In the genus Philodendron, there are hundreds of types of plants with beautiful leaves. Philodendrons are great for bringing a bit of the tropics into your home because their leaves are usually big, green, and shiny.
These popular houseplants are known for how easy they are to grow, and there are two types to choose from: ones that climb and ones that don’t.
Vining plants can grow to be several feet tall and usually need something to climb on, like a trellis or a basket. Types that don’t climb grow straight up and make good foliage plants for pots. In general, philodendrons grow quickly.
Another great plant for cleaning the air in your home is the philodendron. Even though it’s best to plant houseplants in the spring, you can start them at any time of the year. If eaten, they are dangerous for both people and pets.
Philodendrons are great houseplants because they don’t need much care, but you still need to make sure they have the right conditions to grow.
Keep your philodendron alive by trying to recreate the tropical environment it came from: Near a sunny window, there should be a lot of heat and water.
During warm weather, put philodendron houseplants outside in a shady spot to get some fresh air and natural light. Direct sunlight should be avoided because it could burn the leaves of these plants.
Wash the leaves of your plant with a damp towel every so often to keep them looking and working their best.
Pests and diseases don’t bother these plants very much. But they can get aphids, mealybugs, scale, thrips, and spider mites, which are common houseplant pests. 3 Use a natural insecticidal soap or horticultural oil to repel pests.
This plant does best in a medium amount of sun. Philodendrons need light, but they do better with dappled light under a tropical canopy than with direct sunlight. Place them near a window that lets in indirect, bright light.
If a plant doesn’t get enough light, it can grow tall and thin, with a lot of space between the leaves. But if there is too much light, several leaves may turn yellow at the same time. (Aging is usually what causes a few leaves to turn yellow.)
Philodendrons like potting soil that is loose and full of organic matter. The soil must drain well. People say that you should change the dirt in your philodendron’s pot every two or three years.
You can get rid of some of the salts by watering the container hard enough that water constantly runs out of the holes. But at some point, the soil will need to be fixed.
These plants like a moderate amount of water in the soil. Check the soil of your philodendron to see how often it should be watered. Water this plant when the top inch of soil has dried out.
Both too much and too little water can cause the leaves to droop, so don’t look at the leaves to decide whether or not to water. Instead, look at how dry the soil is. Wet soil is bad for philodendrons because it can cause root rot.
The non-climbing species can handle drought better than the climbing ones. During the winter, you should water your indoor plants less often.
Temperature and Humidity
Different species of philodendrons can handle different temperatures. In general, they shouldn’t be outside when it’s below 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Inside, they are safe from cold drafts like those that come from an air conditioner vent.
Because these plants need moisture, if you live in a dry area, you may need to add more moisture to the air around your philodendron.
To do this, water the plant every few days with a spray bottle. You could also put the pot on a tray of pebbles filled with water. Make sure the bottom of the pot doesn’t touch the water, because that could cause the roots to rot.
In the spring and summer, you should give your plant a balanced liquid fertilizer once a month. Follow the instructions on the label about how much to use.
Then, in the fall and winter, feed them every six to eight weeks. If your plant isn’t getting enough food, it may grow slowly and have smaller-than-usual leaves.
Types of Philodendron
Here are the most common types of Philodendron:
- Philodendron scandens: This plant is a very popular climber. It has heart-shaped leaves that are sometimes multicolored.
- Philodendron erubescens: This is a vigorous climber with reddish stems and leaves. The philodendron ‘Pink Princess’ variety of this species grows with heart-shaped leaves that have pink variegated sections.
- Philodendron melanochrysum: This plant is a stunning climber with dark, velvety leaves powdered in bronze.
- Philodendron rojo: This is a hybrid that stays small and manageable but retains its vigor.
- Philodendron bipinnatifidum: This is a large plant with deeply lobed leaves and is sometimes called lacy tree philodendron.
- Philodendron ‘Birkin’: This variety offers thin white stripes on its green leaves, and it’s sometimes referred to as white wave philodendron.
- Philodendron hederaceum ‘Brasil’: As a cultivar of the heartleaf philodendron, this species has signature heart-shaped leaves with lime green variegation. Philodendron micans is a similar cultivar with deep green leaves.
- Philodendron gloriosum: Unlike popular trailing varieties, philodendron gloriosum has an upright growth habit with large green leaves featuring striking white veins.
- Philodendron selloum: This extra-large variety can reach more than 5 feet wide, and its split leaves are its signature trait (not to be confused with Monstera deliciosa, which also features split leaves).
If your philodendron vines get too long or lanky, you can cut them back with pruners or scissors that have been cleaned. The best times to do this are in the spring and summer.
You can give your philodendron a light trim at any time of year to get rid of yellowing leaves and weak growth. It is best to cut the plant just above a leaf node. Take cuttings from the stems of your plants and use them to make more plants.
Getting new plants from stem cuttings:
- You will need sterilized pruning shears or heavy-duty scissors, potting mix, a pot, and, optionally, rooting hormone.
- Cut roughly a 6-inch portion of the stem, and place it in a water container to develop roots. You can introduce a rooting hormone (per the package instructions) to increase your chance of success with rooting, but it’s usually not necessary.
- Add more water as it evaporates. If sitting longer than two or three weeks in the same water, completely change the water to prevent algae or bacterial growth.
- Once several roots have developed (usually within two weeks), pot the cutting in moist soil.
Here’s how to split your philodendron:
- Philodendrons often develop plantlets that can be removed from the main plant with their roots intact and transplanted once they grow several inches long.
- The day before you plan to divide your plant, water the plant well. Dividing is traumatic for the plant, so you want your plant at its best.
- You’ll need a sharp knife, potting mix, and a new pot.
- Remove the plant from its current container, place it on a flat, steady surface, use your fingers to loosen the root ball, and pull off the plantlet with its roots. Use a knife to help you cut through dense roots if necessary.
- Replant the plantlet immediately in a fresh, moist potting mix. Use the opportunity to refresh the original plant in new potting soil or a slightly larger container (see below).
Growing Philodendron From Seed
Philodendrons take a long time to grow from seeds, but stem cuttings grow much faster. You can put a lot of seeds in a 6-inch container if you work at it. Plant a seed about 1/3 of an inch deep every 2 inches in good soil.
Put plastic around the plant. Every now and then, take off the plastic to let air flow. Spraying the soil often is the best way to keep it moist. Philodendron seeds don’t need to be soaked before you plant them.
When the soil is between 68 and 73 degrees Fahrenheit, it takes between two and eight weeks for the seeds to sprout. When the seedlings have grown roots and are strong enough to handle, put them in their own little pots. This will help the roots grow in a healthy way.
Potting and Repotting Philodendrons
Plant a philodendron in a pot that is a little bit bigger than its root ball and has lots of holes for water to drain out. When the roots of the philodendron start to grow out of the soil and through the drainage holes in the pot, it is time to repot it.
It’s best to do repotting in late spring or early summer. Choose a pot that’s one size bigger. Take your plant out of its old pot and put it in the new one. Fill the bottom and sides of the new pot with new dirt. Then give the plant a lot of water.
If you don’t live in a tropical zone, you have to bring tropical plants inside for the winter. During the winter, you can keep a lot of tropical and common houseplants alive and well inside. They are very comfortable inside.
When the days get shorter and the weather gets cooler, philodendrons need less water than they do when it’s warmer and they’re growing. Water the plant only when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch.
Before bringing the plants inside, use pruners to cut off any yellowing leaves or long, skinny stems and check for mold, rot, and bugs.
Common Problems With Philodendron
Philodendrons are easy-to-care-for plants that do well indoors and spread quickly. When they don’t get enough water, sun, and good soil, they are more likely to get sick. Here are some signs that something is wrong and what to do about them.
If the younger bottom leaves turn yellow, you may be giving the plant too much water. Most of the time, if you change these parameters, your plant will get better.
If you want to feed your philodendron, you should first wet the soil, then apply a fertilizer solution that has been diluted with water, and then water the plant again.
These extra steps make sure that the fertilizer doesn’t burn the roots, which could cause them to turn yellow.
Yellowing and Rotting Smell
Root rot could be the cause if your plant’s leaves turn yellow quickly.
If you catch the plant quickly, you might be able to save it. Check the soil for rotting smells or pull out a root to see how healthy it is.
Most of the time, you can remove the black, mushy parts of a rotting root and replant the white or yellow parts in a clean pot with new soil.
Yellow Splotches or Patterning on Leaves
There will be little yellow spots or patterns on the leaves of your plant if it has the mosaic virus.
You might be able to get rid of the virus if you help the plant fight it off. Bring the plant outside if it is still warm to give it some natural light that isn’t direct.
Keep a 2-foot space between the sick plant and the plants around it. Take off the leaves that are hurting.
Spray the remaining leaves with water to get rid of any dust on their surface. Put a diluted nitrogen-rich fertilizer on the soil to help the plant grow back stronger.
If the edges of the leaves on your plant start to turn brown, you may be shocking it by giving it too little water. Also, if your plant’s leaves get dark and soft, you may be giving it too much water.
When the edges of brown leaves start to curl, it means that the plant needs more water and less sun. Change what needs to be changed.
If the tips of your leaves are brown and have yellow rings around them, this could mean that your plant needs more humidity.
Spray the plant’s leaves with water or put the plant’s pot on top of a tray of water-filled pebbles. Keep the base of the plant above the water instead of under it.
Are philodendrons easy to care for?
They are very easy to grow and take care of, which makes them great for beginners. Philodendrons are popular because they look nice and don’t need a lot of care.
How fast does philodendron grow?
Philodendrons are fast-growing plants that can grow up to 4 inches per week in the spring and summer.
How long can philodendron live?
If the right things happen to it, this plant can live for decades.