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Philodendron plant is one of the easiest houseplants to care for. So, if you are a beginner gardener looking for low-maintenance indoor plants, this species is what you need. Today we will provide you with a helpful guide for all these tropical plants.
What is a Philodendron Plant?
Philodendron houseplants are tropical plants growing in their natural habitat in Central and South America. The plants belong to the Araceae family and are evergreen perennials. You can find 100s of Philodendron species with their unique display. Yet, the most common ones you can see are categorized into two groups. Also, depending on the cultivar, they can grow up to six feet long.
Types of Philodendrons
Caring for a Philodendron helps to know in what category it belongs to ensure your plant grows healthy.
Vining Tropical Plants
Vining Philodendrons climb with aerial roots and look exceptional in hanging baskets. You can also provide this plant family with a trellis to climb. Many confuse the Swiss Cheese Plant and the Monstera deliciosa as vining plants.
Non-Climbing Philodendron Houseplants
When you look at the non-climbing varieties, they grow in an upright position instead of climbing and may also need some support for the stem.
Now, if you want a true Philodendron, then consider one of the following varieties:
The fancy botanical name is Philodendron hederaceum, a popular plant. It is a climber with waxy foliage and heart-shaped leaves in a deep green color. Many people mistake it for Pathos.
The tropical plant goes by the name Philodendron erubescens or the red-leaf Philodendron. It is a vining Philodendron with reddish stems and leaves.
Lacy Tree Philodendron
The Philodendron bipinnatifidum or Philodendron selloum is a non-climbing variety with serrated glossy green leaves.
The plant you find is a variegated heartleaf Philodendron with different shades of yellow leaves.
Taking Care of The Philodendron Genus
The good news is you need not be born with a green thumb to care for Philodendron spp. With some simple plant care tips, you can easily keep your plants healthy, and yes, some extra TLC also helps.
Soil for a Philodendron
One thing the Philodendron plants love is a loose potting mix filled with organic matter. The essential thing with these plants is proper drainage holes. If you grow them in containers, we recommend replenishing the soil every few years, depending on its growth.
Another important note is that these plants are susceptible to salt accumulating in the soil from watering. Hence, it helps flush the salt out using water to run through the pot and the drainage holes.
Still, you will need to provide them with fresh potting mix after a while to remove all the salt build-up.
Light Exposure for a Philodendron
These species prefer growing in partial shade but still need sun but mostly receive dappled light in the rainforests. You can set your indoor plants by a window with bright indirect light. When your plant receives too little light, it can lead to leggy growth resulting in loads of space between the foliage. Yet, too much sun can make the leaves turn yellow.
Watering Needs for Philodendron to Prevent Root Rot
The Philodendron grows well with soil moisture that is on the dry side. To find the correct watering schedule, it helps to check the soil. When you find the top inch of the soil dry, it helps to water your plant.
Whether you over or underwater your plant, the leaves will look drooped, and the best is to keep checking the soil. The concern is that the plant does not do well in soggy soil resulting in root rot.
But you may find that your non-climbing varieties are more drought tolerant than your vining Philodendrons. We recommend reducing your watering in winter for your indoor plants.
It helps to feed your indoor and outdoor plants monthly with a balanced liquid fertilizer in spring and summer.
The best is to follow the instructions provided on the label. You can reduce your feeding to every six weeks in fall and winter.
Philodendrons are very quick-growing plants, but they tend to grow slower if they do not get enough food, and the leaves appear smaller.
Temperature & Humidity
The temperature that works best for your plant varies depending on your species. Yet, it usually helps not to expose your tropical plants to temperatures below 65°F. When grown indoors, please protect them from air-conditioner vents and cold drafts.
Your plant loves humidity, and it might be needed to boost the moisture levels around your plant. It helps to do this if you do not live in a tropical climate. You can mist your trailing vines to help Philodendron grow healthy.
Alternatively, a tray with pebbles filled with water also helps. But ensure it does not touch the water.
Maintaining Your Plant
When your plant becomes root bound, we recommend planting them into a larger container than the root ball. The ideal time to do this is in late spring or early summer. Once you place your plant in fresh soil, you can give it a good watering.
Another important note is to overwinter your outdoor plants inside the home. Also, water is less during the winter than in the warmer seasons. Before you bring your Philly indoors, you can give it a pruning to remove the leggy stems.
We recommend using sterilized pruning shears and checking for disease and pests before bringing them inside. You can also trim your plant to remove yellow leaves or spindly growth.
The best is to cut above a leaf node and use the stem cutting to propagate your plant.
Propagating Philodendron Plants
Everyone loves a Philodendron brasil, heartleaf Philodendron, or a split leaf Philodendron. So, the best way to gift family and friends with this beautiful plant is through division or stem cuttings. The best time to do this is by following these two methods in spring.
You can cut a six-inch portion of the stem with sterilized pruning shears. You can then place the cutting in water to root. Using rooting hormone is optional, but it does increase your chance of achieving a successful rooting.
Please keep checking the water and add more as it evaporates and refresh the water often. Once enough roots develop, you can pot your new plants in moist soil.
Another excellent method to produce more tropical plants is through division. Your Philodendron sometimes develops plantlets you can remove from the mother plant keeping the roots intact.
But before you do this, it helps to water your plant a day before the time to prevent stress. Then remove your plant from the container and loosen the root ball with your fingers. You can then pull the plantlet off with the roots.
If needed, use a sterilized knife to cut through the dense roots. Now, you can plant the new plants in moist potting soil.
Philodendron Plants Diseases & Pests
Care for a philodendron; it helps to provide them with no direct sunlight, drain excess water, and give them fertilizer. But your plant can get some wellness issues as follow:
Yellowing leaves can result when you water your plant with too cold water. Another thing is it can be from not getting bright indirect light or being exposed to direct sunlight. If you find the older foliage turning yellow, it can result from underwatering, while younger leaf sets with yellow color are from overwatering.
Yellow with a rotting smell can be a sign of root rot. If caught in time, you can save your plant. A sign of root rotting is a foul smell in the soil, and best to dig up the roots to check the plants’ health. You can then cut the mushy roots away to replant the healthy white to yellow roots in a sterilized container with fresh, moist soil.
Yellow leaf splotches can result from the mosaic virus. If temperatures outside are still warm, take your plant out for some natural light. Still, please keep it away from other plants and remove the affected leaves. You can then hose the leaves down from dust and provide your plant with nitrogen-rich fertilizer in the soil.
Brown leaf edges can result from too cold water, and if the foliage turns mushy, it can be from too much water. When the brown leaves curl, they are from too much light and need more water.
Browning leaf tips with yellow hallos are a sign that your plant needs more moisture. You can mist the leaves to add humidity or use a humidifier or pebble tray.
Where Can You Buy Philodendron Plants?
You can find the Philodendron genus in many local nurseries as they are not rare plants. Yet, the best part is you can see from vining to non-climbing Philodendrons at Plantly to add to your tropical collection.
Whether you want to buy, sell or simply reach out to other plant enthusiasts, Plantly is the right place to be!