How to care
for your Philodendron
The Philodendron is the second largest member of the Aracae family with nearly 500 species – that’s one helluva family tree – and they’re classified into two types: vines and non-climbers. Originating from the Caribbean, Colombia and Venezuela, the Philodendron is a real globe trotter since they’ve also made their way to Asia. Like its cousin, the Pothos, Philodendrons are easy houseplants with a reputation for their air-cleaning capabilities and quick growth. Large, green and glossy, Philodendron give off a real jungle-y vibe that you can easily bring into your home or office … without the rest of the jungle. Like we said above, some varieties are climbers while others are not, but the latter tries just as hard and appreciate your words of encouragement.
Easy to care for, easy to prune and easy to propagate, Philodendrons are perfect for first timers. If you see any discolored leaves, dead stems or aerial roots, just give them a quick snip with a clean and sharp pair of garden scissors for a clean look; otherwise, Philodendrons don’t need regular pruning. They grow all season-round and thrive in a variety of conditions – aren’t you already in philo? (Greek for love).
Philodendrons thrive in bright, indirect sunlight – so the perfect spot is near a window. Like most plants, just make sure the sun isn’t directly cooking its foliage. If your Philodendron starts getting too many yellow leaves, then it’s likely getting too much sunlight (if it’s just 1 or 2, that’s totally normal – don’t worry – breathe – you’re doing a good job – we promise).
On the opposite spectrum, if your Philodendron is getting too little light, the leaves can look pale, which is direct contrast of the rich, green colour you’re used to seeing. Lastly, in low-light conditions, the vines can stretch and leaf growth might be sparse. We recommend moving it to a brighter spot – or don’t – if you prefer the look of it this way.
We recommend you let the top inch of the soil to dry out in-between watering. Give it the stick test – carefully poke a wooden stick two inches into the top layer of soil – if it comes out plain then water. iI there’s soil on the stick then refrain from watering.
Like all indoor plants – we highly suggest you plant the Philodendron in a pot with drainage holes to allow excess water to escape since they don’t do well sitting in soggy soil. If the leaves start to look droopy – then it’s an indication that your plant is getting too much or not enough water – the good ol’ stick test will help you determine which. If the edges are browning or drying up, then you’re underwatering. If leaves turn yellow, this could be a sign of overwatering.
Since Philodendrons are tropical pants, they prefer a higher humidity environment – it’ll help promote their shiny foliage. If you don’t have a humidifier, we recommend misting the plant or placing your plant on top of a pebble tray submerged in water. If you get brown tips – that generally means the humidity is too low. The more plants you have in your home, the more humid your environment will be #blessed.
Thanks to their jungle ancestry, Philodendrons prefer 18 to 25°C conditions to thrive. If you see any dark patches on its foliage, it might be an indication that your Philodendron is feeling the chill – either from a cold draft or your icy exterior (just kidding). Simply prune the leaf and move it to a warmer location.
The Philodendron is considered one of the most toxic plants to pets – so you’ve got a very, very difficult choice to make. You chose the Philodendron, right? Good job.
Other fun facts:
- Add some Greek vocab to your lexicon – and by some, we mean two. The Greek words "philo" means "love" and "dendron" means "tree".
- The perfect time for Philodendron propagation is during the growing Spring season when the birds are singing, park hangs are a thing, the weather is warm and the humidity is high.
- If you have a pet bat or monkey – then forget the pet-friendly warning. Philodendrons are an important source of food for them in the wild (hasn’t been tested on domesticated bats or monkeys, so experiment at your own risk!)
- Coffee grounds are an efficient source of nutrition for plants, but they must be used in moderation, and Philodendrons have a high tolerance if you overdo it when mixing the used coffee grounds into their potting soil.
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