The philodendron atom is an easy-to-care-for, compact sub-tropical plant with wavy evergreen gloss leaves.
Philodendrons come in different varieties and originate from rainforests in Brazil and Paraguay. The name is Greek and derives from the word phileo, meaning love, and dendron, which means tree.
Very similar to pothos, the philodendron plant is a hardy plant and can live in a bedroom, bathroom, or any area that has shade. If you’re a new plant parent, the atom is a perfect first plant choice.
This guide gives a comprehensive explanation of how to care for the philodendron houseplants as well as fix some of their common problems.
Philodendron Atom Care Tips
Atoms are one of the easier philodendron types to take care of, making them popular for beginners. The plant’s needs are simple and straightforward, as you’ll come to discover in this care guide below.
Philodendron Atoms’ Light Requirements
Philodendrons excel in indirect sunlight but direct light can end up burning your atom’s leaves. Your plant should never get more than three hours of direct sunlight.
You’ll be able to see your foliage in a deep green shade when it’s been in shady areas around your home.
Philodendron Atom Temperature Needs
Ideally, philodendron atoms enjoy room temperatures between 12° – 29° Celcius (55° – 85° Fahrenheit). During the day, a bit more heat is ideal and at night a cooler position in your home will do your plant wonders.
Pruning Your Philodendron Atom
Pruning benefits the plant and its growth. Cutting back on its foliage is also a great way to shape your plant. But it should only be done when it’s needed.
It’s safe to prune throughout the year, if your plant doesn’t have enough space or to remove yellowing leaves before they spread.
Philodendron Atoms Fertilization
The best fertilization method for your atom would be to use an all-purpose liquid plant food. This is amazing for your plant’s health and can accelerate the growth into its maturing stage sooner.
In warmer seasons, you can feed your atom once a month. During the colder months, you’ll only need to use it once every 6 weeks.
Soil For Philodendron Atoms
The perfect soil for your philodendron atoms would be a soil that retains moisture easily. Possible alternatives are soil that is rich in coconut fibres and flower soil.
Philodendron Atoms Humidity
Philodendron atoms are tropical plants and higher humidity levels will result in your philo growing lush and shiny foliage. They tolerate low humidity but if the air is too dry, you’ll soon begin to see it on your plant.
Misting your plant should also be done when it is placed in shadier areas around the house. An easy indicator that your plant isn’t getting enough humidity is browning leaves.
Place a pebble tray or humidifier near your plant if your home doesn’t reach 60% – 80% humidity.
Watering Philodendron Atoms
Philos love moist soil but remember there is a big difference between moist and muddy. Watering your plant once a week in warmer seasons and once every two weeks in colder seasons will be more than enough.
The roots don’t like tons of water so make sure that your pot also has good drainage.
Repotting Your Atom
If your plant’s roots are poking up or out of the drainage holes, it’s time to repot your atom.
Always pick a bigger-sized pot from your last one, gently remove your plant, and place it into the new pot with fresh soil and then water it.
Philodendron Atoms Propagation
Philodendron vines are easy to propagate from cutting. Cut about six-inches and place it in a container of water to develop roots.
Rooting hormones can increase the chances of your new plant’s success but is not always necessary. Once you see more roots develop, pot it in moist soil.
How To Water Your Philodendron Atoms?
In winter, your atom will grow slower and need less nutrition than during the warmer months. So you won’t need to water it as often, and can slow down on fertilizing too.
Keep the plant away from very cold drafts and make sure the room stays as humid as possible.
Common Philodendron Atom Problems
The atom is a relatively easy-going plant that will add beauty to your home. But to keep it healthy, and help when it’s not, there are a few things you need to look out for.
Here are a few of the most common problems you’ll find on this plant.
One of any plant’s biggest vulnerabilities is root rot. This is caused by overwatering and/or soil that is not able to drain properly.
The best way to check if your atom is having this problem is by removing it from the pot and looking at your root.
A good root would be dry and intact but if it’s rotting it will be mushy and carry a rotten smell when you take it out.
Another way to indicate this is by looking at the leaves color. If they are brownish or yellow, you should check the roots. Root rot can be fatal, but if you catch it soon enough you may be able to save the plant.
A simple way to fix your plant would be to simply just wash your root, remove all the infected roots, and replant in new soil. Worst case scenario, you’ll have to propagate your plant.
Leaf loss can have multiple causes, more commonly would be issues with low humidity, cold or too much direct sunlight.
These usually start off with leaves turning yellow or brown and with no proper attention given, the leaves will start to drop.
Leaves Turning Yellow
If your leaves are turning yellow it is most likely due to overwatering. If it’s not over-watering, your next best bet would be the soil isn’t of good quality or your pot doesn’t drain water well. Either way, this should be an easy fix.
Philodendron atoms often develop brown spots due to fungal infection. This can be caused by issues like too much light and/or water.
The spots can also be narrowed down to insect infestation, low humidity, root rot, or issues with your fertilization.
A common problem with any plant are spider mites. They will normally be around your plant’s axis and over the leaves.
To spot them, spray the stems with water and they will start to come out. Mites commonly start eating at your plant, and its leaves will start to turn yellow or brown with holes in them.
Easily eliminate these guys with a water and dish soap mixture and spray away. If they’re hard headed and stay, get a plant-friendly insecticide.
Philodendron Atom FAQs
Since philodendrons are such common plants that many people own, there are many questions about how to keep them healthy and alive.
Below are a few common questions people ask before deciding on owning this beautiful plant.
Is The Philderon Safe For Cats?
A philodendron leaf can be a hazard for your cats. The plant’s leaves contain calcium oxalate crystals which, if ingested, will irritate the mouth, stomach, and intestines.
If your cat chews your atom’s leaves, they will start to drool and show signs of abdominal pains.
Simple treatment for your furry friend is chicken broth or tuna water, but not tuna oil. It helps flush out the crystals in the mouth. Using milk or yoghurt also helps decrease the discomfort of the crystals.
If your kitty keeps on drooling beyond a day, take it to a veterinarian. But to try and keep your cats from the philodendron by setting up something close to the plant to scare the cat away such as a motion-activated aerosol canister. Or keep them up high where cats can’t reach.
What is the Philodendron Dormancy Period?
Dormancy with these plants is normal and it usually happens on its own. The atom regularly goes dormant towards the end of summer or in early fall.
If you are looking at making the plant go dormant, you should place it in cooler, darker areas in your home.
When your plant goes dormant it’s foliage growth becomes limited and may even drop but your roots will continue to grow and thrive.
To get your plant out of its dormancy period, you should place it back into indirect sunlight, water it appropriately, and give it a fertilizer boost to help with and encourage new growth.
Are Philodendrons Poisonous?
Unfortunately yes, the plants are poisonous to humans, but only mildly. The philodendron leaves contain calcium oxalate crystals, and these crystals make the plant poisonous.
This should not discourage you from owning a philodendron atom as you can only get sick if you eat the leaves.
If, by chance, you do diggest the leaves, your lips, mouth, tongue, and throat will possibly swell as this plant can could cause inflammation. You also start to feel nauseous and in some cases have diarrhea.
Children will have the same problems, so if you have little toddlers around you should consider hanging these plants or placing them in hard to reach areas just to be safe.
What’s The Difference Between Philodendrons and Photos?
These plants are commonly compared since they both look so similar. The biggest difference lies in their leaves.
The stem of the pothos is grooved, while the philodendron leaves are not. Philodendron atoms new leaves grow with a leaf sheath, which dries and falls off eventually, The photos do not have these sheaths.
What Makes It Different To Other Philodendrons?
The Atom isn’t that different than it’s brothers and sisters. One key difference is that the Atom is a non-vining philodendron and considered a dwarf when compared to the others.
It grows up to 30 centimeters high and 14 centimeters wide, while the largest philodendrons can grow up to 600 centimeter high and 180 centimeters wide.
Benefits To Owning a Philodendron Atom
Philodendron plants remove formaldehyde from the air. The NASA Clean Air Study showed that these are great air purifying plants, and the leaves are great for blocking harmful EMF radio waves in the air.
Since pruning the philodendron is so easy, you have options to style and trim it in any way that you would like. And since the plant is such a decorative piece to own, you can take full advantage of it’s styling versatility.
The philodendron’s color, deep green in its natural form, is commonly linked with buoyancy and is strongly associated with health. So the plant is a great option for anyone looking for a plant that makes them feel fresh.
Keeping your philodendron misted adds to the humidity in the air. Which in return helps ward off ailments like dry skin conditions and respiratory problems that are enhanced with dryness.
The philodendron atom can grow almost everywhere. Your plant will respond well in your bedroom, bathroom, and living room, all it needs is an area with good humidity and decent shade.
Philodendron Atom Facts
There are over 900 philodendron varieties in the world and they all come with some amazing facts. Below are some fun facts about philodendrons that are applicable to the Atom.
- All philodendrons are divided into three basic groups: Epiphytes which are plants that grow on other plants without harming the host, Hemiepiphytes which are plants that live part of their life as epiphytes, and Terrestrial plants which are plants that grow from the ground.
- Philodendrons have two types of roots, aerial roots which are used to attach to the host plant, and subterranean roots which are used to get nutrients from the soil.
- Philderons are an important source of food to monkeys and bats in the wild.
Summary Of The Philodendron Atom
With minimal effort and attention needed the philodendron atom is a great starter plant for anyone who wants to start their own garden. They require very simple care and reward you with their natural beauty.
If you do own a philodendron atom or variegated philodendron, feel free to reach out and share your experiences. I’d love to hear any tips and tricks you have.
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