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How To Care For Philodendron Plants | Types, Tips, & More

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Philodendrons are beautiful evergreen perennial houseplants, native to Tropical America. The genus comprises around 450 species of climbing herbs from the Araceae family.

Leafly green philodendron birkin houseplant

These gorgeous leafy green plants have a reputation for being easy-to-care-for houseplants, even for the greenest of plant parents.

Their leaves are large, green, and glossy, adding a touch of their native lush jungles to any home.

Popular for their heart-shaped leaves and beautiful trailing vines, these plants are particularly well suited to indoor settings. What’s more, they are able to filter gaseous toxins from the air – impressive, aren’t they?

Chances are you’ve probably owned or at least seen a variety of Philodendrons somewhere.

Moreover, these prolific, pretty houseplants come in an assortment of shapes, sizes, and colors.

So, without further ado, let’s take a deeper look at how to care for Philodendrons before owning one of these incredible beauties.

Philodendron Types

Philodendron originates from the Greek word for love (Philo) and tree (dendron), so we clearly weren’t the first to fall in love with these beautiful plants.

These plants are celebrated in many households for their air-purifying abilities.

There are two main types of Philodendron houseplants: vining and non-climbing varieties.

Philodendron scandens brasil
  • Philodendron Vines: These vining plants can grow creepers of several feet and need to have support – like a post, plant trellis, basket, or structure – to climb on. Popular varieties of this sort include the Heartleaf Philodendron and the Lacerum Philodendron.

  • Non-climbing Philodendrons: As the name suggests, these do not climb. Instead, they have an upright, spreading growth habit and provide beautiful foliage in containers. Some popular ones include the Bird’s Nest, Lacy Tree, and Atom Philodendrons. These non-climbers can expand as much as twice their height, so be sure to give plenty of elbow room for these varieties.
Philodendron Erubescens Pink Princess 1

Philodendron Care Tips

Philodendrons serve as a mainstay in interior gardens. They are easy to care for because all you really need to do is keep an eye out for any signals from the plant, and it will tell you exactly what it needs.

Take a look at some top Philodendron care indoors to keep your plant looking and feeling its best.

Philodendron Light Requirements

These leafy green plants thrive in bright, indirect light or partial sunlight. I advise keeping your sweet plant in a shaded spot in a sunny room or in a shadier room where it can still get a view of the sky.

Signs Your Philodendron Needs More Light?

If you notice your Philodendrons growth becoming leggy, with lots of space in between the leaves, this can be a sure sign it’s asking for a little more light.

However, if your plant receives too much light, it can cause the leaves to turn yellow. So, just be wary of how much light you’re giving your plant and watch for signs.

Philodendron Temperature Requirements

Philodendron temperature tolerance varies in accordance with each species. Typically, these plants should not be exposed to temperatures below 55°F (12°C).

If you have an indoor Philodendron, you need to protect them from any cold draft, such as from an open window or the air-conditioning vent.

How To Care For Philodendron In Winter?

Most Philodendrons are native to tropical America, and as such, prefer medium light intensity and evenly moist soil.

Wintertime is a dormant period for your plant. You may want to avoid watering as much and rather monitor your plant’s soil.

You should keep your plant’s soil drier during the winter months when the plant’s growth slows.

If you’re thinking of repotting your Philodendron, the best time would be during late winter or spring. This is before your plant begins its active new growth.

Pruning Philodendrons

When your Philodendron is taking up too much space in the room, or if the plants are beginning to look leggy, it’s time to prune.

Cutting your plant back a bit is best done in the spring or fall seasons. You can safely give your plant a light trim to remove any yellowing leaves and spindly growth.

Before pruning your plant, you should ensure you have sterilized pruning shears to prevent the spread of any disease-causing bacteria. 

Tip: Philodendrons plants’ leaves can be toxic to both people and pets when ingested. Some people can get mild allergic reactions if they come into contact with the sap. So, when repotting or pruning these plants, it’s advisable to wear gloves as a precaution.

Philodendron Fertilization

Philodendrons are super fast-growing plants but still require regular fertilizing. To aid your plant in looking its best, you should use a balanced liquid fertilizer containing macro-nutrients.

The best time to use this fertilizer is during the spring and summer seasons. Then, decrease feeding to every six to eight weeks in fall and winter.

If you notice your plants’ growth to be much slower than usual and their leaves appear to be smaller, this is a sure sign your plant is not getting enough food.

Philodendron Pink Princess 1
Beautiful pink and black leaf of Philodendron Pink Princess

Soil for a Philodendron

Philodendrons thrive in loose, well-draining potting soil that consists of rich organic matter. They enjoy a good watering but cannot sit in wet soil for too long.

So, it’s a good idea to get soil that can retain water for a longer period of time but that won’t stay wet.

A palm soil mix is a great growing medium for Philodendrons. The mix can retain water, and it doesn’t compact together, allowing oxygen to get to the roots.

Philodendrons favor a pH level of 5.0 – 6.0, which is slightly acidic. A combination of one part peat moss, one part potting soil, and one part perlite can make the soil a slightly acidic, well-draining growing medium.

Keep in mind, these plants are sensitive to salts that accumulate in the soil from water, and it can cause yellowing or browning on the leaves.

A quick and easy solution to this problem is to periodically flush out the salts by watering your plant’s container until there’s water seeping out of its drainage holes.

Philodendron Humidity

Philodendrons will tolerate a range of humidity levels. However, these plants come from tropical rainforest-type environments, so they enjoy humid conditions. Between 65 – 80% humidity is a good average for the Philodendron.

This may vary according to which Philodendron you may have. Some may be happy enough with a humidity of 40% or less, with no effect on its growth. In contrast, others may curl up and die with anything less than 70%.

These plants enjoy humid conditions, so if you live in a dry climate, you might want to boost the humidity around your plant.

To help monitor your plant’s humidity levels, it could help to get a digital hygrometer. You can also try some of these methods to improve the humidity in your plant’s room:

  • Simply misting the plant every few days with a spray bottle.
  • You could add a humidifier to your plants’ room.
  • You can also place your plant’s container on a pebble tray and add water. Ensure the bottom of the container isn’t touching the water (this can lead to root rot).  

Water for Philodendron

The amount of light and the current season you’re in will directly dictate the amount of water your plant will require.

Because almost all Philodendrons are epiphytes, they mostly extract nutrients from the air and not from soil. As potted plants, you should keep their soil moist and supplement with a little misting.

Philodendrons generally like a fair amount of moisture in their soil. You should water your plants whenever the top inch of the soil is dry.

The non-climbing species of Philodendrons tend to be a little more drought tolerant than the vining varieties. However, be wary of overwatering your Philodendrons, or the roots may rot away.

How Often Do You Water Philodendrons?

You should water your Philodendrons once 50% of the soil is dry. This would typically take one to two weeks before you can water your plants again.

Watering your plants also will depend on how much light your plant is getting and your area’s climate. After watering your plant, you should allow the soil to dry out before your next watering.

Philodendron Philodendron birkin plant
Philodendron birkin plant

Dry Vs. Overwatered Philodendron

Both over- and underwatering can cause your plant’s leaves to droop. Keep in mind, these plants don’t enjoy sitting in soggy soil either, and it can lead to root rot.

Some common problems with Philodendrons is when their leaves start curling or turning brown.

This usually means your plant needs more water. If your plants’ leaves are beginning to turn yellow, this means you are overwatering them.

One of the most common mistakes of many new plant parents or beginners is overwatering. A general rule of thumb here is to only water your plant once the topsoil is dry – but not rock hard.

Arid soil can cause your Philodendron’s leaves to turn brown or curl. If this is the case, you should give your plant a good soak of water.

Another reason for its poor-looking leaves could be due to using tap water. This water can contain chlorine, minerals, salts, and fluoride that can harm your plant. The best solution here is to provide your plant with filtered water.

Take a look at under- and overwatering signs to look out for below:

Under-watering symptoms include:

  • Dry spots appear on the leaves
  • Yellowing on the older leaves
  • Stunted growth

Over-watering symptoms include:

  • Yellowing lower leaves
  • Mold developing on the compost
  • Brown patches developing on the leaves or stems

Philodendron Plant Propagation

Philodendrons are fairly easy to propagate and take care of; maybe this is why they are so sort after for new plant parents or beginners.

Philodendrons can be easily reproduced from stem cuttings with at least two nodes (joints) that will quickly root in water after a few weeks.

Take a look at this quick and easy step-by-step guide to propagate by cuttings:

  1. Cut approximately a 6-inch portion of the stem below a joint, and remove the lower leaves near the cut.
  2. Place your cuttings into a container of water and in a room with filtered bright light.
  3. It’s best to use a rooting hormone to dip the clipped stems into for success.
  4. Once several roots have developed, it’s time to transfer your cuttings into a pot with well-draining potting soil.
  5. Ensure the soil is moistened but not soggy wet.
How to Care for a Philodendron Imperial Green

Philodendron Plants Common Problems

Take a look at some common problems plant parents may face with our beloved Philodendrons and some remedies to fix them.

Philodendron Root Rot

Philodendron plants are vulnerable to having root rot, and one of the main issues is from overwatering.

If your plant sits in wet soil for a long period of time, the roots will begin to suffocate from lack of oxygen.

Once root rot sets in, your plants’ ability to function properly slowly declines. You’ll notice your plant’s leaves will begin to turn yellow, and its roots will become black and mushy.

If you find out your Philodendron is suffering from root rot disease, you should:

  • Immediately remove the plant from its pot.
  • Clean the roots by rinsing them off and remove all infected parts with sharp, sterile shears.
  • Treat the remaining healthy roots with a liquid fungicide.
  • Repot your Philodendron using a new potting mix.
  • If the case is critical, you’ll need to try to propagate your Philodendron to save it.

Insect Invasions

Philodendron plants are prone to common houseplant pests such as mealybugs, scale, aphids, and spider mites.

You can control these common pest problems by spraying the plant’s leaves with neem oil or insecticidal soap.

A few diseases and funguses are common to infect Philodendrons, including various types of leaf spot and blight.

Philodendron Dropping Leaves

When your Philodendrons leaves start  dropping, it’s usually a clear indication it’s a watering issue. This could be a sign your plant is getting too much or too little water.

It’s relatively easy to discover which one it is. If the soil is wet, you’ll need to dry the soil out, and if the soil is dry, you should give your plant more water.

Once you’ve resolved this watering issue, your plant’s leaves should return back to normal.

Philodendron Leaves Turning Yellow

When your Philodendrons leaves all start to turn yellow at once, it may be telling you it’s getting too much sunlight. However, if it’s one or two leaves, this is nothing to worry about. Older leaves turn yellow naturally.

Philodendron Brown Spots

As much as your Philodendron loves bright light, too much direct light can leave your plant’s leaves looking dull or it could lead to it developing brown spots.

Direct sunlight can burn the beautiful green foliage, leaving brown patches on the leaves.

If you see this happening, you should monitor the light around your plant, and if it’s too direct, you should relocate your plant to a more sheltered spot.

Philodendron Spider Mites

Philodendrons can quickly become infested by spider mites. These little pests often appear like tiny white spiders on your plant’s leaves and create telltale spider webs. So how to get rid of these pests on your much-beloved houseplant?

Once you’ve discovered the infestation, it’s important to begin spider mite treatment immediately, as they can spread to the rest of your plant collection. You’ll need to quarantine your infested plant and inspect the surrounding plants for mites.

Take a look at some ways to get rid of spider mites:

  • You can spray your plant with a chemical pesticide that specifically targets mites.
  • Try to rinse the leaves with insecticide soap (you may want to put your plant in the bathtub during this process, it can get messy).
  • Spray neem oil over the infected areas.
  • Another alternative is to leave a water container near your plant or use a mist humidifier (these bugs don’t enjoy moist, humid conditions).
Elephant Ear Philodendron
Close up of elephant ear leaves in a garden

Philodendron Plant Care | Best Products

Taking care of Philodendrons is fairly easy, and one of the most basic aspects involves using a good plant fertilizer with well-draining soil.

Take a look at some of the best products to provide your Philodendron with the ultimate care.


Philodendron Frequently Asked Questions

Since Philodendrons are common plants that many of us own, there are plenty of questions about how to keep these beautiful green plants healthy.

Take a look at some frequently asked questions to keep our plants looking happy and salubrious.

Is Philodendron Safe For Cats?

The Philodendrons family, including the fiddle-leaf and the Philodendron Imperial Green

have a mild to moderate toxicity level for cats and dogs.

If chewed or ingested, there may be oral irritation, pain, and swelling of the tongue, lips, and mouth.

It can also cause trouble swallowing and leading up to drooling and vomiting. So, it’s best to keep these plants out of reach from your beloved pets.

When Is Philodendron Dormancy Period

During the wintertime, tropical indoor plants, like our Philodendrons, are at the mercy of drafty windows and colder temperatures.

During this period, you should cut back on watering as your plants’ growth rate has slowed down.

Dormancy is typical with these plants, especially in cooler, darker areas in a home. Once your plant goes dormant, its foliage becomes limited and may drop. However, the roots will continue to grow.

Depending on your location, it can take weeks for a plant to come out of dormancy in spring. To get your plant to come out of dormancy indoors, you can place it into indirect light.

You can also give your plant a boost of fertilizer and thorough watering.

Is Philodendron Poisonous?

Unfortunately, Philodendrons are harmful to cats and dogs. If these plants are chewed, it could cause abdominal pain, vomiting, hypersalivation, swelling of the pharynx, and difficulty swallowing.

If you notice any of these symptoms after your pet has chewed on your plant, you should contact your vet.

What Is The Rarest Philodendron?

The rarest of the family is the Spiritus Sancti Philodendron. There are only a handful of these unique beauties left in the wild, making this endangered species the rarest (and most expensive) of its variety.

Do Philodendrons Need Sunlight?

While Philodendrons are native to frost-free, tropical areas, they can still thrive in low humidity areas (like our homes).

Philodendrons grow best in medium light or indirect sunlight. If you notice your plant’s leaves begin to turn yellow at once, it could be a clear sign that your plant is getting too much direct sunlight.

These plants will tolerate low light, but if the stems become leggy with several inches between the joins (or leaves), then you may want to move your plant to a more favorable location.

Is Philodendron A Good Indoor Plant?

Philodendrons make excellent houseplants as they adapt to various lighting and water conditions.

These plants have large, green leaves allowing them to absorb even the tiniest traces of light and water.

Although they enjoy warmer climates, if you keep your Philodendron indoors, in a warm area, they will continue to grow, even during the winter period.

Are Coffee Grounds Good For Philodendron?

Native to West Indies and tropical areas around America, Philodendrons thrive in light, humid areas with slightly acidic soil.

Coffee is a good home remedy for helping your slow-growing Philodendron feel a bit perkier. You can mix the grounds with your plant’s potting soil or simply add it to a watered solution (half water, half coffee). 

Can Philodendron Grow In Low Light?

Philodendrons are a large species of plants that flourish under low-light conditions. These plants love moderate to bright light, but not direct sunlight. You’ll often find these plants thrive indoors in the corner near a window.

Different species of Philodendrons prefer low light, shaded areas. For example, the heartleaf Philodendron loves low light, humid conditions, which makes them perfect for bathrooms.

A Footnote on Philodendrons

Philodendron plants are especially great for plant owners who don’t want to spend too much time taking care of them. They are often hassle-free and easy to propagate.

These incredible tropical plants are home warming, wherever they are placed. So, now that we’ve plotted through the ultimate care guide for Philodendrons, it’s time for you to get your hands on one of these beautiful plant varieties.

And please, do share which one is your utmost favorite?