Philodendron Care: The Comprehensive Guide to Thriving Plants – From Types to Propagation, Pest Control & More

Welcome to the world of philodendrons! These tropical plants can transform any space into a lush paradise.

With many varieties and care preferences, philodendrons offer endless opportunities for creativity.

Let’s dive into the captivating universe of philodendron care, where you’ll learn everything you need to keep your plants happy and thriving.

Key Takeaways

  • Discover the ideal philodendron variety for your space and set up the perfect habitat for it.

  • Nurture them with the right amount of light, water, and fertilizer to help them thrive throughout the year.

  • Regularly monitor pests and diseases to keep your philodendrons healthy and safe!

Understanding Philodendron Types

Lemon Philodendron

Philodendrons are a diverse group of plants, with two main types: climbing and self-heading. Each type offers unique characteristics and growth habits that cater to different preferences and spaces.

Cordatum Philodendron

Climbing philodendrons, such as the ever-popular Heartleaf Philodendron (often confused with its look-alike the Pothos plant) and the fascinating Lemon Lime Philodendron, grow rapidly and add a touch of tropical beauty to any room.

Philodendron Summer Glory

On the other hand, self-heading philodendrons like the Philodendron Summer Glory, the dramatic Split Leaf Philodendron (often mistaken for the Monstera plant due to their similar leaf structure), and the stunning Philodendron Selloum stand proudly on their own as impressive floor plants.

Tree Philodendron

In my personal experience, I find climbing philodendrons easier to maintain compared to their self-heading counterparts.

Also Read: Discover 19 Amazing Types of Philodendron Varieties for Your Indoor Garden

Next, we’ll explore the perfect growing conditions for your chosen philodendron plants to flourish.

Ideal Growing Conditions for Philodendrons

Temperature and humidity for philodendron plants

In this section, we’ll discuss the optimal growing conditions for Philodendrons, focusing on light, temperature, humidity, and soil quality.

Let’s learn how to create the perfect environment for these tropical plants.

Light Requirements

Philodendrons enjoy bright, indirect light, but can adapt to lower light conditions. Direct sunlight can harm their leaves, causing yellowing. For optimal lighting, place them near south or west-facing windows with a light curtain.

If natural light is scarce, grow lights are a good alternative, especially for variegated varieties like the ‘Pink Princess’ and ‘White Princess’.

Temperature Preferences

Philodendrons thrive in warm and cozy environments, with temperatures ranging between 65-85°F (18-29°C).

Upholding this temperature range is significant for their well-being, as they don’t appreciate drafts or sudden temperature changes. Providing fresh soil and proper care will also contribute to their overall health and happiness.

To protect your philodendrons from drafts and sudden temperature changes, keep them away from doors or open windows when outdoor conditions are not within the desired parameters. This will help maintain a stable environment and ensure your plants continue to grow strong and healthy.

Humidity Needs

High humidity is the key to success when it comes to philodendron care. These tropical plants adore humidity levels above 50%, with levels between 65-80% being ideal. Emulating their native rainforest habitat, high humidity is imperative for their growth and well-being.

To increase humidity for your philodendrons, consider using a humidifier or setting up a pebble tray with water underneath the plant’s pot.

Philodendron plant in a planter with wet pebbles to increase humidity

I prefer placing the pot in a larger planter filled with pebbles instead of using a tray with pebbles, simply because I find the former more aesthetically pleasing.

However, I have to admit that the pebble tray is more efficient in increasing the humidity.

These methods will help maintain the humidity levels your philodendrons crave, ensuring lush, healthy growth, and vibrant foliage.

Soil and Potting Mix

Pre-made soil for philodendron plants

Your philodendron’s growth and overall health greatly depend on the right soil and potting mix. Here are some key factors to consider:

  • Use a well-draining soil that allows excess water to flow out easily.

  • Choose a nutrient-rich soil that provides essential nutrients for your plants.

  • Look for a slightly acidic pH level of 5.0-6.0, which is ideal for philodendrons.

  • Consider adding organic matter, such as compost or peat moss, to improve soil fertility and moisture retention.

While creating the ideal soil mix for your philodendrons can be a rather tedious process, I personally prefer the convenience of purchasing pre-made soil specifically designed for philodendrons.

The soil from the photo above is suited for philodendrons:

Pre-made soil for philodendron plants

But if you prefer a DIY approach, follow these steps:

  1. Mix equal parts of potting soil, peat moss, and perlite or vermiculite.

  2. Adding a slow-release fertilizer to the mix can also help achieve the perfect balance.

  3. Don’t forget to check the soil pH regularly and adjust as needed to maintain the optimal conditions for your plants.

Watering and Fertilizing Your Philodendron

Proper watering and fertilizing are essential components of philodendron care, ensuring healthy growth and vibrant leaves.

Watering Tips

Philodendron plant with a soil moisture meter

To avoid any watering issues with my philodendrons, I prefer using a soil moisture meter, which helps me ensure the soil is at the perfect moisture level before each watering.

Doing the finger test for a Philodendron plant

However, if you’re not keen on using a special device (which, to be honest, is incredibly user-friendly!), you can always rely on a so-called finger text:

  1. Insert your finger about an inch into the soil

  2. If you find it dry at that depth, water your plant.

Also, follow these additional guidelines regardless of how you detect the soil moisture:

  • Use room temperature water.

  • Pour slowly to ensure even absorption.

  • Drain any excess water from the pot to prevent root rot and other issues associated with overwatering.

  • Maintain consistent soil moisture to avoid overwatering and keep your plants lush and healthy.

  • Monitor your plants’ appearance regularly: Droopy, yellow, or browning leaves may indicate watering issues.

Fertilizing Schedule

Fertilizing your philodendron plants is an important part of their care, providing the nutrients they need to grow and flourish. Your plant will survive without it but if you want to have a beautiful philodendron, do fertilize it.

Fertilizer for philodendron plants I use

I use the Schultz Liquid Plant Food fertilizer that is designed for philodendron.

the Schultz Liquid Plant Food fertilizer that is designed for philodendron

Here are some tips to follow:

  • During the growing season (spring and summer), fertilize your philodendrons monthly.

  • During dormancy (fall and winter), reduce the frequency of fertilization to every six to eight weeks. This will help maintain your plants’ health while allowing them to rest during the cooler months.

  • Use a fertilizer designed for philodendrons

  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the specific product you’re using.

Pruning and Shaping Your Philodendron

Outgrown philodendron plant

Frequent pruning and shaping are necessary to maintain your philodendrons’ desirable appearance.

By removing dead or damaged leaves and controlling the plant’s size, you’ll keep your philodendrons looking their best and promote healthy growth.

Additionally, if you’re growing a climbing philodendron variety, consider encouraging larger leaves by growing the plant vertically on a moss pole.

Pruning an outgrown philodendron plant

To prune your philodendron plants effectively, follow these steps:

  1. Use sharp scissors or pruning shears.

  2. Cut just above a leaf node to promote healthy branching.

  3. Be sure to wear gloves when pruning, since the sap can irritate the skin and eyes.

  4. Afterward, make sure to wash your hands and tools.

Propagating Philodendrons

philodendron propagation: A rooted cutting

Propagating philodendrons is a fun and rewarding way to expand your plant collection or share the beauty of these plants with friends and family.

There are several methods for propagating philodendrons, including:

  1. Stem cuttings

  2. Air layering

  3. Division

Let’s examine these methods in this section to guide you toward successful propagation.

Stem cuttings are a popular and straightforward method for propagating philodendrons. To do this, simply cut a healthy stem, remove the lower leaves, and place the cutting in water, moist potting mix, or moss.

Air layering is another effective method, involving the removal of a small section of bark from the stem and wrapping it in moist peat moss to encourage root growth.

Division involves cutting out a section of the plant with at least two shoots and transplanting it into a new container.

Also Read: How to Heartleaf Philodendron Propagation Easily and Naturally

While not strictly necessary, I personally enjoy propagating philodendrons from cuttings in moss as it allows me to hone the propagation skills I apply to other plants in my collection.

Propagating philodendrons from cuttings in moss

Experiment with these methods to find the one that works best for you and watch as new philodendron plants grow and thrive.

Pest and Disease Management

Spider mites on a philodendron leaf

While philodendrons are generally easy to care for, they can be affected by common pests and diseases. Some issues that can impact your plants’ health and appearance include:

  • Mealybugs

  • Spider mites

  • Root rot

  • Bacterial leaf spot

By regularly monitoring your philodendrons for signs of pests and diseases, you can address problems early and keep your plants healthy and thriving.

To manage pests and diseases effectively, follow these steps:

  1. Remove affected leaves.

  2. Give your plant a warm shower to remove other parts of the pests and diseases.

  3. Apply appropriate treatments, such as insecticidal soap or fungicides.

  4. Maintain a clean growing environment.

  5. Monitor your plants’ health.

Read more about philodendron diseases in my ultimate guide.

Pet Safety and Philodendrons

My cat with a philodendron plant

You should be aware that due to the presence of calcium oxalate in the sap, philodendrons can be toxic to both pets and humans. Ingesting any part of a philodendron plant can cause:

  • Burning sensations

  • Swelling

  • Vomiting

  • Diarrhea

To protect your pets and family members, keep philodendron plants out of reach and consider placing them in areas where curious pets or children cannot access them.

If you suspect that your pet or child has ingested a philodendron plant, seek immediate medical or veterinary assistance. Symptoms of ingestion can be severe and require prompt attention.

I am fortunate that my two cats prefer munching on Cyperus Papyrus, sparing my beloved philodendrons from their culinary adventures.

Other Names of Philodendron Houseplants

White princess philodendron

Philodendrons are known by many names around the world, reflecting their popularity and widespread cultivation.

Here are some of the most common alternate names for philodendrons, listed in order of how frequently they are used:

  1. Philo: This is a short, affectionate nickname for philodendrons that’s easy to remember and pronounce.

  2. Philos: This is a plural form of Philo, used when referring to multiple philodendron plants.

  3. Phil Plant: Another affectionate term, this one emphasizes the plant’s status as a beloved member of many households.

  4. Filadendron: This is a common misspelling of philodendron, but it’s used often enough to be recognized.

  5. Philodendrum: Another common misspelling, this one is likely due to confusion with the genus name for drumstick trees, Moringa oleifera.

  6. Philodendrin: This name is less common and seems to be a hybrid of “philodendron” and “aspidistrin”, another popular houseplant.

  7. Filodendronit: This is the Finnish name for philodendrons, reflecting the plant’s popularity in northern Europe.

  8. Filodendronul: This is the Romanian name for philodendrons, showing the plant’s reach into eastern Europe.

Despite the many names, all refer to the same beautiful, diverse group of plants that we know and love as philodendrons.


Heartleaf philodendron

In this guide, we’ve covered all aspects of philodendron care, from types to propagation. By following these tips, you’ll be able to create an ideal environment for your philodendrons. Enjoy your gardening journey and take pride in your vibrant green oasis.


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