Philodendrons are one of the most durable, popular, and tolerant of all the houseplants. Philodendron exists as a number of species. Each of the species is unique to themselves, with different and distinguishing characteristics such as shape, color, and the size of the leaf. While some species remain in a shape that classifies them as a shrub, others are climbers. The common feature among all these species is their capability to withstand and go through adverse and extreme conditions. The plant species was classified by NASA as a great air purifier for getting rid of toxicants from the air.
Philodendron Technical Details
Scientific Name: Philodendron
Common Name: Different names for different species
Origin: Tropical America
Height: Depends on the environment and species
Light: Medium Light Intensity
Soil: Mediocre Draining Soil
Hardiness: USDA zones 8 – 11
Temperature: Varies for species
Diseases: Bacterial Leaf Spots, Blight Philodendron Selloum
Propagation: By Stem Cuttings, Air Layering, or Offsets Removal (Depending upon species)
Uses: Air purifier, Indoor Plant
The plant must be set in a location that has a bright, but indirect, exposure to sunlight. A position near a window where the sun-rays would not touch the plant body would be an excellent place to keep the plant. Old leaves of the philodendron family are known to turn yellow. However, too many leaves turning yellow at the same time is an indication of the plant getting too much exposure to sunlight. Relocate to an area with less sunlight exposure, if this happens with your philodendron plant. If the philodendron plant is growing with leggy and long legs, having a gap of many inches between consecutive leaves, it is an indication of insufficient sunlight exposure. Getting the right amount of sun exposure is the key to the Philodendron’s health.
While the philodendron is growing, make sure to leave about an inch of soil on the surface dry between consecutive watering sessions. A good method to check this is to insert your finger in the soil and find out the depth of the soil up to which it is dry. For a rough measure, the distance from your first finger up to the tip of your finger is about an inch. A deficiency of water is indicated by the plant by drooped leaves. However, the recovery of the drooped leaves is quite quick once you water the plants adequately. Overwatering of the plant must be avoided, with sufficient time interval being provided between successive watering.
Macro nutrients contained in a balanced liquid foliage fertilizer for houseplants is required to be fed to all the philodendron house species. The plant must be watered along with the fertilizer once every month during the summer and spring season. The frequency of fertilizer shall be decreased during the winter and fall season, with fertilization every 6 to 8 weeks being adequate for the plant’s health. A good way to find out whether the fertilization is adequate enough is to keep a check on the growth of the plant and its leaves. New leaves that are pale are an indication of a lack of magnesium and calcium in the soil, two of the micronutrients that are essential for philodendron growth.
Philodendron Propagation Methods
The different types of species of the Philodendron family have different propagation methods such as air layering, offset removal by parent plant, and stem cuttings. Pieces of the stem which contain two or more joints can be readily put as cuttings in containers of rich-nutrient soil. Alternatively, a mixture of peat moss and sand will also do good for acting as a new container for the cutting. The temperature of the containers must be kept within the range of 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit and the plant must be kept away from direct sunlight until the roots of the plant have settled in completely.
Varieties that trail will be rooted at the point where the contact of the soil and the stem takes place. To make sure this happens effectively, the stem must be pinned into the soil firmly in a separate container with the assistance of a hairpin or piece of wire.
Philodendron Common Problems
The Philodendron is known to suffer from translucent spots on the leaf margins, known as bacterial leaf spot. The large spots are irregular in shape and are tanned. To avoid this disease, purchase plants that are free from the bacteria and remove infected leaves if your philodendron is affected by this disease.
Exposing the philodendron to temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit can lead to cold injury of the plant, resulting in brown or dark-green blotches being formed between the veins of the leaf. To avoid this, keep the plant away from air conditioners and make sure the temperature does not drop below 55 degrees. Over-fertilization of the philodendron can result in curling of the tips downward and brown-colored leaf margins, indicating death of roots. Avoid over-fertilization of the plant.
Tips for healthy Philodendron
Keep the philodendrons relatively dry during the winter months, when there is a slow growth of the plant.
To prevent the pored of the leaves become plugged with dust, regularly wash and clean the stem and leaves of the philodendron.
Lush and shiny growth of the plant is promoted by high humidity, so misting the plant often will be a great idea.
The location of the plant must be such that the exposure to light is bright, simultaneously ensuring that no direct sunlight exposure is present.
Make sure to give enough drying out time to the philodendron between consecutive watering.
Fertilize the philodendron evenly during the summer and spring (once a month), while decreasing the frequency during the fall and winter season (once every six to eight weeks).
If the plants leave curl, indicating over-fertilization, change the container of the plant if excessive slow-release fertilizer was added to the plant. Alternatively, leach the soil to get rid of the excess fertilizer.