If you’re looking to make your home or backyard a bit more jungle-like, philodendron is a great plant to do the job.
The first thing you’ll notice when you become acquainted with the philodendron, is that they come in two types: climbing and non-climbing.
The climbing types include Philodendron Hederaceum var. Oxycardium which make for popular basket plants. The climbing philodendron create rootlets across their stems which help them climb, and when cared for and placed correctly, these look wonderfully exotic.
The non-climbing philodendron types produce leaves from a tip at the plant’s base. These types typically grow big leaves and are therefore not great for certain homes due to their impressive size. However, if you have room for them, go for it. They’re truly beautiful.
Take Philodendron Bipinnatifidum for example, as one of the most beloved non-climbing philodendrons with large leaves, they look absolutely gorgeous indoors.
It should be noted, however, if you have animals or small children to keep the plant out of reach as philodendrons are toxic when eaten.
Although some philodendron plants are popular among gardeners and homeowners, taxonomically speaking, the genus is still not well-known. There remain many undescribed species of philodendron.
However, like a woman born under the Pisces zodiac, the beautiful and mysterious attributes of these plants are part of their allurement.
All About The Beautiful Philodendron
Philodendron is derived from the Greek words of, “love” (philo-) and “tree” (dendron).
A flowering plant belonging to the arum family, philodendron contains roughly 900 species with North, Central, and South American origins.
Today, philodendrons can be found all over the world, although they much prefer moist, tropical rainforests, river banks, and swamps. Many different philodendrons are used as house plants.
Sadly, wild philodendron species are nearing extinction due to the increased destruction of rainforests.
For many years, philodendrons have been used in interior gardens. They’re easy to take care of because the plant has a special way of telling you exactly what it needs, without having to read between the lines.
They also adapt easily to indoor conditions, making them great plants to have, even for the most inexperienced of gardeners.
Year-round, philodendrons thrive indoors without issue, however taking the plant outdoors once in a while gives the soil a chance to flush itself out and clean the leaves with a bit of rain or with help from its owner.
Unlike other plants, philodendrons don’t experience much stress when being moved from indoor to outdoor environments.
The Two Types Of Philodendron
As mentioned earlier, there are two types of philodendron plants: climbing (or vining), and non-climbing.
If you’ve adopted a vining type of philodendron, such as heartleaf philodendrons, make sure you get a post or something for it to climb up.
If you’ve chosen a non-climbing philodendron such as a bird’s nest philodendron, be prepared for an upwards and spreading growth tendency. The width of non-climbers can be twice their height so make sure you give them lots of room.
Is My Plant A Pothos Or A Philodendron?
Quite often, philodendron plants are confused with pothos plants.
This is because the leaves and nature of both plants are quite similar, however pothos plants are usually marked with hints of white or yellow color.
Pothos plants are also much smaller.
Exactly Where Should You Grow Philodendrons?
When grown in the wild, philodendrons are found underneath the tree canopy, which is why they can survive quite easily in low light, and therefore work great as house plants.
Even though philodendrons are native to frost-free, tropical areas, they’re also able to thrive in less-humid home environments.
Taking this into consideration, you should grow your philodendrons in indirect light while indoors, since direct sunlight can burn the leaves.
When planting outdoors, make sure you place your philodendrons under trees and in low-light areas to help the plant happily climb up the tree under the perfect conditions.
How To Plant Philodendrons For Optimal Growth
Now, let’s get to the most important step of growing a philodendron: its birth.
First, find yourself a plastic or ceramic pot, or a hanging basket that is 1-2 inches bigger in diameter than your plant’s root ball.
Next, fill a third of the pot with an indoor potting mix containing no bark or compost as these materials tend to house fungus gnats.
After that, position the plant to allow the top of the root ball to sit an inch below the top of the container. That way you’ll have space to water your philodendron without having water overspill.
Fill in around the root ball and then place the plant into your sink and soak the soil well.
Before hanging it up, let the soil dry enough to stop dripping.
How To Water And Feed Philodendrons
After the first good soak, you’ll need to know how to water your philodendrons properly on a regular basis.
Philodendrons love soil that is constantly moist, but not mucky. Therefore, make sure you water your plant only when the top inch of the soil is dry.
About a month after planting, you can begin feeding your philodendron with a specialized plant food, or fertilizer. Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to do so. This will give your plants all the nutrients they need to thrive.
Usually, you’ll add the feed to the soil directly and water the plant as usual.
How To Stake Your Philodendrons
If you want to encourage your philodendron plant to climb a bit higher, you can install a trellis or post.
The trick is providing enough rough surface so that the plant can grab hold.
You can do this several ways. Two popular methods are by using a square, rope-wrapped dowel (2-inches wide) or by making a moss pole.
Check out this DIY project here.
How To Prune Your Philodendrons
While you might be nervous to chop this plant you’ve grown so lovingly, don’t worry, pruning is beneficial for your plant.
If you notice the stems of your philodendron plant becoming a bit long, you can easily clip off 6 inches of stem. Find the longest stems your philodendron is producing, grab your clipping scissors and snip away.
If it hurts your heart too much to throw the clipped parts away, you can grow more philodendrons by removing all the leaves, except for the highest 2 or 3 on each stem, and placing them in lukewarm water!
Once these little stems begin to grow roots, you’ll be able to plant them in a small pot.
Also, remember that soil in clay pots dry faster than soil in glazed or plastic containers. So, while being eco-friendly, you’ll also need to check the soil more often.
During winter season, plant growth will slow, so you won’t need to water your plants as frequently.
Final Recap On How To Grow And Care For Philodendron
So, we’ve covered everything you need to know on how to grow and care for your new philodendron plant. As a summary that also works as an easy reference, we’ve listed the points again below for your convenience:
1. Philodendron Plants Need Certain Sunlight
Put the plant in a location with indirect sunlight. Find a place where the sunlight doesn’t touch the foliage, but that’s bright enough to receive some warmth.
While it’s usual for older leaves to become yellow, if you see it happening to multiple leaves during the same time, the plant may be getting too much sun.
However, if the stems become too leggy, showing inches between the leaves, the plant is likely not getting enough sun.
2. Watering Your Philodendron
Make sure the first inch of soil dries out between watering. As a general rule, the length of your index finger is about an inch, which allows for a good on-the-go measuring “stick”.
Saggy leaves can indicate that the plant is getting either too much or not enough water. However, they tend to recover quickly once on a proper watering routine.
3. Fertilize Your Philodendron Properly
You’ll need to feed your philodendron plant with a houseplant fertilizer that includes macro-nutrients.
Make sure to water your plant with the fertilizer every month during spring and summer and every 6-8 weeks during fall and winter.
Small leaves and slow growth indicate your plant isn’t getting enough fertilizer.
We Wish You a Happy Growing Season
And there you have it, everything you need to know about growing philodendron plants.
Philodendron plants can basically grow under any type of care, being one of the easiest and most adaptable plants there are. However, it’s still good to learn how to care for them properly so that they return that love through tall, green and beautiful foliage, rewilding and beautifying your home.