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House Plants/cold damage to split leaf philodendron & shrimp plants


QUESTION: I have a gorgeous split leaf philodendron planted in my front flower bed that gets full afternoon sun.  It is 7 ft. tall and the leaves are 3 ft. long.  The plant was 2 ft. tall when I planted it three years ago.  I have been  pruning it into a tree.  I live in San Antonio, Texas.  The recent freeze destroyed it.  ALL the leaves are bent in the middle of the stalk and hanging with no chance of survival.  The root system is strong.  It looks pretty pathetic and I would like to "clean up the yard" a bit.  Can I prune it now or shall I wait awhile? When?  We can easily get more cold weather (overnight in the high 30's, daytimes warmer).  Do I  prune it just below the "bend"?  

I have the same pruning questions about the Shrimp plants that I have outside.  I always cut them to the ground in the Spring to control becoming overgrown.  Can I do it now since they are black sticks with a very little life INSIDE the bottom 2-3" of the "sticks"?

Thank you so much for your help.  It's nice to have an expert at the other end of the line.

ANSWER: Carole,

I would cut them down below the damage, if that means to the ground the roots may still send up new growth. In the future when frost is predicted it would be good to cover your tender plants with straw or grass clippings or blankets. You may be able to save more because there is heat in the ground that will keep the plant warmer. So go ahead and prune now. It will start the regrowing faster. Good luck!


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QUESTION: How do I cover a 7 ft x 8 ft split leaf philodendron without bending and breaking all the stalks?  Even the shrimp plants are 3 ft x 4 ft.


Put some metal pipes or wooden poles in the ground to support the covers. I use old sheets to cover my 6 foot tall tomatoes in wire cages. We had a waterbed that had sheets that the top and bottom sheets were sewed together at the foot of the bed, that made them fit over the tomatoes even better. When it starts getting really cold the stalks tend to get a bit rubbery so I have found you can lay sheets over them with out causing damage and remove them in the morning and they will stand right back up. But if you can put some stakes in that will help also. Good luck!


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Darlene K. Kittle


I have been an Advanced Master Gardener for 24 years and I raise around 300 houseplants and bonsai trees a year including tropicals, succulents, and cacti. I have also been a professional plant care person for businesses in the Fort Wayne, IN area and currently professionally care for bonsai trees for my customers.


I am also studying the Japanese art of bonsai with tropical plants and is President of the Fort Wayne, IN Bonsai Club.

Fort Wayne, iN Master Gardeners. President of the Fort Wayne Bonsai Club. Allen County Master Gardeners

I am not a hortculturist. I am a Purdue University Advanced Master Gardener for 24 years. I have studied plants on a personal level by growing hundreds of plants annually for the last 35 years. I have also studied under several nationally known American Bonsai experts.

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