Philodendron Care and Cultivation

The Philodendron is the most popular and widespread houseplant and the plant “friend of the trees” because in nature it grows on the trees of the tropical forests that it uses as a support.

BOTANIC CLASIFICATION

Kingdom : Plantae
clade : Angiosperms
clade : Monocotyledons
Order : Alismatales
Family : Araceae
Gender : Philodendron
Species : see the section “Main species”

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS
The Monstera , better known by the name of philodendron ( Philodendron ) , is one of the most popular plants in our apartments.

It belongs to the Araceae family and its particularity is the very large, glossy and leathery leaves that can reach a length of even a meter and a width of 50 cm.

In any case it must be kept in mind that in this genus there is a great dimorphism that is to say that very often young plants have very different characteristics from adult plants, especially as regards the leaves.

Philodendron flowering
A peculiarity common to all species is that of having aerial roots that grow at the level of the nodes and that are used to attach themselves to a support (they are in fact considered epiphytic plants even if given the vast number of species there are also terrestrials).

philodendron leaf The leaves are very different in shape and size depending on the species and have in common the fact that when they are born they remain wrapped up in stipules until the petiole has completely developed.

The flowers are collected in typical inflorescences of the family and consist of a whitish spathe with a yellow-whitish spadix in the center.

The nature of this plant produces a fruit (berry) of flavor similar to pineapple. It is very rare in our homes to fructify.

MAIN SPECIES

There are about 300 species of Philodendron among which we remember

PHILODENDRON PERTUSUM
Philodendron pertusum

Philodendron pertusum is a plant native to Mexico and Guatemala.

It is a plant that can reach remarkable dimensions, even of four meters.

The young leaves are recognized by the older ones because the latter are deeply incised, unlike the young ones that remain whole and more or less heart-shaped.

At the nodes level, adventitious roots can be formed that have the nourishing and support function.

In this species we find the cultivars: Monstera deliciosa‘Borsigiana’ (pictured below left) which remains small and the Monstera deliciosa ‘Variegata’ (pictured below on the right) showing whitish-yellowish streaks.

Monstera deliciosa Borsigiana Monstera deliciosa Variegata

PHILODENDRON SCANDENS
Filodendron scandens

The Philodendron scandens (P. cordatumor P. cuspidatum ) is surely the best known species.

The leaves are small, heart-shaped, with long petioles.

The stem is rich in aerial roots with which it is still the guardian.

It has a very fast growth and it is advisable to periodically cimulate it to avoid excessive height development at the expense of lateral richness.

A particularity: they do not tolerate stale air and cigarette smoke, although this is particularly indicated as an indoor plant.

Its name derives from the Latin scandens«climbing»

PHILODENDRON SQUAMIFERUM
Philodendron: cultivation and care

The Philodendron squamiferum is native to Brazil and owes its name to the scales that cover the petioles.

The leaves are very large and of a beautiful intense green.

This species of philodendron is very robust and grows very well reaching large dimensions.

PHILODENDRON HASTATUM

The Philodendron hastatum is native to Brazil and owes its name to the fact that it recalls the flag pole of the Roman legionnaire.

In fact, the central rib, for a certain stretch, is devoid of the leaf blade.

He lives perched on the trees and if he does not find a support, he forms a tangle of almost impenetrable roots and leaves.

Among all the Philodendron is the one that has less climatic needs in fact during the vegetative rest it lives even at temperatures around zero, and in the vegetative phase, no more than 20 ° C.

There are two varieties: Philodendron hastatum ‘Rubrum’ so called because the lower page of the leaves is variegated with red and Philodendron hastatum ‘ Variegatum’ which has the yellow streaked leaves.

PHILODENDRON ERUBESCENS
Philodendron erubescens: cultivation and care

The Philodendron erubescens is native to Colombia and has beautiful long leaves and can even reach two meters in height.

The young leaves have a reddish color, while when grown up they have a dark green copper color.

PHILODENDRON VERRUCOSUM
Philodendron verrucosum: cultivation and care

The Philodendron verrucosum is native to Colombia and an imposing Philodendon with its very large and almost bullous leaves.

It is a typically climbing species and loves places in the shade.

PHILODENDRON RADIATUM
Philodendron radiatum: cultivation and care

The Philodendron radiatum is native to Mexico has very large leaves, large deeply lobed and very developed in width and are carried by very long petioles.

PHILODENDRON ANDREANUM

The Philodendron andreanum is native to Colombia and is an impressive philodendron with its very large and almost bullous leaves.

It is a typically climbing species and loves places in the shade.

PHILODENDRON SELLOUM
Filodendro selloum: cultivation and care

The Philodendron selloum is a very large species and its particularity are the leaf petioles that can reach even 40 cm in length. Low temperatures tolerate very well

PHILODENDRON LACERUM

The Philodendron lacerum is a very vigorous species, with very large leaves and all deeply engraved enough to look torn, hence the name.

PHILODENDRON SODIROIThe Philodendron sodiroi is a very rare species with silver-stained heart-shaped leaves and petioles and purple veins.

PHILODENDRON GLORIOSUM

The Philodendron gloriosum has heart-shaped leaves with ivory-colored ribs

PHILODENDRON NAMEI

The Philodendron namei has heart-shaped and almost curly leaves with silvery shades. Low temperatures tolerate very well

PHILODENDRON ELEGANS

The Philodendron elegans is a species, as the name implies, has a very elegant appearance, with deeply incised leaves, small enough.

CULTURAL TECHNIQUE

The considerations set out below refer to the species commonly found in our apartments.

Philodendron is a plant that loves light but not direct sun that can burn leaves.

To clean the leaves, because of their size they are easily dusted, use a very soft damp cloth and proceed gently to avoid damaging the leaves.

It is not recommended the use of foliar polishes that can clog the pores (stomata) of the plant.

Philodendron does not like low temperatures. Already temperatures below 13 ° C are badly tolerated.

Flowers usually appear during the summer although it is quite rare for this to happen at home.

WATERING

During the summer the philodendron should be watered often.

It is important to proceed with irrigation when the surface layer of the soil has dried and being careful not to leave water in the saucer.

On hot days the philodendron takes advantage of a lot of nebulizations on the leaves that create a moist microclimate, pleasing to the plant.

During autumn and winter, watering should be reduced and the soil should always be dried a little before proceeding to the next irrigation.

TYPE OF LAND – RINVASO
How to put a brace to the philodendron plant

The philodendron is repotted every year around February / March up to a maximum size of the vase of 50 cm.

You must use a soil rich in organic substance, quite coarse with peat, beech leaves and soil by placing terracotta pots on the bottom of the pot in order to promote water drainage.

Once the vase has reached the dimensions indicated above, every year, the surface layer of earth is removed for about 3 cm and is replaced with new soil.

These plants often need a brace, and those covered with moss are optimal when settling.

FERTILIZER
During the whole spring and summer period, it is necessary to fertilize every 3 weeks with a liquid fertilizer administered together with irrigation water.

As for the type of fertilizer to be administered, there are many types on the market but it is good practice to read the label that specifies the composition.

For all green plants, that is to say for those plants that develop many leaves, it is preferable to use fertilizers that have a fairly high titre in nitrogen (N) which favors the development of the green parts.

Therefore, be sure that in addition to having the so-called macroelements such as nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) and that among these the nitrogen is in greater quantity that also has microelements,

FLOWERING
In cultivation it is very rare that the filodenro flourishes.

Philodendron flowering

PRUNING
Filoden trim

Usually the Philodendron can not be trimmed. The leaves are simply eliminated which gradually dry up to prevent them from becoming a vehicle for parasitic diseases.

If you want to have a more compact development of the plant you can implement the topping of the vegetative apices.

Take care that the tool you use for cutting is clean and disinfected (preferably flame) to avoid infecting tissues.

MULTIPLICATION

The philodendron is multiplied by cuttings.

MULTIPLIKING FOR TALEA

philodendron plant

 

At the beginning of the summer, an apex of the philodendron plant with a few leaves and small aerial roots, at least 15 cm long and with three knots, is cut immediately under the node.

It is recommended to cut with a razor blade or with a sharp knife to avoid fraying of fabrics taking care that the tool used for cutting is clean and disinfected. After removing the lower-lying leaves, the cut part is immersed in a rhizogenic powder to promote rooting.

Philodendrion

Subsequently, the cuttings are arranged in a compound formed in equal parts by peat and coarse sand. You make holes with a pencil and arrange themselves as shown in the picture. Take care to gently compact the soil.

Use a small jar, no more than 7 cm.

The vase is covered with a sheet of transparent plastic (or a bag put a cap) and is placed in a place where there is abundant light (but not direct sun) and a temperature around 24 ° C taking care to keep the soil always slightly wet (always water without rooting the seedlings in rooting with water at room temperature).

Every day the plastic is removed to check the soil moisture and remove the condensation from the plastic.

Once the first shoots begin to appear (about 5-6 weeks), it means that the cutting has taken root.

At that point the plastic is removed and the jar is placed in a brighter area, at the same temperature and the cutting is expected to be strengthened.

Leave the cutting where it is until February-March when you will transplant it in the pot and in the final soil as indicated for the adult plants. Do not disturb the cuttings until they have put the new jets.

Many species root even if placed simply in water.

PARASITES AND DISEASES
Yellowed leaves

It means that the plant receives too much water.
Remedies: reduce watering.

Diseases of filodenro: yellowed leaves
Leaves with obvious burns

When the leaves show this symptom it means that the plant has been exposed to direct sun, especially if it is sprayed with water when it was in the sun.

Remedies: arrange the plant in a more suitable place bright but not with direct sun.

Spots on the lower page of the leaves

Spots on the lower page of the leaves could mean that you are in the presence of cochineal and in particular of the mealy cochineal.

To be certain, it is recommended to make use of a magnifying glass and observe it. Compare them with the photo on the side.

They are characteristics, you can not go wrong. Also if you try to remove them with a nail, they come away easily.

Mealy cochineal

Remedies: remove them with a cotton swab soaked in alcohol or if the plant is large and potted, you can wash it with a water and neutral soap rubbing very gently with a sponge to remove the parasites, after which the plant should be rinsed very well for eliminate all the soap. For larger plants planted outdoors, you can use specific pesticides available from a good nurseryman.

Leaves that start to turn yellow, appear yellow and brown speckled

If the leaves start to turn yellow and after these manifestations they curl up, take on an almost powdery appearance and fall.

Observing carefully you can also notice the fine spider webs especially on the lower page of the leaves.

With this symptomatology we are very likely in the presence of an attack of red spidermite, a very annoying and harmful mite.

Plant mites

Remedies: increase the frequency of the nebulisations to the crown (the lack of humidity favors their proliferation) and eventually, only in case of particularly severe infestations, use a specific insecticide.

If the plant is not particularly large, you can also try to clean the leaves to mechanically eliminate the parasite using a wet and soapy cotton swab.

After that the plant should be rinsed very well to remove all the soap.

Cold damage on the philodendron
Leaves with brown spots especially along the edges

Brown spots are very often a symptom of too low temperatures (below 13 ° C).

Remedies: move the plant to a more suitable place

CURIOSITY’

The word Philodendron derives from the Greek and means phileo “love” and ” dendros ” tree “, hence” love for the trees “for the growth as an epiphytic plant (plants that possess aerial roots and grow fixed to the trees that they use as support) on trees, almost embracing them.

Not everyone knows that all parts of the plant are toxic due to the presence of calcium oxalate crystals and oxalic acid which may have a caustic action on the skin with ulcerations when it comes into contact with these substances.

See Also:

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