Philodendron - Araceae - How to care for and grow Philodendron plants



Philodendron is the most popular and widespread houseplant and the "tree-friendly" plant because in nature it grows on tropical forest trees that it uses as a support.






: Angiosperms


: Monocotyledons











: see the paragraph "Main species"


There Monstera, better known asphilodendron (Philodendron), is one of the most common plants in our apartments.

It belongs to thefamily of Araceae and its peculiarity is the leaves very large, shiny and with a leathery consistency that can reach a length of up to one meter and a width of 50 cm. In any case it must be borne in mind that in this genus there is a great dimorphism that is to say that very often young plants have very different characteristics from adult plants, especially as regards the leaves.

A peculiarity common to all species is that of having aerial roots which grow at the level of the nodes and which are used to attach themselves to a support (they are in fact considered epiphytic plants even if given the vast number of speciene there are also terrestrial ones).

The leaves they have very different shapes and sizes according to the species and they have in common the fact that when they are born they remain wrapped in stipules until the petiole has completely developed.

THE flowers they are collected in inflorescences typical of the family and consist of a whitish spathe with a whitish-yellow spadix in the center.

The nature this plant produces afruit (berry) with a taste similar to pineapple.In our houses it is very rare that it bears fruit.


There are about 300 species of Philodendron among which we remember:


Philodendron pertusum it is a plant native to Mexico and Guatemala.It is a plant that can reach considerable dimensions, even four meters. The young leaves can be recognized from the older ones as the latter are deeply engraved as opposed to the young ones which remain whole and more or less heart-shaped.

At the level of the nodes, adventitious roots can form which have a nourishing and supporting function.

In this species we find the cultivars: Monstera deliciosa 'Borsigiana' (photo below left) which remains small and the Monstera deliciosa'Variegata' (photo below right) with whitish-yellowish streaks.


The Philodendron scandens (P. cordatum or P. cuspidatum) is certainly the best known species.The leaves are small, heart-shaped, with long petioles.

The stem is rich in aerial roots with which it is anchored to the stake. It has a very fast growth and it is advisable, to avoid excessive growth in height at the expense of lateral richness, to trim it periodically.A particularity: they do not tolerate stale air and cigarette smoke, despite this it is particularly suitable as an indoor plant.

Its name derives from the Latin scandens "climbing"


The Philodendron squamiferumit comes from Brazil and owes its name to the scales that cover the petioles.

The leaves are very large and a beautiful deep green.This species of philodendron is very robust and grows very well reaching large sizes.


The Philodendron hastatum is originally from Brazil and owes its name to the fact that it reminds the flagpole of the Roman legionary. In fact the central vein, for a certain stretch, is devoid of the leaf lamina.

It lives perched on trees and if it does not find support, it forms a tangle of roots and almost impenetrable leaves. Among all Philodendron it is the one that has less climatic needs, in fact, during the vegetative rest it lives even at temperatures around zero, and in the vegetative phase, not more than 20 ° C.

There are two varieties: Philodendron hastatum'Rubrum' so called because the underside of the leaves is variegated with red and Philodendron hastatum 'Variegatum 'which has leaves streaked with yellow.


The Philodendron erubescens (photo below) is originally from Colombia and has beautiful very long leaves and can reach two meters in height. The young leaves have a reddish color while when adult they take on a dark green coppery color.


The Philodendron verrucosumit is native to Colombia and an imposing Philodendon with its very large and almost bullous leaves. It is a typically climbing species and loves places in the shade.


The Philodendron radiatum it is native to Mexico has very impressive leaves, large, deeply lobed and very developed in width and are carried by very long petioles.


The Philodendron andreanum it is native to Colombia and is an imposing philodendron with its very large and almost bullous leaves.

It is a typically climbing species and loves shaded places.


The Philodendron selloum it is a very large species and its peculiarity are the foliar petioles which can reach even 40 cm in length. It tolerates low temperatures very well


The Philodendron lacerum it is a very vigorous species, with very large leaves and all deeply engraved so as to seem torn, hence the name.


ThePhilodendron sodiroi it is a very rare species with heart-shaped leaves spotted with silver and with purple petioles and veins.


The Philodendron gloriosum it has heart-shaped leaves with ivory-colored veins


ThePhilodendron namei it has heart-shaped and almost curled leaves with silver hues. It tolerates low temperatures very well


ThePhilodendron elegans it is a species, as the name suggests, has a very elegant appearance, with deeply engraved leaves, quite small.


The considerations set out below refer to the species that are commonly found in our apartments.

Philodendron is a plant that loves light but not direct sun that can burn leaves.

To clean the leaves which, given their size, get dusty easily, use a very soft damp cloth and proceed with delicacy so as not to damage the leaves. We do not recommend the use of foliar polishes that can clog the pores (stomata) of the plant.

Philodendron does not like low temperatures. Already temperatures below 13 ° C are badly tolerated.

The flowers usually appear during the summer period although it is quite rare for this to happen indoors.



During the summer the philodendron should be watered often. It is important to proceed with irrigation when the surface layer of the soil has dried and being careful not to leave water in the sub-pot.

On the hottest days, the philodendron takes advantage of nebulizations on the leaves that create a humid microclimate, pleasing to the plant.

During autumn and winter watering should be reduced and always wait for the soil to dry a little before proceeding to the next irrigation.



The philodendron is repotted every year around February / March up to a maximum pot size of 50 cm. You must use a soil rich in organic substance, fairly coarse contort, beech leaves and soil by placing terracotta shards on the bottom of the vase in order to facilitate the drainage of water.Once the vase has reached the dimensions indicated above, every year , the surface layer of earth is removed for about 3 cm and it is replaced with new soil.

These plants often need a stake, those covered with moss are optimal, which settle down when repotting.



Throughout the spring and summer period, it is necessary to fertilize every 3 weeks with a liquid fertilizer administered together with the irrigation water.

As for the type of fertilizer to be administered, there are many types on the market but it is a good idea to read the label that specifies the composition.For all green plants, that is to say for those plants that develop many leaves, it is preferable to use fertilizers that we have quite high titre in nitrogen (N) which favors the development of the green parts. Therefore, make sure that in addition to having the so-called macroelements such as nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) and that among these nitrogen is in greater quantity than it also has microelements, i.e. those compounds that the plant needs in minimum quantities (but still needs it) such as magnesium (Mg), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), boron (B), polybdenum (Mo) , all important for a correct and balanced growth of the plant.



In cultivation it is very rare for the philodenron to flower.



Usually the Philodendron it cannot be pruned. The leaves that gradually dry up must simply be eliminated to prevent them from becoming a vehicle for parasitic diseases.

If you want to have a more compact development of the plant you can implement the toppingof the vegetative apexes.

Make sure that the tool you use for cutting is clean and disinfected (preferably with a flame) to avoid infecting the tissues.



The philodendron multiplies by cuttings.


At the beginning of summer, an apex of the philodendron plant with a few leaves and small aerial roots at least 15cm long and with at least three knots is cut immediately below the node.It is recommended to cut with a razor blade or a sharp knife to avoid fraying of the tissues taking care that the tool used for cutting is clean and disinfected.After removing the lower leaves, the cut part is immersed in a rhizogenic powder to facilitate rooting.

Subsequently, the cuttings are arranged in a compound formed in equal parts of turf and coarse sand. They make holes with a pencil and fix them as shown in the photo. Then take care to gently compact the soil.

Use a small jar, no more than 7 cm.The jar is covered with a transparent plastic sheet (or a hooded bag) and placed in a place where there is abundant light (but not direct sun) and a temperature around 24 ° C taking care to keep the soil always slightly humid (always water without wetting the rooting plants with water at room temperature). Every day the plastic is removed to control the humidity of the soil and to eliminate condensation from the plastic.

Once the first shoots start to appear (about 5-6 weeks), it means that the cutting has taken root. At that point he removes the plastic and places the vase in a brighter area, at the same temperature and expects the thalease to strengthen.

Leave the cutting where it is until February-March when you transplant it into the final pot and soil as indicated for the adult plants.Do not disturb the cuttings until the new shoots have been placed.

Many species root though simply placed in water.



Yellowed leaves

It means that the plant receives too much water.
Remedies: reduce watering.

Leaves with obvious burns

When the leaves show this symptom it means that the plant has been exposed to direct sun especially if it splashed with water when it was in the sun.

Remedies: place the plant in a more suitable bright place but not with direct sun.

Spots on the underside of the leaves

Spots on the underside of the leaves could mean that you are in the presence of cochineal and in particular mealy cochineal. To be sure, it is recommended that you make use of a magnifying glass and observe yourself. Compare it with the photo on the side. They are features, you can't go wrong. Also if you try to remove them with a fingernail, they come off easily.

Remedies: remove them with a cotton swab soaked in alcohol or if the plant is large and potted, you can wash it with water and neutral soap, rubbing very gently with a sponge to remove the parasites, after which the plant is varisced very well to eliminate all the soap. For larger plants planted outdoors, you can use specific pesticides available from a good nurseryman.

Leaves that begin to turn yellow, appear mottled with yellow and brown

If the leaves begin to turn yellow and after these manifestations crumple, they take on an almost powdery appearance and fall off. Observing carefully you can also notice some thin cobwebs especially on the underside of the leaves. With this symptomatology we are very likely in the presence of an attack of red spider, a very annoying and harmful mite.

Remedies: increase the frequency of nebulizations to the foliage (the lack of humidity favors their proliferation) and possibly, only in the case of particularly serious infestations, use a specific insecticide. If the plant is not particularly large, you can also try cleaning the leaves to mechanically eliminate the parasite using a wet and soapy cotton ball. After that the plant must be rinsed very well to remove all the soap.

Leaves with brown spots especially along the edges

Brown spots are very often a symptom of too low temperatures (below 13 ° C).

Remedies: move the plant to a more suitable place



The word Philodendron derives from the Greek and means phileo "Love" and "dendros «Tree», therefore «love for trees» for growth as an epiphytic plant (plants that have aerial roots and grow attached to the trees they use as support) on trees, almost embracing them.

Not everyone knows that all parts of the plant are toxic due to the presence of calcium oxalate and oxalic acid crystals which can have a caustic action on the skin with ulceration when it comes into contact with these substances.

Video: All you need to know about Philodendron scandens hederaceum Heart Leaf

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