregularly. It grew new leaves over time but none have gotten very big and many have not split. There are a "million" aerial roots. It has been living where it liked living before the deer ate it (away from direct light, to the side of a west window). During summers I house it in a shaded greenhouse but it has not regained its former thick and lush appearance. I am considering repotting it. It is in a 15" diameter pot. It doesn't seem pot bound. Maybe it would like to be pot bound? Shall I cut some of those aerial roots? All of the aerial roots? It is growing on a metal obelisk in the pot. What can I do to rejuvenate this plant?
Please advise.

Hi Carrie,

Light is the primary determining factor in your Monstera's growth. You may be keeping it a bit too shaded for maximum growth. A few hours of direct indoor sun each day is fine. The rest of the day it should receive very bright indirect sunlight - as close to direct sun as possible without having the sun's rays falling directly on the foliage.

Essentially, your Monstera is starting over. That is why it is growing slowly and not producing split leaves. As the plant matures, the leaves will split.

Avoid repotting it as plant grow best when kept potbound. I also suggest that you go easy on the fertilizer. That will not make it grow faster and should only be used on plants that are healthy and growing vigorously.

Be sure not to water as frequently as you did prior to the deer-fest. There is now much less plant so it will use much less water.

The aerial roots are irrelevant when Monstera's are kept in pots. In nature, they are used to help the plant spread and climb. You can cut some or all of them off without harming the plant.

Be patient as it will take time for your plant to rejuvenate.

I have written articles on Philodendron care that I will email for free to you (or anyone else) who emails a request to me at

Please let me know if any of this is unclear or if you have any additional questions.

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Will Creed


I am the only expert in this category with professional hands-on experience and knowledge of all indoor plants. I can answer questions regarding light, water, fertilizer, repotting, pruning and humidity and temperature requirements. I can identify plant pests and provide information on safe, effective treatments. My answers are based on 35 years of professional experience and scientific research and are clear and easy to understand. I do NOT use search engines to find answers to your questions. If you read my previous posts here, you will get a good idea as to how thorough and professional my answers are.


I have over 35 years of professional indoor landscaping experience caring for plants in homes, offices, building lobbies, stores, restaurants, and other adverse environments. I have written extensively on the care of indoor plants, including a 260 page book. My specialties include Ficus trees, low light plants, repotting, pest control, and re-blooming holiday plants. Be sure to check my ratings and nominations to learn why I am the top-rated indoor plant expert. I am the only House Plant expert consistently ranked in the AllExperts Top 20.

BA, Amherst College

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