Philodendrons are actually quite easy already, but it's still good to know what they like and what they need. My goal is to share my knowledge so that you too can be confident when it comes to plant care - because really, it's not hard when you know how!
Philodendrons are not only easy care, they're also extremely forgiving plants, so if you're a new houseplant parent, Philodendrons are for you! You see, they can tolerate all kinds of neglect and will continue to love you back, giving you the time to learn how to care for them - who doesn't need a plant like that in their lives?
There are many different types of Philodendrons. Philodendron's come from tropical climates in central and south America. You may be as surprised as I was to learn, that there are over 500 different varieties!
So you've learnt that they can handle some neglect and they're easy care, but
What do they actually LOVE to ensure they thrive as much as possible?
Let's take a closer look....
💧 How often to water your Philodendron
Philodendrons prefer soil that is a little on the moist side. This isn't soggy wet, but damp. I liken it to a dishcloth that has been wrung out. So how much should you water your Philodendron? Make sure the dishcloth (soil) has been completely soaked so that there aren't patches of dry soil. Keep an eye on the soil and allow it to dry out a little but not completely, this is when to water your Philodendron.
They love a higher humidity, which isn't abundant in our NZ homes - but that's ok, they will still thrive, they just won't grow leaves as big as they could if placed in a higher humidity environment. I do recommend misting them and grouping them with other plants (any plant type will do), to naturally increase their humidity. I recommend Gro-Sure Mist and Feed to be sprayed on the leaves twice a week.
☀ How much light do Philodendron's need?
As for their lighting preference, they're anything but fussy. Philodendron can grow in low light, however they won't grow as fast as they would if placed in a bright room. Lower light levels can also impact Philodendrons that have variegation (such as Birkin and Brazil). Their variegation won't be as striking as it could be, if placed in lower light, however they will still grow and stay relatively happy.
Like most plants, Philodendron can't take full sun - this would burn their leaves and turn a happy plant unhappy, very quickly - so don't do that!
What soil do Philodendron like?
Philodendron prefer a free draining chunky soil. You can achieve this by mixing potting mix (2 parts), with some orchid bark (2 parts) and perlite (1 part).
Make them SUPER happy
We all want to make our plants happy - am I right? So listen carefully, I'm going to tell you a secret. It's not hard and it makes your plants smile. It doesn't even cost you a cent! Are you ready....?
Yup, you heard me right. If you keep the dust off your plants, they will love you more - FACT. For Philodendrons that have an abundance of leaves such as Xanadu, I usually place mine in a low pressure shower and hose them down. Why you ask? Plants need to photosynthesize to grow and they do this through their leaves. You make them have to work super hard if you don't keep their leaves dust free. So be a kind human and dust your plants - they will love you for it!
So how will you know if they're not happy?
Watch for these signs as they're easy to fix!
When Philodendron leaves turn yellow or brown
This is usually a sign that your Philodendron is under stress. Plant stress is usually caused from your watering schedule, the lighting it's placed in (likely not enough or if in direct sunlight) or due to pests. However, the most common cause is over or underwatering. Philodendrons don't like wet feet, so whilst you ideally want to give them a good drink until water comes out of their drainage holes, you don't want to keep them wet for long periods. Remember the dishcloth analogy I used earlier - damp not wet. They prefer consistency in their watering too - so that they're not cycling through a feast or famine when it comes to watering.
Don't be alarmed however, should their first leaves turn yellow - just pull these off gently. Older leaves can die off to allow the plant to put it's energy into growing lush new leaves, you will often notice these near the bottom.
Pests are another cause for discolored leaves, so check your plants regularly and if you spot pests, isolate the plant from other plants and treat the plant as soon as possible.
What causes Philodendron leaves to curl?
There are 3 main causes for this. The soil being left to dry out for too long, a lack of humidity or environmental conditions.
The most common cause would be a lack of water - your plant is likely thirsty, especially if the soil is bone dry. Philodendrons are a tropical plant and whilst they can tolerate lower humidity, they wont necessarily tolerate really dry air. So you would want to avoid having them by a heatpump or near a woodburner. They may not also like a drafty spot where perhaps the door to the outside is opening and closing often - causing large fluctuations in temperature (especially in winter).
Are Philodendron toxic to cats and dogs?
As beautiful as they are, they're not completely safe for your fur babies. They are mildly to moderately toxic for your pets if ingested. If they are ingested by your pets, contact a Vet for further advice as soon as possible.
So there you have it. All you need to know about the beautiful Philodendron. A popular houseplant due to it's easy care nature. Unlike other plant varieties, they are all so different - Philodendrons can vine (like Brazil) or produce lush vibrant leaves (like Sun Red). See under the comments section below, a glimpse of the Philodendrons we currently have in stock. Click "shop now" to see the full range.
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