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Philodendron atoms need low to medium indirect sunlight. It shouldn’t be exposed to more than three hours of direct sunlight in a day. Philodendron atoms will also thrive in shady areas.
While philodendrons are a simple, low-maintenance plant, it’s sometimes hard to guess what amount of light they need. Don’t worry: this article will detail how to care for the philodendron to keep it healthy and alive.
Philodendrons are a large species of green flowering plants and one of the most beloved houseplants currently on the market.
The philodendron atom is native to the South American rainforests of Paraguay and Brazil. It thrived as a low shrub in the rainforest, growing in the shadows of much taller trees. Because of its squat height, the philodendron evolved only to need partial sunlight.
Because of this history, philodendron atoms will thrive under indirect sunlight. Indirect sunlight includes light coming in from some kind of obstacle—such as a windowpane or tinted glass—, bouncing from a wall, or simply coming through a window that isn’t facing the sun.
Atoms will also tolerate shadier areas with low-light conditions. You’ll see their leaves take on a deep green after they have spent some time in the shade.
If you expose your atom to direct sunlight, you run the risk of burning its leaves. Philodendron atoms shouldn’t receive more than 3 hours of sunlight in a day.
Though the philodendron atom is easy to care for, there are a few things to consider when keeping one as a houseplant. Here’s a list of basic philodendron care needs:
- Light – If your philodendron atom isn’t getting enough light, it won’t receive enough nutrients. This puts it at risk of being infested by aphids and mealybugs will. To avoid this catastrophe, make sure your atom is receiving indirect sunlight. The easiest way to do this is to place it in a corner of your house. As we saw above, you don’t want it to take direct sunlight either—this could burn its leaves.
- Water – The philodendron atom doesn’t require much watering, so be careful not to overwater it. The plant only needs water once a week in the warm seasons. Allow the topsoil to dry between waterings. Never water a plant with moist soil—especially if it’s a philodendron!
- Pruning – Most plants need regular pruning, but not the philodendron atom. You only need to remove dried-out leaves by hand. Pruning itself is only required when the plant becomes too large.
- Fertilizer –Being the low-maintenance plant that it is, the philodendron atom doesn’t require much in the way of fertilization. You only need to fertilize the plant once a month during the summer and the spring, and even less in the winter.
- Soil – The philodendron atom needs alkaline soil with more than 7 pH. The soil needs to be able to hold moisture for an entire week without draining too much water.
- Humidity – Because the philodendron atom is from the rainforest, it needs humidity. You can keep your plant happy by using a humidifier. Misting regularly is another option, but a humidifier is ideal.
- Temperature – The philodendron atom is a tropical plant, so it must stay at a steady warm temperature. The minimum temperature for a philodendron atom is 55 degrees Fahrenheit, while the maximum is 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not expose your plant to frost or cold winds during the winter.
- Repotting – Thankfully, the philodendron atom only requires repotting every two years. A sign that you need to repot the plant is if you discover its roots are poking through the drainage holes. In that case, it has become too large for the container and needs a bigger home!
Like all plants, the philodendron atom can become catch diseases. There are three diseases, in particular, that are most likely to infect atoms:
- Root Rot – Root Rot is a disease that affects many plants when they’ve been overwatered. The leaves become yellow and brown, then fall off.
- Bacterial Blight Philodendron selloum – This appears as small, dark green spots on the leaves. The infected leaves smell bad and fall off.
- Bacterial leaf spots – There are different kinds of spots that will appear on the plant, but they all indicate the same disease. The color of these spots can be tan to black or reddish-brown with yellow halos.
If you want a happy, healthy, disease-free philodendron atom, keep the following tips in mind:
- Avoid watering the plant from above – In some cases, this can lead to the plant developing Bacterial Blight Philodendron selloum.
- Avoid overwatering and over-fertilizing – Philodendron atoms need little of both.
- Remove infected leaves immediately – This will stem (every pun intended) the spread of disease.
- Sterilize – Use sterilized—in other words, new—potting soil and sterilize your containers and tools.
Of course, if your philodendron atom is already infected, you are past preventive measures and need a cure. Here are some steps you can take to return your plant to normal:
- Bleach and water – Mix six drops of bleach per 1 quart of water and soak the plant’s soil with it.
- Fungicide Spray – A good fungicide spray will clear up bacterial leaf spots. BioAdvanced 3-in-1 Insect, Disease, and Mite Control is a 3-in-1 spray that serves as an insecticide, fungicide, and miticide—all at once!
- Hydrogen peroxide and water – For Root Rot, mix 2 parts water and 1 part hydrogen peroxide and soak it in your plant’s soil.
The philodendron atom is a plant that can be propagated through cuttings. The following steps will have your house full of philodendron atoms in no time:
- Wet the potting soil of your plant a week before taking the cutting. This will ensure that the cutting absorbs the nutrients it will need to survive.
- Disinfect a knife or pruning shears of bacteria (I prefer Lysol wipes), and then choose a stem with several nodules. The nodules are aerial roots that allow the plant’s vines to “climb.” Cut the stem free. It should have several leaves attached.
- Put the cutting in a container with damp soil. You don’t have to place the cutting in a clear container of water. This is the most popular choice since it allows you to see the roots as they grow, but your atom may do better in soil.
- Keep the cutting in indirect sunlight, just like the plant parent. You won’t see new growth for at least two weeks, so patience is key.
- Once the new roots have gained a few inches, move the new plant to a permanent pot.
Keeping a philodendron atom happy doesn’t just require proper lighting—it also requires proper humidity! You could mist your plant daily, but nothing beats using a humidifier designed to keep houseplants alive. Here is a list of some of the best humidifiers out there (available on Amazon.com):
- Pure Enrichment MistAire Ultrasonic Humidifier – This small humidifier is ideal for beginners who don’t have many plants. It won’t take up space, is light and easy to refill, and has an automatic shut-off option. It also has a nightlight so you can see the water glow in the dark.
- Levoit LV600HH Humidifier – This large humidifier is ideal for spacey rooms and extensive plant collections. It offers options for warm or cool mist and comes with a convenient remote control for those of us who don’t like getting off the couch. It is also near-silent, meaning you won’t have to strain to hear your TV over its humming. And last but not least: it’s filterless! You’ll never waste money on filter replacements again.
- Toutouan Humidifier – This one is on the expensive side, but only because it’s so large and frankly awesome. It can run for two days without having to be refilled. It comes with a remote control and custom humidity settings. It’s ideal for large rooms and large plants. There’s even a sleep mode so that you don’t have to get up in the middle of the night to reset it.
- Papoper Portable Small Humidifier – Another small humidifier, this one is “ultra-quiet” and has a lovely wood finish that would blend in well among a collection of plants. This humidifier would be ideal for a shelf, as a second humidifier to complement a large one.
- Elechomes SH8820 Humidifier – This humidifier has a sleek black design perfect for a darker, more modern setting. Especially given its LED display, which reads like a digital clock. It’s a decent size, so it would suit a large room well. It also comes in white.
The leaves of the philodendron atom are toxic to humans if ingested. Your face, including your lips, mouth, and tongue, will swell up. You will also likely feel nauseous and experience diarrhea. While these symptoms sound unpleasant, they are not fatal.
Your pets and your children, on the other hand, should be kept clear of the philodendron atom at all costs. The plant is toxic to both and can do them great harm.
Ensuring your philodendron atom gets the proper lighting is paramount to keeping it safe from bug infestations, sickness, and death. So, cram your plant in a corner and watch it thrive!