Philodendrons are popular houseplants for good reason. They’re generally quite easy to care for and come in lots of different varieties and colours. Some grow as vines, making them great hanging or climbing plants. Other varieties grow upright and are perfect for desks and other surfaces around your home. This is our full guide to growing a beautiful, healthy philodendron.
Varieties and Names
1. Philodendron Scadens Brasil: The Heart Leaf Philodendron has a gorgeous cream streak through each leaf and various shades of green.
2. Philodendron Scadens Micans: This trailing plant is known for its velvety, dark green leaves.
3. Philodendron Pink Princess: This is a rare plant with dark red stems and splashes of pink across the leaves.
4. Philodendron Imperial Green: This plant has dark, glossy leaves that stand upright.
5. Philodendron White Wave: These large, heart-shaped leaves have striking white variegations.
Philodendrons like to grow in bright, indirect light. They naturally receive light filtered through a tropical canopy, so try to recreate this type of light in your home. For example, place your Philodendrons near windows with blinds. Too much direct sunlight can scorch the leaves and cause them to turn yellow, while too little light reduces growth and makes trailing plants leggy.
Temperature and humidity
These plants generally prefer warmer temperatures. Make sure to keep them away from cold draughts and air conditioning. Philodendrons grow better in humid environments so they benefit from being near a humidifier. You could also boost the humidity by using a spray bottle or cleaning the leaves with a damp cloth.
Water your Philodendron when the top two inches of soil have dried out. They like to stay evenly moist but never soggy or waterlogged. The trailing varieties are usually a bit less drought-tolerant. Remember, less water is needed in the colder months.
Philodendrons grow best in slightly acidic potting soil, but your standard soil mix will also work well. It should be aerated with good drainage. To achieve this, you could mix in orchid bark or perlite. Replacing the soil every few years helps to keep it healthy.
These plants benefit from a regular houseplant fertiliser applied once a month in the warmer months. Make sure to dilute the product according to the instructions. Philodendrons don’t specifically require fertilisation, but it will help to speed up growth and encourage larger new leaves.
Pruning and rotation
Pruning can be done for many reasons. For example, you may just be removing the odd leaf that has turned yellow. It’s perfectly normal for leaves to die off every now and then.
You may also need to prune Philodendron vines if they become too long for the space or are leggy from lack of light. In these cases, you can use the cuttings for propagation to create new plants or fill out your current plant. Cuttings with a leaf and a node can be placed in water or soil to grow roots and create new plants.
Pruning is also a great way to encourage more growth to make your vining Philodendrons healthier and more bushy. Rotating your plants around once a month can also help them grow evenly, exposing each side of the plant to the same amount of light.
Repot your Philodendron when it becomes root-bound. If the roots are very tangled, gently massage them to loosen and detangle them. Choose a new pot roughly 2 inches wider than the root ball.
Pests and diseases
Keep an eye out for common houseplant pests, such as spider mites and aphids, and be vigilant about overwatering to prevent root rot. If you notice the leaves of your Philodendron turning brown, it’s time to adjust your care routine.
There aren’t many diseases to worry about for Philodendrons, but they are susceptible to the mosaic virus. The leaves may have yellow lesions or patterns. If your philodendron is affected, remove the necessary leaves and spray down the plant with water.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Why are the leaves of my Philodendron yellowing?
Yellowing leaves could be caused by either overwatering or underwatering. Typically, the older leaves will yellow from underwatering while the younger leaves will yellow from overwatering. Keep an eye on your watering to avoid these problems.
Why are the leaves of my Philodendron browning?
Browning leaves can also be a sign of overwatering. Brown, mushy leaves or stems indicate that the roots are rotting due to waterlogged soil.
If just the edges of the leaves are browning, this may be due to the water you’re using being too cold. Alternatively, this could be a sign that the plant needs more water and less sun.
Should I fertilise my Philodendron in the winter?
It’s best to reduce or stop fertilising during the autumn and winter months when the plant is not actively growing.