With its large and vibrant green leaves, the Philodendron has become a staple in many home gardens. This exotic houseplant can be in a hanging basket, left to climb up a trellis, or kept in a ceramic pot on your desk. Versatile and hardy, with the right Philodendron care, you can have this plant for decades!
Philodendrons are luckily easy to take care of. This is a tolerant plant that is perfect for people new to plant ownership. The Philodendron can grow into a beautiful, striking centerpiece for any room with very minimal care, offering cleaner air and a vibrant flair to any home.
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What is a Philodendron?
There are hundreds of species of Philodendron, most of which make beautiful, hardy houseplants. Some species are on the paler side of the spectrum, but plants like the Rabbit Foot Fern and Philodendron have deep, dark leaves. Their large leaves are a glossy green, giving your room a tropical vibe and a touch of much-needed life and vibrance.
There are two types of Philodendron you’ll most likely come across: vining and non-climbing. The vining variation can grow up to several feet, but they’ll need a structure to climb up. Most plant owners choose a trellis or have them hanging from a basket. The non-climbing Philodendrons can be kept in containers — but keep in mind that they will grow twice as large as the vining variety (around 10 feet).
Philodendrons are quite popular for interior gardens. That’s because they are known to be pretty forgiving too. They are able to tolerate low light, poor soil, and forgetful watering. Of course, they require simple care to stay healthy and thrive indoors.
Is a Philodendron Easy to Care For?
As previously noted, the Philodendron is super easy to care for. That’s part of its appeal. It adapts easily to living in your home, no matter the conditions. Forgot to water? Fine. Not getting enough light? That’s okay, too.
Even though the Philodendron is an easy plant to care for, it’s important to keep in mind the best practices for Philodendron care. By following some simple steps, you can ensure that your Philodendron is always looking its best, growing its fastest, and feeling happy and healthy!
Can You Grow a Philodendron Plant Indoors and Outdoors?
Unlike many houseplants, the Philodendron can easily adapt to being inside or outside — the change won’t stress them out like other plant species.
Philodendron can be grown outside year-round if you live in a state with warm weather (it can’t get below 55 degrees Fahrenheit). Outdoor Philodendron will also need to be fed granular food every three to four months.
What Are the Benefits of a Philodendron?
Philodendron plants are not just a gorgeous, tropical addition to your living room decor! NASA has listed this species as one of the air purifying plants that can make a space healthier and cleaner. Philodendron use photosynthesis to utilize carbon dioxide in the air to release oxygen into the atmosphere. But this houseplant can remove other toxins as well. Keep a couple of Philodendrons in your living room or bedroom to reap its benefits.
Plants that purify the air fight off sick building syndrome, which leaves people with allergy-like symptoms or even chronic diseases due to unhealthy air quality. Keep another Philodendron in your office space for an extra boost of clean air.
How to Care for a Philodendron
This versatile and tough plant can live for decades. One woman in Pennsylvania had a Philodendron that lived over 40 years — and it was included in her will! With the right care, a Philodendron will definitely not just be a fixture in your home — it will be a permanent part of your family!
Philodendron have great survivability and will adapt to most households, whether you plan to keep it strictly indoors or have plans to let it spend some time outside. We have some basic tips below that will make sure your Philodendron is healthy and thriving!
Finding the Right Pot
Choose a pot for your Philodendron that drains properly so the water doesn’t remain too soggy. Plant experts recommend a glazed ceramic pot, a plastic pot, or a hanging basket. Make sure the pot is one to two inches larger in diameter than the plant’s root ball. Re-pot your plant when it becomes root bound, which is about every two to three years.
Choosing the Right Soil
Philodendrons need soil with good drainage. The potting soil should be loose and rich in organic matter — but avoid salt. Philodendrons in a container should have their soil replaced every couple of years to avoid a salt buildup.
Watering a Philodendron
This tropical plant prefers a moderate amount of moisture in its soil. The best way to make sure your Philodendron has enough water is to only water when the top inch of soil has dried out. You can use a toothpick or your finger to make sure. You definitely don’t want their soil to get soggy.
The non-climbing varieties of Philodendron are known to be a bit more drought-resistant than the vining species. So keep your chosen Philodendron variety in mind when planning your watering routine. In general, you’ll want to water your plant once every one or two weeks.
Placement and Lighting
Philodendrons thrive in partial sunlight, although they can tolerate low and indirect light as well. Think about where they are from — a tropical rainforest. They would never get direct sun under a tropical canopy and are much more used to getting dappled light like they would in the rainforest.
When your Philodendron is inside, try placing them by a window that gets bright, indirect light. In warmer climates, the Philodendron can be outside in a sunny spot that gets shade midday (when the light is at its most intense). The plant will do fine with considerable shade as well.
Pruning Your Philodendron Plant
Plant experts recommend not pruning your Philodendron unless you are absolutely sure it needs it. You’ll notice your plant looks long and “leggy.” When pruning this plant, you want to make sure what you’ve done isn’t noticeable. The plant should have its same shape and appearance afterward.
You can trim your Philodendron any time of year, although spring and fall are ideal. Before you begin, make sure your tools are sterilized. After they are sterilized, rinse them thoroughly to make sure no bleach touches your plant — it can be corrosive.
Start with the longest and oldest stems, especially if they have yellowing or curling leaves. Some old stems may be completely leafless. Using a sterile knife or pruning shears, cut the stem where it meets the main part of the plant (or soil level). Pinch the tips of the vines (above the leaf node) if it’s a climbing variation. Pruning this way will ensure that your plant grows bushier and healthier.
Humidity and Temperature
The Philodendron should never be in temperatures below 55 degrees Fahrenheit. When kept indoors, make sure your plant is not near cool drafts or air conditioning.
Since they are from the rainforest, this tropical plant loves humidity. If you live in a dry climate, you might want to mist your Philodendron every few days with a spray bottle. Some Philodendron owners will also place the plant’s container on a tray of pebbles and water. The pebbles ensure that the Philodendron’s container never touches the water, keeping them safe from root rot.
Feeding a Philodendron Plant
In the spring and summer, Philodendrons can be fed a balanced liquid fertilizer each month. Reduce feeding to about six to eight weeks in the fall and winter (when the plant isn’t growing). Feeding will ensure that your Philodendron grows faster and gets bigger leaves.
Common Philodendron Care Issues
The Philodendron is generally an easy-going plant. But sometimes, things go wrong. Luckily, the Philodendron usually makes it known when there’s an issue. So let’s take a closer look at some of the common issues your plant can experience and how to spot them before it’s too late.
When the Philodendron is overwatered, you’ll see that its leaves are yellow. Some of them may also start to drop. Philodendrons don’t like to sit in soggy soil, which can lead to root rot.
You’ll notice that the leaves are droopy and yellow when your Philodendron is not getting enough water. The non-climbing varieties have a bit more drought tolerance than the vining species, but both still need water once every one or two weeks (or whenever the top inch is dry).
Too Much Salt
The Philodendron is sensitive to salts that accumulate in the soil due to watering. You’ll notice that your plant’s leaves are brown or yellow. If you suspect that there’s a salt buildup, periodically flush out the salts by watering the container thoroughly until you see water leaving the drainage holes. The soil will eventually need refreshing or replacing entirely.
Too Little Light
If your Philodendron isn’t getting enough sunlight, you’ll notice that the growth is leggy and elongated with a lot of space between each leaf.
Too Much Light
If your Philodendron is in direct light, its leaves will turn yellow. If you see that most of their leaves are yellow, you probably need to choose a different location for your plant.
How Do I Know if My Philodendron is Dying?
A dying Philodendron will cry out for help when it’s experiencing root rot or root disease. You’ll see that the plant’s stem is black. When you touch it, you’ll feel that it’s soft. This means that your Philodendron is definitely in trouble and in need of some TLC. You might even have to remove the dead parts and transfer your plant to a different pot with new soil.
Is a Philodendron Poisonous?
Since this plant’s leaves and stems are high in calcium oxalate, eating Philodendron can be toxic to people and pets. Here’s what to look for if you believe that your pet has been poisoned:
- Lack of appetite
- Appears to be in pain
- Blisters in their mouth
If you notice any of these symptoms, call a veterinarian immediately. If you don’t have any location to keep your Philodendron out of your pet’s reach (which can be hard with cats), it’s recommended that you don’t get one of these plants. Or put them in a room that your pet doesn’t have access to.
Final Thoughts – Philodendron Care
Philodendron plants are beautiful and easy to take care of — a perfect combination for any houseplant. It’s no wonder they are growing in popularity!
Make sure your home is warm, you’re misting your Philodendron frequently, and you’re watering it every one or two weeks. This fast-growing plant will flourish with the right care, offering glossy, green leaves that brighten up any room.
Always make sure you’re looking out for warning signs that your Philodendron is overwatered, underwatered, or not getting enough light. You’ll soon figure out the perfect formula for keeping your Philodendron healthy, thriving, and beautiful.