Chances are, you’ve owned, encountered, or at least seen a variety of philodendron in someone’s home.
Philodendrons are a group of plants originating from the American tropics. They have a wonderful reputation for being easy to grow as well as resilient.
They are indeed prolific, pretty green houseplants, common in many varieties, and hugely popular for their ease of care.
They also make fine indoor and greenhouse plants, coming in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and colors.
Let’s take a look at just a few of the most common or well-known types of philodendron plants you might consider for your home.
How Many Types of Philodendron Are There?
When it comes to the specific number of different philodendron variations, there is a small degree of dispute. But most sources agree that there are at least 489 species of philodendron.
Most of these different kinds of philodendron available are fairly easy to acquire if you don’t mind doing a bit of shopping around. Specific variations can also be found through specialists.
Philos vary in the way they grow. Some are creepers, running up trees, walls, poles, or fences. Others grow in the ground and are able to stand by themselves, looking like small trees.
There are also a few that grow low and resemble shrubs. But all have their beautiful leaves in common. Some leaves are large and droopy, others small and colorful.
Some types of philodendrons can grow quite large and take up an entire wall of a house with an unsuspecting owner.
A healthy philodendron given plenty of bright indirect light can grow up to three meters in height. Some will even flower.
Are All Philodendrons Toxic?
Yes, philodendrons is considered toxic to pets. So, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on when introducing one to the home. In most cases, cats and dogs naturally avoid poisonous plants but make sure yours are not too curious about your new guest.
Philodendron plants also cause skin irritation and allergic reaction in people when handled. If you’re unsure, wear gloves when tending to the plant.
Is a Monstera a Philodendron?
The short answer is – no. Monsteras are sometimes mistaken for Philodendron – they are both from the arum family (Araceae).
But monstera is a different plant type, even though their leaves may look similar, and they are often erroneously called split leaf philodendron.
What is the difference between Monstera and Philodendron?
The main difference is probably the fact that the monstera bears fruit, while the philo is more like a vine (save for two known variations).
Monstera leaves will also develop holes in them – they are sometimes called the “swiss cheese plant”. It is more closely related to the peace lily.
Types of Philodendron – Philodendron Varieties with Names and Photos
This is a truly versatile plant, and because they’re fairly easy to propagate and take care of, they are popular with novice plant owners.
Philodendrons are characterized by big leaves. They do come in various colors and patterns, though, making them perfect decorative plants.
They also have both aerial and underground roots. Perhaps this is what allows them to survive so well both indoors and outdoors.
Experienced plant owners also cite their well-known ability to filter the air. They’re especially known for absorbing airborne formaldehyde.
With all that said, here are some of the varieties of philodendron lower classifications you may be able to acquire for your home.
Philodendron Hederaceum ‘Heartleaf Philodendron’
This variety grows fast, and with a bit of planning and plotting will make for a wonderful cascading greenery. It’s super easy to take care of, so it’s perfect for beginners.
This is a hybrid variety. Unlike many other philodendrons, the Moonlight stays fairly low and should be thought of more like a shrub.
It can reach a height of around 60cm, though, and at 40cm wide, it can still take up a bit of space.
Philodendron Domesticum ‘Elephant Ear Philodendron’
Most plants that are called elephant leaves get that name because the leaves are huge. This one is also known as an elephant ear.
It’s very common, probably because they are so easy to keep alive. A wonderful, big-leaf plant to add freshness to your home.
This one is a crawler. Its pale, almost white little veins stand out against the lush green foliage.
The stem grows along the ground, so it won’t grow high but spreads out along the ground or floor instead.
Be warned, the leaves make this one attractive to buyers, so they can be a little expensive to buy.
The yellowish-green leaves remind you of the Brazilian flag in a way. Perhaps this is why it acquired its name. The leaves are also rich, almost plastic-looking, and beautiful to the touch.
This is another very fast grower, and the common advice is to use a pot slightly bigger than normal.
Also known as Philodendron Hederaceum Micans or Velvet-Leaf Philodendron. While many philodendra can grow to huge sizes, this one is ideal for a smaller location. Suspend the pot if you want to eventually create a draping plant.
The leaves are heart shaped with reddish undersides and velvety to the touch. Expect a good size to be around 30cm tall.
A climber known for liking warm climates and mossy uprights to attach to. In their natural habitat, they grow up along the barks of trees.
But you could also suspend them to create a hanging plant if yours is not too large.
Philodendron Bipinnatifidum AKA ‘Split Leaf Philodendron’
This variety is also sometimes called an elephant ear, though it is a slightly different plant. It is also a split leaf, though. It does not climb but instead grows more shrub-like.
Leaves grow on long stems and can reach around a gorgeous 10cm long. Flowers are not common on indoor plants, but this amazing plant offers small white blooms.
Philodendron ‘Burle Marx’
The pretty red stems and bright green leaves are a definite attraction in this gorgeous viney shrub. If you want to see some extra color variations in the leaves, provide some bright sunlight (but not too direct).
Philodendron ‘Prince of Orange’
This unique hybrid variety has leaves that change color over time. What makes this one even more unique, is that the leaves grow from the center of the plant, rather than off stems or vines. Gorgeous.
Philodendron ‘Lemon Lime’
The name says a lot about this pretty plant with the citrussy color. Bright greenish yellows dominate the particularly leafy plant that looks bushy and rich.
In a species that’s reputed to be easy to maintain, this one may well be the easiest.
Philodendron ‘Imperial Green’
If you have space that doesn’t have as much light available, try this one. The big leaves help it to take advantage of whatever low light there is.
And the deep green leaves does add a lovely aspect to the room, even with low light. Try one of these in a bathroom or bedroom.
The silver leaf – as it is also known – carries patches of grey and silver on broad, olive-green heart shaped leaves.
It’s a beautiful plant that thrives in warm weather. Semi-shady spots are best and be sure to never rest the pot in water. Make sure the water drains properly.
Philodendron Xanadu (Thaumatophyllum Xanadu)
True to its name, the Xanadu suggests a feeling of luxury and idyll. If visions of disco and light shows are suggested, it’s possibly because this plant adds a tropical, almost surreal atmosphere to the room.
It’s a split leaf variety, growing upwards and outwards, making for a potential corner piece for your living room.
Rare Philodendron Varieties
Which philodendron variety is rarer than others? With so many varieties on offer, it’s hard to say with any accuracy.
But it is true that some varieties are harder to find, and therefore more valuable to collectors than others. Here are some varieties of philodendron that may not be so easy to acquire.
Lovers of philos often cite this one as a masterpiece. The huge, long, pleated leaves are certainly striking and can grow to more than a meter in length.
It’s a standing plant, but the leaves fall outwards, creating a large, lengthy drop.
While it isn’t hard to take care of, owners say that it doesn’t like moving about too much.
Philodendron White Knight
What unusual variegation – the leaves here offer attractive green and white shades, while red stems add an extra hue to proceedings.
This one grows a little slower than most and larger plants need to be polled. But with such variegation, it’s always exciting to see what a new leaf may look like.
Philodendron Erubescens (Pink Princess)
In as much as the white knight offers white variegation, the Pink Princess offers an even more exotic pink coloring on its leaves.
What makes these valuable, though, is only partly because of rarity. It’s a hybrid, but its propagation takes time, which makes it expensive to acquire.
The pink princess is a trailing plant. Be sure not to confuse it with a pink Congo variation. The Congo has leaves that are completely green, and others that are completely pink.
The leaves are also broader. The princess has leaves that are spotted or patterned both green and pink.
Lovely climbers that have lobed leaves, these plants render bright green. They originally come from Venezuela and Brazil and may be confused with delicious monsters when they’re young. The leaves have a similar texture but are thinner.
Some call this one the Gold Violin. But it’s a rare climbing variation that changes color as it grows older.
It starts as bright yellow or gold and gradually becomes greener. Its relatively small size makes it perfect for a desk.
Some Interesting Facts About Philodendron
Read on to discover just a few of the many varieties of philodendron plants. But first, you may find these random facts about the philo interesting and informative:
- The literal Greek translation of philodendron is “love tree”.
- Some are epiphytic – meaning that they grow on other plants.
- Some are terrestrial – they grow from soil. As it happens, philodendrons love to grow on trees.
- The remainder are hemiepiphytic – they are able to grow from either the soil or on other plants. Side note: The term hemiepiphyte is an interesting one and has evolved its meaning through the years.
- Philos can grow indoors in almost any climate. They may come from humid climates originally but seem to do just fine in drier air.
- Philodenra belong to the Araceae family.
- If you are growing a philo in your home, make sure they don’t dig into your walls. They don’t mind a bit of pruning so cut away if a vine gets out of hand.
- Some people mistake pothos for philodendrons. If you’d like to know how to tell the difference, read my article outlining Pothos vs Philodendron here.
What is the Most Expensive Philodendron?
The previously mentioned pink princess is a pretty expensive plant. The Colombian half-moon philodendron pink princess hybrid, in particular, has fetched impressive prices of more than $1500.
This is quite interesting for a plant that -like the rest of its species – does not require extraordinary amounts of attention.
Variegated Philodendron Minima
Known sometimes as a mini-monstera, this philo in the news certainly seems to have drawn a monster price.
In 2020, an extremely rare philodendron minima sold for an extraordinary price in New Zealand. The unique variegated philo fetched Rs 4 lakhs, which is roughly $4300.
Looking After a Philodendron Plant
Taking care of philodendron is relatively easy, and one of the most basic aspects involves using a good plant fertilizer to keep the plant well-fed and healthy.
Take care also to not overwater. This causes root rot, and also encourages fungus growth.
What is the easiest Philodendron to care for?
Many owners seem to agree that the Heartleaf Philodendron (Philodendron Hederaceum) ranks among the easiest plants to care for. If you’re starting out with philo, consider taking on this one first.
Final Thoughts On Philodendron Types
Philodendron is a highly recommended option for lovers of large plants. It’s especially great for owners who don’t want to spend too much time taking care of their plants. They grow fast and are easy to propagate.
Given that some types of philodendron house plants can be quite expensive, you may want to start with a more common variety.
But if, like many owners, you fall in love with your philo, feel free to get into the rarer or more colorful variations. This is truly a plant with which it’s hard to go wrong.
If you have a philodendron and want to share any thoughts on your experiences, please reach out. I’d love to hear any tips and stories about your experience.