How to Grow and Care for Philodendron

Philodendron

Quick Overview

Plant Type: Perennial
Family: Philodendron
Sun Exposure: Partial
Watering: Moderate. Well-drained soil
Colors: Green foliage - no flowers
Size: 1–20 ft. tall, 1–6 ft. wide
Hardiness Zones: 9-11
Soil Type: Loamy
Soil pH: Acidic
Propagation: by cuttings
Toxicity: Toxic to pets and people

Houseplants are rising in popularity. More and more people are picking up the hobby. The Philodendron is one of the most common houseplants on the market and is easy to care for. You don’t necessarily need a green thumb to add a Philodendron to your home or office. Learning what they need is the key to keeping them happy.

These green plants do not flower but will still brighten up your space. Making sure you are providing your Philodendron with the perfect amount of water and sunlight will keep them thriving. A happy plant will be a great addition to your home.

About the Philodendron

Looking to add a houseplant to your home’s decor? Look no further than the Philodendron. It is known to keep the air clean while also brightening up your space. The look depends on the type. They are often large, leafy green plants that can produce vines. The vining plant will need some sort of support. That could be a nice pot or a trellis depending on the growth. Other Philodendron types do not climb and thus do not need a support system.

These are great houseplants. They are native to Central and South America. The name is Greek in origin and translates to “love tree”. 

Read also: How to Grow and Care for Tradescantia Zebrina (Wandering Jew)

Philodendron

How to Grow the Philodendron

Philodendrons are easy plants to grow and manage. When given the optimal soil and watering conditions, these plants will grow at an impressive rate. When growing it, it’s important to select the right container. Your Philodendron will be happiest in a pot where its roots take up roughly a third of the container. This will give it room to grow without being too big. It can also prevent waterlogging. These plants are resilient under stress, but providing it with the best container will lead to more growth.

Propagation

If you are looking for a plant that is easy to propagate, this is the plant for you. The vining Philodendron can be easily propagated by cutting off a piece of the vine. All you will need is a six-inch cutting of the stem and a cup of water. Once it has developed many long roots, it’ll be ready to pot in soil. A four-inch pot will do the trick for your newly propagated tropical plant.

Propagating your non-vining Philodendron is not as simple but is still doable. If you see your non-vining plant showing plantlets, you can take them off and plant them directly in the soil.

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Varieties

There are many members of the Philodendron family: Philodendron scandens, Philodendron erubescens, and Philodendron melanochrysum are all tall-growing plants. They range in color and size. Philodendron scandens is the most popular of the climbing variety. They have easily identifiable heart-shaped leaves that can sometimes be multicolored.

Philodendron rojo is a hybrid variety. It will not grow as tall as the varieties mentioned above, but is hearty regardless. Philodendron bipinnatifidum is the largest, non-vining plant in the family. This one grows lobed leaves. These are just a few of the most popular varieties. Visiting any plant shop or garden center will introduce you to many different varieties you could add to your home.

Caring For Your Philodendron

Caring for these houseplants can be a simple task. As long as you are providing the right environment and a good amount of water, your plant should stay happy and healthy. Keep handy this research from the University of Florida for a complete list of pests and diseases that could affect your Philodendron.

Watering Your Philodendron

Your Philodendron will be happiest with moist soil. They enjoy a moderate amount of water. But, these plants respond to over and underwatering quickly. Their leaves will droop if they’ve either had too much or too little water. You can avoid this by waiting to water until the top inch of soil is dry. The type of Philodendron in your home will also need to be taken into consideration when it comes to watering. Vining plants will need more consistent waterings. Non-vining varieties can see longer periods between waterings. No matter the type, Philodendrons do not like to sit in soggy soil. This can cause the roots to rot, so monitoring water intake is important. You can buy a watering gauge at your local garden center if you are worried about how much water your Philodendron is getting. These will help you understand exactly when to water your houseplants.

Pruning Your Philodendron

These plants are easy because they do not need pruning. If you find your Philodendron is growing too fast, you can cut the vines that are too long. You can take those cuttings and propagate them! If you are unhappy with the way your plant looks, feel free to prune it. Pruning is not necessary for new growth.

Philodendron

Fertilizing Your Philodendron

Your plant will enjoy the use of a liquid fertilizer in it’s peak growing season. In spring and summer, using fertilizer once a month will help support growth. The fertilizer will help your Philodendron’s leaves grow bigger and stronger. It will also help speed the growing process up. Come fall and winter, you can fertilize the plant bi-monthly. If you notice your plant is growing slower and the leaves look smaller, you may need to increase fertilization. The more nutrients the Philodendron gets, the faster it will grow.

Soil

Picking the right soil is important when potting your plant. The looser the soil the better. The Philodendron needs a soil that drains well, especially when potted. The risk of waterlogging is high with these plants, so make sure you pick a soil that drains well. If you notice your plant’s leaves are turning yellow, it’s a good idea to change the soil. This could be a symptom of salt buildup in the pot. They are sensitive to salt in their container. You can try to avoid this by using loose soil and watering thoroughly until water is released from the pot’s drainage holes.

Light

With most houseplants, finding the spot in your space with the best lighting is key. The Philodendron is no different. These plants enjoy partial sunlight. They would be happiest near a window that lets in a good amount of sun. It’s important to make sure the tropical plant does not get direct sunlight. Direct sunlight can burn your plant’s leaves. Too little sunlight can stunt the Philodendron’s growth. Finding a perfect spot with partial sunlight is the secret to a happy houseplant. 

Climate

These plants are native to tropical canopies. Due to this, you may need to provide some humidity to your Philodendron houseplant. This can be easily mimicked with a spray bottle. Spraying down your plant every few days is recommended. If you live in a dry climate, keeping your green friend in the bathroom can help provide them with humidity support as well.

Though these plants originate from a tropical climate, they can be tolerant of colder temperatures. As long as your home does not get below 50 degrees, the Philodendron will survive. Keeping your plant away from drafts and air conditioning vents can help protect it as well.

Toxicity

It is important to keep in mind that these plants are toxic. They are unsafe for both pets and humans to consume. The steams and leaves both are high in a chemical that is toxic. If you have pets or small children in your home, keep these plants up and away from their reach.

If you notice a pet or human in your house drooling, vomiting, having diarrhea or not eating, they may have eaten your Philodendron. There is also the chance of mouth blisters, swelling and pain.  These are the most common symptoms of poisoning. If you see any of these symptoms, seek help from a doctor or veterinarian.

The good news is most people and pets would have to consume a large amount of Philodendron leaves or stems for a severe reaction. These plants are safe to have in your home as long as you watch your young and furry family members.

Before You Go

As houseplants have grown in popularity, so has the Philodendron. This tropical plant comes in many varieties and is easy to care for. Finding the perfect loose soil is ideal for keeping these plants happy. It is also important to find a partial sunny spot in your home for them to sit in. Watering too often or too little can cause problems, so keep an eye on the top inch of soil to make sure your plant has enough water. These plants love humidity, so buy yourself a spray bottle and mist away!

Like some houseplants, they can pose a risk of poisoning to your plants and kids. The chance of serious poisoning from them is slim, but it is still recommended to keep them up and away in your home.

With such an easy care routine for the Philodendron, they make great houseplants for everyone! Whether you are an experienced gardener or a beginner, you can’t go wrong with a Philodendron!

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