Ultimate Philodendron Care Guide

The Philodendron genus contains hundreds of species of beautiful foliage plants. This classic plant is among the most popular houseplants, and philodendron care is easy even for beginners. In fact, they’re often touted for their air-cleaning abilities indoors (which we have debunked here). Their leaves are typically large, green, and glossy, adding a touch of their native tropical jungles to your home. 

In this ultimate guide of how to grow a philodendron you will learn about this popular house plant which has been a favorite for generations of plant lovers, including;

  • Types of Philodendron.
  • Basic philodendron care.
  • Are philodendrons toxic?
  • Common pests and diseases of the philodendron.
  • Is My Plant a Pothos or a Philodendron?

Philodendron varieties are some of the easiest, fastest-growing houseplants out there! Its easy going nature, ease of propagation, and whimsical beauty makes the philodendron one of the best houseplants for beginners. Philodendrons are so easy to grow they made our list of the 20 Best Indoor Plants You Can’t Kill.

The name philodendron is derived from the Greek words philo (love) and dendron (tree). With over 450 varieties of philodendron around the world, there is sure to be one that you will love.

philodendron care

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Types of Philodendron

The two main types of philodendron houseplants are vining and non-climbing varieties.

  1. Vining philodendrons need a post or other supporting structure to climb on. These include blushing philodendrons and heartleaf philodendrons.
  2. Non-climbing philodendrons, such as lacy tree philodendrons and bird’s nest philodendrons, have an upright, spreading growth habit. The width of non-climbers can be as much as twice their height, so give them plenty of elbow room.

Philodendron care Basics

Philodendron care incorporates a few basic needs: sunlight, water, temperature, and fertilizer.

Light requirements

Philodendrons grow best in medium light and bright indirect sunlight.

Older leaves turn yellow naturally. However, if you notice several yellow leaves at once, it could be an indicator that the plant is getting too much sun.

They will tolerate low light, but if the stems become leggy with several inches between the leaves, you may need to move the plant to a brighter location.

Water Requirements

Water when the top inch of soil dries out.

Take care not to overwater, since philodendron will rot if kept soggy. If the leaves are brown and falling off, the plant is likely not getting enough water.

Droopy leaves can mean the plant is getting either too much or not enough water, but they should revive once you correct the issue.

Temperature and Humidity

The temperature tolerance of philodendrons varies based on the species. In general, they should not be exposed to temperatures below 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

Indoors, protect them from cool drafts, such as those from an air-conditioning vent.

These plants do like humidity, so if you live in a dry climate you might have to boost humidity around your philodendron. To do so, you can place a humidifier, such as this one, near your philodendron. You also can place the container on a tray of pebbles filled with water, ensuring that the bottom of the container isn’t touching the water, which can lead to root rot.

Brown leaf tips usually indicate that the humidity level is too low.

philodendron care

Fertilizer

Feed philodendron houseplants with a balanced liquid foliage houseplant fertilizer that contains macro-nutrients. Water the plant with the fertilizer monthly in spring and summer and every six to eight weeks in fall and winter.

Slow growth and small leaf size is the plant’s way of telling you that it isn’t getting enough fertilizer.

Pale new leaves usually indicate that the plant isn’t getting enough calcium and magnesium, which are essential micro-nutrients for philodendrons.

Are philodendron Toxic?

Philodendron should not be consumed by animals or humans.

Lacy tree philodendrons are toxic to cats and dogs.

Being educated on poisonous plants can help you avoid any accidents all the while enjoying your greenery.

Philodendron Pests & Problems

Philodendron are not prone to insects, but you may encounter aphids and mealybugs.

You can wipe off mealybugs with cotton balls dipped in rubbing alcohol.

Periodically showering the plant with water and applying insecticidal soap will help keep pests at bay.

Is My Plant a Pothos or a Philodendron?

Philodendron houseplants are often confused with pothos plants. While the leaves of these two plants are similar in shape, the stems of pothos plants are grooved, while those of philodendrons are not.

New philodendron leaves emerge surrounded by a leaf sheath, which eventually dries and falls off. Pothos leaves don’t have this sheath.

Pothos also need brighter light and warmer temperatures, and are frequently sold in hanging baskets.

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