There are some plants that are just easy and fun to care for. The Philodendron is one of them.
The word Philodendron comes from the Greek words philo, which means “love,” and dendron, which means “tree.” One of the most common and popular choices for a houseplant, the Philodendron is easy to nurture. These plants can grow to be relatively large, spreading their leaves wide and growing up to three feet.
If you plan on bringing one home, you'll need to know the right way to raise them. Well, in this guide, we will tell you everything you need to know about these beautiful plants. We will also give you some tips on how to care for them.
A plant that lets you know what it needs through the right signals is always easy to maintain. As a plant parent, you just need to know how to read these signals.
So, if you're ready, let's begin!
How To Raise A Philodendron
Types Of Philodendrons
There are two main types of philodendron house plants - Vining philodendrons and non-climbing philodendrons. As the name suggests, the first type of plant requires a supporting structure to climb up on. These plants will grow vertically on any structure they find.
As for the second type of Philodendron, they spread outwards as they grow. Typically, their width can be twice the size of the vining philodendron - thus, they require a lot of space to spread out and grow.
A Few Species Of Philodendrons
One of the most popular types of this plant is known as the Split Leaf Philodendron. Although this name is often used to describe the Swiss Cheese plant or the Monstera deliciosa, there are other types of Split Leaf as well.
It should be noted that though the Swiss Cheese plant is called a Split Leaf, it is not accurate. However, they are related.
The Lacy Tree Philodendron is another type, which is an upright vine with long, rope-like roots. The leaves of this plant are split into multiple sections. They have half-lobed leaves, which are their main attraction. This kind of Philodendron grows well outdoors in its natural habitat, but it is not a good indoor plant.
This plant species is popular due to its versatility, as it grows well in different conditions if taken care of. The Heartleaf Philodendron can be potted in hanging baskets, grown on green walls, and is essentially a climber plant.
With dark green foliage and heart-shaped leaves, this plant is a popular choice for indoor plant lovers. Due to its uniquely shaped leaves, it is also called the Sweetheart plant.
Although by the looks of the heart-shaped plant, it appears to be loving, this fussy plant does not love too much sunlight. This is something to keep in mind if you are planning on getting one for your home.
The Heartleaf Philodendron is a tough plant that can survive even with little care.
These sturdy climber plants can grow at a tremendous pace, reaching heights of up to 20 feet! The arrow-shaped leaves of this plant sport red or copper undersides and can grow 10 to 16 inches in length.
The plant gets its name from the reddish-purple leaves that it sports when young, slowly turning into shades of green as it ages. The Red-Leaf Philodendron requires medium sunlight to thrive.
Owing to its vibrantly colored leaves, it is a very common and popular type of house plant.
Hybrid Species Of Philodendron
This plant species is relatively new in the market. It is a hybrid of Philodendron that is known for its fast-paced growth spurts. The main attraction of this species is its unique color - red leaves, which turn brown or maroonish as they age.
Once the plant turns into an adult, the leaves open up and turn green. However, there are traces of red along with the green leaves, giving it a unique aesthetic.
Another hybrid plant was created by combining the Philodendron scandens and Epipremnum species. This climbing variant is a popular choice as a tabletop plant due to its size and growth patterns.
The Philodendron 'Brasil' plant has thick, green foliage and grows well in hanging baskets. They look incredibly aesthetic, hanging from windows, patios, and porches. The mixture of light and deep green leaves gives it an attractive and striking appeal.
Also known as 'tree philodendron,' this is a species of plant called Philodendron bipinnatifidum. This plant has a unique appeal with large leaves that resemble fingers. These make for good floor plants and are a popular choice for indoor plants.
Requiring bright, indirect sunlight, the plant has a striking, aesthetic beauty inherent to it. No wonder it is so popular amongst plant lovers. You can choose to place them outside or near your front door, in the bedroom, bathroom floors, or window sills.
As the unique name suggests, this species of Philodendron features bright, orange leaves when it is young. However, as the plant matures, the orange leaves slowly turn green.
The plant's vivid color makes it a popular choice for homes, offices, and other buildings. Moreover, it is a low-maintenance plant and survives for years with little care and maintenance.
How To Care For A Philodendron?
One of the primary reasons why the Philodendron is so immensely popular as an indoor house plant is because of how low maintenance it is. In fact, this plant can quickly adapt to most indoor environments. There are just a few things to keep in mind caring for your Philodendron plant.
The best part about this plant is that it communicates with you in its own language. You just need to understand this special language.
Observe your plant minutely and check the details, like the leaves' color, spaces between them, etc. All these are signs of the plant communicating its needs with you.
This plant has a love-hate relationship with sunlight. While it requires an adequate amount of sunlight to survive, too much may harm the plant. So how do you understand what the right amount of sunlight is for your plant?
Take a look at the leaves. If the leaves are a dark green shade, then the plant can tolerate bright, indirect sunlight. Keep your plant near a window where it receives adequate sunlight throughout the day, but never directly.
If you notice the leaves are a solid green color, you may also place them indoors where they receive bright artificial light. This makes it a perfect plant for your office desk, bedroom, or even bathroom.
However, if you notice the leaves starting to turn yellow, then the plant is receiving too much sunlight - and not liking it. It is best to move the plant to a different location where it gets slightly lesser bright sunlight.
Finally, if you notice your plant becoming leggy or having several inches between its leaves, it may mean the opposite. This is a clear sign that your plant is not receiving adequate sunlight. It's time to move it to a brighter location.
Your Philodendron does not require too much water, unlike other plants. In fact, overwatering can actually harm your plant. Be mindful of how much water you are giving.
When should you water your plant? Notice the top inch (2.5 cm) of the soil. This is the length between your index finger to the first knuckle. An excellent way to test the dryness of the soil is to insert your finger in and check the moisture level. If the soil feels moist, it isn't time for watering yet.
Another thing to keep an eye out for is droopy leaves. This might be a sign of too little water or overwatering. Once you put your plant on a consistent watering schedule, the droopy leaves will fix themselves very soon.
If the plant's leaves turn brown and fall off, it is a clear sign of underwatering, so you know what you need to do.
Although this plant isn't too fussy, extreme temperature changes can affect it, just like most other plants. It is best to maintain an ideal temperature and environment for the Philodendron.
This refers to 65 – 78°F during the day and around 60°F at night.
If you want your Philodendron to grow into a large, healthy plant, adding fertilizer may help. Fertilizers contain all the nutrients that the plant requires, which it may not be receiving otherwise.
Feeding the plant a balanced liquid foliage house plant fertilizer is a good idea. Every month during spring and summer, water the plant along with the fertilizer. Feeding it every six to eight weeks is the ideal option.
Notice your plant's leaves - if they are growing too slowly or not growing large in size, it is a clear sign. Your plant requires more macronutrients, which you can provide with the help of good fertilizers.
You should also notice the new leaves which the plant sprouts. If the leaves are pale instead of brightly colored, your plant needs fertilizers. Calcium and magnesium are two important macronutrients required by the Philodendron to grow.
Pests & Insects
Typically, the Philodendron does not attract pests and insects. That being said, certain pests like aphids and mealybugs might be found lurking around your plant.
Getting rid of them is relatively straightforward. Dip a cotton ball in some alcohol and wipe off the mealybugs with ease. To prevent the plant from attracting other insects, spray it with water and mild insecticidal soap. This can be done once in a while and doesn't require too much effort on your part.
Like any other plant, your Philodendron also requires periodic pruning. The longer the vines get, the more water, nutrients, and fertilizer it requires. Caring for super large plants always requires more effort towards caring and maintenance.
If you are looking for a truly low-maintenance experience of raising a Philodendron, consider pruning it every once in a while. Moreover, periodic pruning will help you control any pest-related issues you might be facing.
Dust & Pollution
Even indoor plants can get dusty every once in a while. It is important to wipe away the dust, as it can clog the pores of your beautiful plant, making it difficult for them to breathe properly.
Using a damp cloth, wipe the leaves of the plant every once in a while. You don't need to do this too often - remember, this is a low-maintenance plant after all! That being said, wiping down its leaves every once in a while wipes away any dirt and dust on it, enhancing its visual appeal in your home.
The Philodendron plant likes humidity. As such, it thrives in places with high humidity. So if you are bringing this plant pet to a location with high humidity, you don't need to worry.
In case you bring the plant to a place that experiences low humidity, your plant may suffer over time. To prevent this, consider misting the plant every once in a while with a spray bottle filled with water.
Although it will tolerate low humidity levels, misting it periodically will keep it bright, healthy, and happy.
Philodendron vs. Pothos, What Is The Difference?
The reason we mention this point is that these two plant species are confused by most people. Although they are extremely similar in terms of looks, they are two different plants altogether.
The Pothos plant falls under a genus called genus Epipremnum. Its leaves are slightly harder compared to the Philodendron. Furthermore, their stems are finer, compared to the rounded stems that are found in Philodendrons.
Are Philodendrons Poisonous?
In short - yes. These plants are toxic to both humans as well as pets. If you have pets or children at home, it is vital to keep these plants in a place that is away from reach, so they don't eat it accidentally.
Although these plants are a very popular choice for homeowners, it is important to consider their toxicity. In case you have cats at home, you need to keep your plants in a location where the cats cannot get to them.
Remember - cats are naturally curious creatures and are also good climbers. Keeping the plant on a window sill or tabletop might not be enough to keep your curious cats away from eating them.
These plants are known for trailing along with the floors and climbing over the edges of their containers. It is best to prune them to avoid this regularly. They should not be kept at an easy access point - for humans as well as their pets.
What Happens If You Eat A Philodendron Leaf?
Accidents can happen - maybe it happened to you, a child, or even a beloved pet. If anyone happens to ingest a Philodendron leaf by accident, the first symptom they would feel would be a burning sensation in their throat and on their lips.
Eventually, the lips and mouth, even the throat, might start to swell up. This can lead to a blocking of the airways, which can be fatal. It is imperative to take the person or pet to the nearest hospital to get them treated.
Other symptoms may include diarrhea and vomiting.
Keep in mind that it is easier for a child or an adult to vocalize their distress in case they have ingested this leaf. However, when it comes to pets, you need to observe them closely and look for symptoms.
You might notice vomiting and diarrhea in the pet as well. Keep a lookout for other symptoms such as dilated eyes, making crying sounds, or different sounds of distress. If you suspect that your pet has accidentally ingested a Philodendron leaf, take them to the nearest vet at the earliest.
Is The Philodendron Your Ideal Houseplant?
For most people, the answer would be yes. Philodendrons make excellent houseplants mainly due to how low-maintenance and adaptable they are. Moreover, these plants can adapt to various types of lighting and water conditions.
They require minimal care and attention. The fact that these plants communicate their needs and distress with you makes them even easier to care for. Look out for yellow or brown leaves, wilting leaves, dry soil, etc. These are clear signs of the plant requiring some attention and care.
Where Can You Place A Philodendron?
The best places to keep the plant are at your home office desks, bedrooms, office buildings, on the patio or deck, on window sills, and in the bathroom. Since they need bright but indirect sunlight, it is best not to place them outdoors in the garden.
If you are considering adopting a new plant pet, the Philodendron can be the ideal option.
As we mentioned, these plants require minimal care and can thrive for several years. Although they survive better in warmer climates, they will grow even in winters. Some minimal amount of care and attention will keep these plants happy and healthy for years.
We hope our comprehensive guide helped you understand a bit more about these beautiful plants. Once you learn to appreciate their own unique language, you will find these plants becoming your best indoor buddies.
Until next time, take care!