Philodendron Lacerum is a popular philodendron variety with giant elephant ear-like leaves. In fact, it’s sometimes called a Giant Elephant Ear. It’s a large houseplant with big green glossy leaves, ideal for a lovely corner of a large living room.
Here’s the basic rundown on how to take care of your lacerum phil plant, some common problems you might encounter, and what to do if they do occur.
Soil for a Philodendron Lacerum
It’s always best to give your plant good soil care. Philos do not enjoy mushy, wet, or excessively dry soil. A rich mix that drains well but stays moist will be the best approach.
Source a good potting mix – some high-quality mixes contain bark and charcoal. Sphagnum moss also helps to retain essential moisture.
Philodendron Lacerum Care Tips
Let’s talk about taking care of your giant elephant ear. In case you didn’t know, Philodendrons aren’t needy plants.
They are perfectly happy with a little bit of attention here and there. They are great indoors when given a lot of filtered light. Just bear in mind that some plants can get rather large.
They also do alright outdoors, provided they don’t get too much direct sun. If you have cold winters, it’s best to bring the plant indoors. It’s a tropical plant, after all. They do especially well in greenhouses.
That said, like any plant, this philo can’t be ignored altogether, and does need a little bit of TLC. Here’s a brief overview of some basic care tips for your philodendron lacerum plant.
Philodendron Lacerum Light Requirements
Although a lacerum isn’t especially fussy, owners find that indirect or filtered light (not direct sun) suits the lacerum just fine.
Sometimes they even thrive in darker rooms. In certain conditions, some direct sun is also fine. You’ll have to get the plant used to that over time, however.
What is key is taking care when moving a healthy plant from one light situation to another. A move to a very different setting may shock the plant somewhat.
So, if you move the philo from shady to bright and direct, you may want to do it over time. That way, your baby can “get used to” the new light.
Philodendron Lacerum Temperature Requirements
The optimum temperature environment for lacerum is a temperate 55 – 80 °F (13-26 °C). Most homes fall into this range comfortably.
But you should take care if your plant is sitting on a balcony or near-constantly open doors, especially if it gets cold in your winter. Philo’s do not handle frost and extreme cold very well.
Watering Philodendron Lacerum
Once or twice a week at most is the usual watering schedule for lacerums. More importantly, the idea is not to overwater as this may cause problems. The top three inches (6-7cm) of soil should be dry before you water again.
If you live in an area where your tap water is drinkable, using tap water is fine for your philo. If you’re still iffy, leave some tap water overnight – that should evaporate most of the dodgy chemicals you’re afraid of. If you’re in a hard water area, play it safe with distilled water.
Set up a watering schedule to make it easier to keep track of when you’re watering your plant.
The nice thing here is that you can accurately measure what works and what doesn’t, and then tweak accordingly.
Here’s a great starting point for your watering schedule, as an example:
- A recently planted philo – Once every five days for the first four weeks. Then once a week.
- Two years old – Once every two weeks.
- Older than two years – Once every 3-4 weeks in winter, once a week or two if in a dry hot summer.
- When Repotting – Don’t water for one week after repotting. Then once a week until properly set.
Keep a sharp eye on the plant. As you’ll see later, overwatering is a major cause of philo trouble.
Philodendron Lacerum Humidity
It’s humid in the tropics, and where you are situated may not come with the same rich air. But you can easily mitigate that with a pebble tray (humidity tray). It’s a tray with a pebble bottom, filled with water. Over time the water evaporates, humidifying the air directly above it. Place the philo and its pot on the tray. Easy.
If you need to dampen the floating aerial roots, you can invest in a misting bottle and mist the air around the roots or moss pole (if you use one). Take care if you go with the misting bottle option.
Excessive misting, especially directly on the leaves, can open the plant up to overwatering, fungus, and root rot.
Philodendron Lacerum Propagation
Lacerum is a climbing plant, which makes propagation relatively easy. It also has a floating root system. Most agree that the simplest way to go about propagating lacerum is with stem cuttings. And the best time to do this is in the spring.
Cut a piece of stem and be sure to include at least one leaf and one node within that cutting.
Place the plant so that the node is in water, but the leaf is not in contact with the water. After a week or three, you should see a root start to develop as your philodendron is growing in water. Wait until you have a few inches.
Over the next week or so, spoon some soil into the water. Do this until the soil essentially has replaced the water. This avoids some shock, due to the change in environment.
It’s time to move the entire contents of what was once the water vessel to the new pot. This means everything, including the soil.
Prepare the pot with good potting soil and create a hole or depression where the cutting will go.
Transplant the contents into the new pot and gently press the soil down around the roots. Not too tightly. If all has gone well, the plant should start to show growth in a few days or weeks.
Philodendron Lacerum Fertilization
Liquid fertilizer is your best bet. Feed the soil once a month with a diluted mix – half-strength should be enough during spring and summer.
Remember that Philos are dormant during the winter months, so you can cut back to once every six to eight weeks during this time.
Again, employ a schedule with fertilization as you would with watering, and see what works.
Repotting Philodendron Lacerum
The one rule when repotting philo lacerum is that you should try to give its roots plenty of space.
They do well in most mediums including soil, moss, or lica beads. An important thing is to ensure that the roots are fairly free to move around as they please.
One more thing: The bigger the pot, the bigger the plant will grow. So be mindful when selecting a pot for your philo.
Philodendron Lacerum Common Problems
While philodendrons are resilient, they do sometimes fall victim to some hard times. Here are the most common problems, likely causes, and even a few tips on how to avoid or fix it.
Philodendron Lacerum Root Rot
We talk about root rot a lot on this blog. It’s a somewhat common ailment in houseplants, and almost always its root cause (pun intended) is overwatering.
Overwatering the plant creates an environment for fungus and other infections to take root.
If you feel you’re not overwatering, it may be that the pot isn’t draining effectively. The end result either way is that the plant will usually start to fade and discolor.
The way to check for root rot is by gently removing your plant from its pot, rinsing the roots, and checking for a few signs.
If the roots are mushy or have turned black, it’s a sign of root rot. Healthy roots are usually primarily white.
You will need to cut away the bad parts of the root system. Remember to use a sterilized cutter as the rot may be spread to other roots.
Note that if you haven’t caught the root rot early, you may have to cut a lot of the root system away, which isn’t good for the plant.
Philodendron Lacerum Drooping Leaves
Similarly, drooping plants may be a sign of overwatering. Too much water in the soil pushes air and essential other nutrients out, in effect strangling the plant for those much-needed nutrients.
The other cause may also be the exact opposite – too little water. So take a look at your watering schedule and adjust accordingly.
In many cases dropping plants can recover, but sometimes, a leaf that’s too damaged is best cut off.
Philodendron Lacerum Leaves Turning Yellow
Overwatering rears its head again. Keep in mind that you should only water your philo when the top quarter of the soil is dry, and make sure there is good drainage.
In the case of too many yellowing leaves, it’s a good idea to remove them – they will rarely fully recover.
A yellowing leaf is also weakened and becomes more susceptible to other pests.
Philodendron Lacerum Brown Spots
Brown spots can be an issue related to low humidity and in some cases too much direct sun. Invest in a pebble bed or humidifier.
Misting may be an option but take care not to overdo this method – it invites fungus and pests if doner excessively.
Spider mites are a nasty and annoying blight. They are small white spiders that cover the plant in little white webbing substances.
They are nasty and tend to thrive in dry, warm conditions. You may have to take action to up the humidity and maybe find a cooler spot to place the plant.
One of the nastier and more serious problems. If you spot watery lesions on the stem, it may be Erwinia blight.
This is a horrible blight that spreads, and once it sets in, there’s not much that can save the philo. It’s a bacteria that, as far as we know, has no direct counter-treatment.
Fortunately, a healthy plant can resist it. But once set in, the best option is to dispose of the plant, to avoid infecting your other houseplants.
Similar to spider mites, but slower to spread and easier to beat. You can use the same approach to ridding the plant of these crawlies.
They are usually caused by overwatering (that old culprit) and over-fertilization.
But they can also just occur. Fortunately, they’re not especially tough and can sometimes even be cleared with homemade remedies.
Solutions made with dish soap or vinegar have been bounced around as cheap solutions.
Just a word of advice: test these out on one leaf first. Still, the best practice is to go with pesticide soap and/or neem oil.
Philodendron Lacerum Frequently Asked Questions
New owners often ask these questions about plants that we’ve not covered above, and they’re important. So here are the answers.
Is Philodendron Lacerum Safe for Cats?
Yes. Philodendron lacerum is toxic for pets. So keep an eye out when you introduce one to the home.
In most cases, animals have an instinct about these things and will show little to no interest in the plants. But now and again a kitty goes all curious.
Are Philodendron Lacerum Poisonous for People?
Yes! This makes it a more pressing concern if you have small children, who like to put things in their mouth – as they all do at a certain age.
Lacerum is toxic to humans if ingested. Try to keep young toddlers and infants away from them.
Last Word on Philodendron Lacerum Plant
As for our Gorgeous green Philodendron lacerum, it’s a tropical, climbing plant, and a somewhat hardy plant.
Hopefully, this article offers you valuable tips on how to take care of a philodendron. These few basic protocols when looking after your lacerum will go a long way to keeping it healthy, green, and beautiful.
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