All about the Philodendron
Philodendron is an evergreen perennial vine with large green heart-shaped glossy leaves. These beautiful foliage plants thrive well indoors, possessing air-cleaning properties, clearing the environment of toxins produced by other chemical products. Their different varieties have different physical characteristics, adding style and color to your indoor space.
Coming from the Araceae family, Philodendron or Philodendron Hederaceum has various names; some of them include:
- Swiss Cheese Plant
- Hurricane plant
- Split-leaf Philodendron
- Mexican Breadfruit
Different types of the Philodendron
There are two types of this plant: vining plants and non-climbing plants. The former can grow several meters tall and often needs a supporting structure to grow on to, like a trellis or basket. The non-climbing Philodendrons grow upright and have beautiful foliage while in containers. Some of the different varieties of these plants are:
- Philodendron Scandens: This Plant has heart-shaped multi-colored leaves
- Philodendron erubescens: This plant has reddish stems and leaves and is a vigorous climber
- Philodendron Melanochrysum: This plant has dark velvety leaves, powdered in bronze
- Philodendron Rojo: This plant remains small and manageable for everyone
- Philodendron Bipinnatifidum: This plant is also called the lacy tree and has deeply lobed leaves
Origin of the Philodendron
The Philodendron is native to Tropical America and usually grows in Brazil and Paraguay's rainforests. Despite the tropical conditions it is used to, this plant can be grown in different climate conditions and is easy to care for. Perfect for a houseplant.
In Greek, Philio means "love" while dendron means "tree".
How to take care of Philodendron
Taking care of Philodendrons is very easy. They cannot be exposed to temperatures below 12.8 C, and even indoors, they need to be protected from cool drafts of air. This plant also requires a lot of humidity, which you can maintain by misting them every few days or placing a tray of pebbles and water near the plant.
Philodendrons should be watered every 1-2 weeks, allowing 2.5 cm of the soil to dry in between watering. You can check the moisture level by placing your finger in the soil before watering the plant. More water will be required if your plant is exposed to more sunlight.
The leaves will become droopy if your plant isn't getting sufficient or insufficient water. Once you fix your mistake, the leaves will revive into their upright position. They also don't do well sitting in soggy soil as well, causing root rot as a consequence. The non-climbing variety of Philodendron has more tendency to be drought-tolerant in comparison to the vining variety.
Philodendrons need indirect, bright sunlight and should preferably be placed near a window where the sunlight does not reach its foliage. If your plant's leaves begin to turn yellow, it could be because it is receiving too much sunlight, which can harm it.
On the other hand, if your plant has long stems with a greater distance between leaves, it could be because it isn't receiving sufficient sunlight.
Philodendrons like loose, well-draining soil that's rich in organic matter. You should replace your plant's soil every couple of years for better successful growth. You will need to drain out salts from the soil well since the plant is sensitive to these salts.
For fertilizers, a balanced liquid fertilizer is recommended every month, in the Spring and in the Summer. Lack of proper fertilizer will result in slow growth and smaller leaves.
Pale new leaves indicate that your plant isn't getting enough magnesium and calcium, essential micronutrients for the plant.
Philodendrons are excellent air purifiers known to clean the air of formaldehyde, which is present in cleaning products like carpeting. NASA recommends having this plant clear the air of air pollution and harmful carcinogens.
The plant's leaves contain a high level of calcium oxalate, making it extremely toxic for humans and animals alike if ingested. They can cause drooling, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and lack of appetite, along with swelling, pain, blistering around the mouth and throat.
Propagation of the Philodendron
The vining philodendrons are easy to propagate using cuttings. After cutting off around 15 cm of the stem, place it in a water container to grow roots. Even though it's unnecessary, you can use a root hormone to increase the chances of propagating.
After you see that several roots have developed in the container, you can plant them in moist soil. The non-climbing plants sometimes develop plantlets that can be separated from the main plant and removed with roots, and planted in moist soil in another pot.