There are hundreds of species in the Philodendron genus, and they come in all shapes, colors, and sizes. From the rare and majestic Gloriosum to the humbler heartleaf varieties, philodendrons have it all.
While there are hundreds of species, Philodendron types are separated into two categories: vining (these look stunning climbing up a green wall) and non-vining. Although most philodendrons will flower in the right conditions, they are grown for their beautiful foliage – and it’s not hard to see why! They add a tropical feel to any home, are relatively easy to care for, and they’re easy to propagate.
The key to growing beautiful, healthy philodendrons is mimicking their natural habitat as closely as possible. Because philodendrons grow naturally in tropical areas, you’ll want to provide plenty of moisture and warmth, but don’t place them in direct sunlight – you can burn the leaves!
By following these five guidelines, your philodendrons can live a long and happy life under your care.
1. Lighting Requirements
Because philodendrons grow in tropical conditions as understory plants, they need bright, indirect light to thrive. When growing them indoors, place them by a window that gets plenty of natural indirect light.
So, how do you know if your philodendrons are getting too much or too little light?
If your philodendrons become leggy, move them to a spot with more light. If your philodendrons’ leaves become yellow or burned, place them in a shadier area.
2. Soil Mix
In philodendrons’ natural habitat, they grow in well-draining soil rich in organic matter. When growing them indoors in containers, choose a chunky soil mix with a good amount of peat moss – this will ensure that water drains fast enough to discourage root rot, but the soil still retains some moisture.
Philodendrons are susceptible to salt and mineral buildup, so it’s recommended to pot up your philodendrons or refresh their soil every year or so. You should also flush your pots periodically to rinse out any salt accumulation in the soil.
3. Watering Frequency
Since philodendrons are from tropical regions, they need a moderate amount of water. However, you should never overwater your plants – the best way to tell if a philodendron needs watering is to water only when the top inch of soil has completely dried out.
How often you water your philodendrons will depend on your climate and humidity but don’t forget to reduce your watering frequency during winter.
4. Temperature and Humidity
Although the temperature and humidity requirements for philodendrons vary for different species, most philodendrons cannot tolerate temperatures below 55 degrees Fahrenheit. When growing them indoors, keep them away from cold drafts and air conditioners.
Because philodendrons are tropical plants, they do best with moderate to high humidity (around 60%). To increase the relative humidity around your philodendrons, place them on a pebble tray, near a humidifier, or mist the leaves regularly.
In the growing season (spring and summer), your philodendrons will require fertilizer every month or so. Use a balanced and organic liquid fertilizer monthly, and reduce feeding by half during autumn and winter.
You can tell if your philodendron isn’t getting enough nutrients by looking at the leaves – if they are small, deformed, pale, or slow-growing, increase the amount of fertilizer you feed it.