Philodendron (Love tree) - Expert tips
How to care for Philodendron (Love tree): Care tips for indoor plants
Philodendrons are a unique and versatile choice for indoor plants since they are available in various sizes, shapes, and colours. From the classic heart-leaf Philodendron with its delicate, heart-shaped leaves to the exotic red emerald with its deep red stems and glossy green leaves, there is a Philodendron to suit any style or space.
Fun fact! Did you know Philodendrons are known as love trees? The Philodendron gets its name from the Greek words 'Philo', which means love, and 'Dendron', which means tree.
As easy-to-care-for tropical plants, Philodendrons are an excellent choice for beginners and those with busy lifestyles. Besides being incredibly adaptive, the Philodendron’s leaves are air purifiers that gather polluting particles and release fresh and clean oxygen.
In this article, we'll give you an in-depth guide on how to take care of a Philodendron and keep it healthy and happy.
Philodendron care: 10 expert tips for growing it successfully
- Give your Philodendron plenty of indirect, bright light. If grown under too dim conditions, they may become leggy and have smaller and yellow leaves.
- Avoid placing it in direct sunlight. It is possible that excessive sunlight can cause the leaves to burn, which can result in stress for the plant.
- Water your plant regularly, allowing the soil to dry out slightly between waterings. Check the soil moisture levels before watering to prevent root rot.
- Fertilise your Philodendron every other month during the growing season with a balanced liquid fertiliser to provide the necessary nutrients for growth.
- Make sure your Philodendron has drainage holes and well-draining soil. It helps to prevent root rot.
- Avoid placing your Philodendron near drafty windows or doors, as sudden changes in temperature can damage the leaves and cause the plant to wilt.
- Check your plant regularly for pests like aphids, mealybugs, and spider mites. If you notice any infestations, treat them immediately with an appropriate pest control product.
- If your Philodendron plant begins to yellow or droop, this may be a sign of over- or underwatering. Adjust your watering schedule and monitor the plant closely to ensure it recovers.
- Repot your Philodendron every year or two. Choose a pot that is slightly larger than the previous one. Ensure the soil is fresh and the plant has enough space to grow.
- Wipe the leaves of your plant regularly with a damp cloth to remove dust and debris. Philodendrons will look better, and photosynthesis will be improved!
There are several types of Philodendron houseplants, each with its own care requirements. Some Philodendrons like to climb and can even cover walls; others can be seen as miniature (indoor) trees.
Some popular types of Philodendrons include:
Heartleaf Philodendron: This type of vining Philodendron has long, heart-shaped leaves and is known for its ability to grow in low-light conditions. It requires regular watering but can be sensitive to over-watering.
Split-leaf Philodendron: Also known as Tree philodendron. This type of Philodendron has large, split leaves and can grow quite large. It prefers bright, indirect sunlight and regular watering but can be sensitive to cold temperatures.
Elephant ear Philodendron: This type of Philodendron has large, wavy, deep green leaves that resemble elephant ears. It prefers bright, indirect light and regular watering but can be sensitive to over-watering.
Red-leaf Philodendron: This type of Philodendron has dark red leaves and is known for its ability to grow in low-light conditions. It requires regular watering but can be sensitive to over-watering and low temperatures.
Overall, It's important to check the specific requirements of each variety of Philodendron you are looking after. Despite being from the same family, they may have some differences. With proper care, Philodendrons can flourish for years, providing beauty and oxygen to your home.
While Philodendrons are generally considered low-light plants, they thrive in medium to bright indirect light. Bright indirect light is a type of soft, diffused sunlight. Avoid placing them directly in the sun, as too much sunlight can scorch their leaves. In nature, they grow under the canopy of tall trees, where they only receive diffused sunlight.
If your Philodendron has smaller leaves, is leggy, and has a large gap between its leaves, it may need more light. Consider choosing a brighter spot or using grow lights.
Allow the soil to dry out slightly between waterings. This will prevent the roots from sitting in water, which can lead to root rot. Philodendrons are really sensitive to overwatering.
Tip for watering! The best time to water is when the top half layer of the soil is slightly dry. When you doubt the need to water your Philodendrons, remember that dry soil is better than moist soil. If you want to ensure the soil is not moist, use a water meter to measure it.
Droopy leaves can mean that the plant is getting too much or not enough water. Leaves will recover quickly when you correct your watering schedule. Yellow leaves can indicate the current watering routine isn't suitable for your indoor plant. Finding the proper watering routine can take some time and experimentation.
Philodendrons grow best between 19-29°C, making them the perfect houseplant for most homes. Temperatures as low as 10°C can be tolerated for a short period, but growth may be slowed or stunted.
Is it safe to take it outside in the summer (Europe)?
You can bring your Philodendron outside in summer when temperatures are warm. Be sure to get it inside before chilly nights! You should keep it out of direct sunlight and from strong winds.
As rainforest plants, they also prefer humid conditions. A humidity level of 50-60% is best, but they can also survive at a lower level. You can measure air humidity with a hygrometer or humidity sensor.
When humidity drops below 40%, it's recommended that humidity be raised to keep plants healthy. You can mist your plant's leaves with water, place it on a pebble tray filled with water, or use a room humidifier to increase humidity.
Regularly repotting your Philodendron into fresh soil is essential to its care. It helps to maintain its health and growth. When repotting, choose a pot that is one size larger than the current one to give the roots enough space to grow. Be sure to include drainage holes to prevent waterlogging.
The best time to repot a Philodendron is during the spring when the plant is actively growing. Avoid repotting in the fall or winter, as the plant is more vulnerable to stress during these dormant periods. If your Philodendron's roots are growing out of the pot or if it is experiencing any health issues, it may be safe to repot it during the winter as well.
When choosing suitable soil for your Philodendron plant, it's essential to look for a mix that is well-draining and rich in organic matter. Philodendrons do not like to sit in soggy soil, which can lead to several health problems. A good quality potting soil mixed with perlite or vermiculite will provide the drainage and aeration your Philodendron needs to thrive.
PLNTS Organic Potting Soil is ideal for all types of Philodendrons. With the right soil, your Philodendron can absorb moisture and nutrients easily, leading to healthy growth and beautiful foliage.
Your Philodendron uses all the nutrients in the soil, so you need to re-enrich the soil with new nutrients occasionally. Water the plant with liquid plant food monthly in spring and summer and every six to eight weeks in fall and winter. PLNTS Nutrition plant food contains everything needed for the healthy growth of Philodendrons.
Small leaf size and slow growth is her way of telling you that it is not getting enough fertiliser. Pale new leaves usually indicate that the plant isn’t getting enough calcium and magnesium, which are essential micro-nutrients for Philodendrons.
The most common way to propagate Philodendron plants is by division and stem cuttings. Propagation by division is best for mature plants with a dense root system, while propagation by stem cuttings is best for younger, actively growing plants. We recommend always double-checking the best way to propagate your type of Philodendron.
Easy step-by-step stem cuttings propagation guide
- Choose a healthy stem from your Philodendron plant. Look for a stem with at least one leaf node.
- Cut the stem from the main plant using clean, sharp scissors or a knife. Make sure to cut at a 45-degree angle to increase the surface area for rooting.
- Fill a small pot or container with well-draining soil, such as a mix of potting soil and perlite or vermiculite. As an alternative, you can root your stem cutting in clean water.
- Place the stem cutting in the soil. Gently press the soil around the cutting to secure it in place. Water the cutting thoroughly, and place the pot in a location with bright, indirect light. Avoid direct sunlight, as it can burn delicate cutting.
- Keep the soil moist but not soggy. Mist the cutting with water regularly, and check the soil moisture to ensure it is not drying out.
- After a few weeks, the cutting should develop roots and begin to grow. Once it is well-established, you can transplant it into a larger pot or container.
Easy step-by-step root division propagation guide
- Choose a healthy, mature plant that is ready for division. This is typically done in the spring when the plant is actively growing.
- Carefully remove the plant from its pot. Gently loosen the soil around the roots and carefully lift the plant out of the pot, being careful not to damage the roots.
- Divide the plant into smaller pieces. Using a sharp knife or pruning shears, carefully cut the plant into smaller pieces, each with its own roots and leaves.
- Plant the divided pieces in separate pots or containers. Fill the pots or containers with a well-draining soil, and carefully plant the divided pieces, ensuring they are at the same depth as they were in the previous pot. Gently press down on the soil to firm it in place.
- Water the plants well, allowing the water to drain out of the drainage holes. Avoid overwatering, as this can lead to root rot.
- Ensure the pot is placed in an area with bright, indirect light. Freshly repotted plants should not be exposed to direct sunlight.
When you take good care of your propagated Philodendron will grow into a healthy, thriving plant.
Most common pests and diseases on Philodendron plants
While Philodendrons are generally pest-free, aphids, mealybugs, scales and spider mites can infest them sometimes. These tiny insects can cause damage to the leaves and stems of the plant, leading to yellowing and wilting.
Diseases such as root rot, leaf spot, and stem rot can also affect Philodendron plants. These diseases can be caused by various factors, including overwatering, poor drainage, and a lack of sunlight.
Our PLNTS Doctor is to the rescue! On this page, you can find all the tips and tricks you need when your Philodendron shows signs of problems.
Philodendrons are a diverse and popular group of houseplants, known for their lush foliage. There are many different varieties of Philodendrons, each with its unique characteristics and appearance. Some of the most popular types include the Philodendron Scandens Micans (Heartleaf philodendron), which has small, heart-shaped leaves and is perfect for hanging baskets. Other varieties of Philodendrons include the Philodendron Gloriosum, Philodendron Verrucosum and Philodendron Melanochrysum, all of which have their unique colors and velvety leaves. Regardless of the type, Philodendrons are an excellent choice for any plant enthusiast looking for an easy-to-care-for, yet beautiful and visually interesting addition to their home or office.
Philodendron Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Are Philodendrons toxic to pets and children?
Yes, Philodendrons are toxic to pets and children. Ingesting them can lead to swollen lips, tongues, throats, vomiting, and diarrhea. So keep your babies away from each other. Sometimes it can also cause skin irritation when being pruned or handled.
Is Philodendron a good houseplant?
Yes, Philodendron is a good houseplant as it is easy to care for and adapts well to indoor conditions. Perfect houseplant for both beginners and experienced plant parents. There are many varieties of Philodendrons to choose from, so there is sure to be one to suit everyone.
How does a Philodendron differ from a Pothos?
Pothos (Epipremnum) and Heart-leaf Philodendron (Philodendron Scandens) are often confused because they both climb and have similar leaves.
A good way to differentiate them is by their leaves - Philodendron leaves are more heart-shaped than pothos. Also, Philodendron leaf petioles are round and uniform, whereas pothos petioles have indents and are not entirely round. Philodendrons have thin aerial roots, whereas pothos has wider and stubbier ones.
Do Philodendrons like sun or shade?
Philodendrons prefer diffused or filtered sunlight, not indirect sunlight. If your Philodendron gets a lot of direct sunlight, you can use curtains or shades to block it. You can also place it near a low sunlight window. Keeping your Philodendron in too shade corners inhibits their growth and makes them grow leggy.
How often should I water Philodendron?
There's no set rule when it comes to watering. It depends on the microclimate of the Philodendron's location. Your Philodendron should be watered when its soil is slightly dry - you can feel the soil with your finger or use a soil moisture meter. When the top 3-5 cm feels dry with your finger, it’s ready for new watering. Regularly check the soil under the pot near the drainage holes. Check whether the soil around drainage holes is dry or moist. Sometimes soil dries unevenly and can be very wet under the pot. As a rule, Philodendrons want more watering in the summer than in the winter.
Those with more experience with plant growing also understand the weight of the pot; a fresh-watered pot weighs significantly more than a dried one - but this feeling comes with experience.
Should I mist my Philodendron?
It's a good idea to mist your Philodendron leaves regularly if the humidity drops too low (under 40%). Ensure your water spray nozzle is set to the minimum, so the mist is fine.
What has my Philodendron stopped growing?
There are several reasons for that. Most likely, it's caused by environmental stress, nutrient deficiency, pests or diseases. In case of slow or stopped Philodendron growth, inspect the plant carefully and consider the environmental conditions and care practices it's getting. Slowly changing your habits will reveal the reasons.
Are all Philodendron climbers?
No, not all Philodendrons are climbers at heart. Some Philodendron species are upright plants that do not have air roots or other structures that allow them to climb. Some common Philodendron species with upright habits are Philodendron gloriosum, Philodendron Erubescens, and Philodendron Xanadu. These Philodendron species are climbers: Philodendron Mexicanum, Philodendron Melanochrysum, and Philodendron 'Pink Princess’.
What to do when my Philodendron leaves turn yellow?
There are several reasons why leaves are yellow. One of the most common causes is overwatering. Philodendron plants are sensitive to excessive moisture. Another common cause is underwatering. If a plant doesn't receive enough water, it enters survival mode and starts losing leaves to survive. It is also possible that your plant is suffering from nutrient deficiencies or pest infestations.
Yellowing can also be caused by natural ageing. YES, even our houseplants age! As Philodendron leaves age, they may turn yellow and wilt as they reach the end of their lifespan. This is a natural process and is not necessarily a cause for concern.
To identify the cause of yellowing leaves, it is essential to inspect the plant carefully and consider the conditions and care it receives.
What to do when my Philodendron leaves have brown spots?
Overwatering is the most common cause of brown spots on Philodendron leaves. It might be a good idea to change your watering routine. Other causes include sunburn, nutrient deficiencies, low humidity, disease leaf spots, and pest infestations.
As soon as you notice brown spots on the leaves of your plant, you should inspect the plant properly and think about your habits to adjust them slowly as necessary.
Can yellow or brown Philodendron leaves turn green again?
Once it turns yellow, it never turns green again. If you have damaged leaves, we suggest that you remove them carefully. This way, your plant looks more beautiful and encourages new growth.
Buy Philodendron online at PLNTS.com
At PLNTS.com, you can buy over 20 different types of Philodendron, like the Philodendron Birkin, the Philodendron Majesty and the Philodendron Xanadu. With so many varieties to choose from, there really is a Philodendron for everyone!
Whether you like your Philodendrons big from the start or prefer to grow them from tiny BabyPLNTS into full-grown PLNTS - buy Philodendron online at PLNTS.com!