Since cutting my PSS back in March, it has been pushing flowers like crazy. I was very hesitant to cut the spiritus because I’ve heard so many things about how hard it is to propagate. Other than it being large and awkward to maneuver, it actually wasn’t that bad! I’m going to describe how I cut propagated my philodendron spiritus sancti in the hopes that it helps someone else.
The PSS before the cut
Initially, I planned on air layering the PSS. But every time I wrapped the aerial roots in sphagnum moss, the roots eventually rotted. I also tried placing small pots of potting mix next to the plant for the aerial roots to push growth into, but alas, that failed also.
Ultimately, I went with a lazier method. Any aerial roots that grew I pushed back into the plant’s pot. Some of them rooted, and some of them didn’t. I continued this process for a few months until one grew a decent root system.
The root mass before untangling
Once this root passed the “tug test,” I took the entire plant out of its pot to see what I was dealing with. I worked at untangling the root system to determine where I should take the cut. I wanted to make sure I left plenty of space above and below the cutting point – the nodes of the spiritus sancti are super close together. So I trimmed back some extra foliage to make it easier to work with.
Because of the aerial root placement, I decided to take a pretty large top cutting of about 12 leaves, which in retrospect was probably way too large but I didn’t want to risk a lesser root system. I took the cut and immediately potted it in a fresh chunky potting mix of coco coir, perlite, orchid bark, charcoal, and worm castings.
The aerial root mass after untangling
I propped the cutting up with bamboo stakes to prevent the stem cutting from making contact with the potting mix. I wanted to make sure to give this plant the best shot at preventing any rot from developing. Then I added some slow-release fertilizer and gave the plant a good soak.
The top cutting after the cut
After about a week or two the top cutting was off to the races and producing new foliage. I was worried about the root system not being large enough to support such a huge cutting but it went off without a hitch. I was worried about losing the entire plant during propagation but deciding to just go for it was a really good decision.
Since the cut, the top has pushed out multiple new leaves and 8 flowers. The flowers have been progressively opening and I am in the process of trying to pollinate it. The bottom cutting has pushed 2 new growth points – both of which are producing new foliage.
Below are some more photos of the new growth points and flowers. I hope this post helps someone else who wants to cut this gorgeous plant. Please reach out if you have any questions!