Philodendrons are a great way to learn about indoor plants.
My partner and I created a yoga studio with low-light conditions that required lush foliage quickly. We also needed it to be able to tolerate low light. So we turned to the philodendrons. They can handle both. My gardening experience has been primarily focused on the outdoors.
They grew to at least twenty feet in length within a few years. The vines wrapped around the art on the walls and climbed up the curtain rods on either side of the room. Their growth exceeded all our expectations and they did not disappoint.
These plants from Central and South America can withstand low light conditions and neglect much better than any other Philodendron species. There are over 500 Philodendron species. Even the most novice gardener should not have any trouble getting excellent results.
A vertical close-up of a heartleaf philodendron in a pot. The picture is on a white shelf with a beige background. The frame has a section of printed text in white and green at the bottom and center.
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This is no surprise, considering how easy they are to maintain and how attractive they look. These plants are often used in homes as well as in offices, lobbies, and shopping centers.
If you live in USDA Hardiness Zones 9–11, you will be pleased to learn that many of these cultivars can also be grown outside in a greenhouse.
Read on to find out how adaptable plants can give your garden a sophisticated look while still adding a touch of the tropics to places with little light.
One example of what is?
Due to their size, the physical characteristics of philodendrons vary from one species to another. These characteristics include the size and shape of the leaves; maturity size; growth habits; and color.
A vertical close-up of potted philodendrons that can be found at a garden centre.
They share many common characteristics, including large, lobed leaves; long aerial roots; and parallel leaf veins. Their growth patterns are similar. Below are some of their common characteristics.
The leaves of seedlings are usually shaped like hearts when they emerge from the soil. As the plant ages, the leaves can take on a variety of shapes, including large hearts, lily pads, and arrowheads.These designs can be found on the plant’s leaves.
The Greek words “philo” and “dendron” are the two main sources of the word “love”. The term “philodendron” is derived from this. This genus includes most species that are climbing or vine-like. This is a good description of most species.
When they are in their natural environment, larger individuals can eat entire trees. They are not as prolific indoors as they are outdoors. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about them eating your plants or your home.
Despite this, it is important to take care that they don’t dig into your walls. I learned the hard way. If they grow a bit too large for your needs (or the space you have), it is easy to trim them. For more information, continue reading.
Two primary types of Philodendrons can be classified: self-heading, non-vining varieties and climbing varieties.
Self-heading cultivars have leaves that are very close together. This makes it almost impossible to see the stem until some leaves fall off (normally the older ones).
As a way to support themselves, self-heading plants often produce aerial roots. These roots go all the way down from the stem to the soil. They are not meant to take in nutrients or water; instead, they support the plant’s structure.
Climbing or vining types often grow on trees in their natural environment. They can either start their lives inside the tree or germinate in the soil. After that, they will reach for support from a trunk and eventually reach the canopy of the tree.
History and Cultivation
Charles Plumier, a French botanist, was the one who introduced philodendrons to Europe for the first time in 1693.
A P. wendlandii leaf growing in the garden is shown in a horizontal close-up. Water droplets are accumulating on the leaf.
In the 17th and 18th centuries, there was a rise in travel to the tropical regions of the New World. This led to the discovery of more species. Heinrich Schott, an Austrian botanist, had already described 135 species by the end of 1860. However, at least 489 species are now known.
The growth patterns of philodendrons can help you distinguish between three types.
It is an epiphytic plant that grows on the surfaces of other plants.
The term hemiepiphytic refers to the plant’s ability to grow from both the ground and other plants.
Epiphytes typically grow on the surface or under the skin of host plants, taking in nutrients and moisture from the air, rain, and other detritus. With the possible exception of shading or smothering their hosts, epiphytes are not likely to cause any harm to them.
These are the plants that you most likely know about. These plants get all their nutrients from the soil where they grow.
A vertical close-up of a heartleaf Philodendron plant. It is growing inside a container and is sitting on a windowsill.
This growth pattern is further divided into two major categories. A hemiepiphyte plant is one that spends part of its life as an epiphyte and part of its life as a terrestrial plant.
Primary hemiepiphytes are seeds that are scattered in the tree canopy. They either germinate by themselves or with the help of birds or other animals, and then attach to their host tree. As the plant grows, roots will start to emerge that will eventually reach the forest floor. These roots will eventually reach the soil, where they can absorb nutrients and water.
Secondary hemiepiphytes are usually rooted vines that climb into the canopy of their host trees. Later, many species may become epiphytes and can be completely detached from the earth.
Philodendrons are, unlike many epiphytes, unlikely to die if they become separated from their host. This is a fascinating fact. They are extremely hardy and stubborn, and can quickly burrow into the ground and capture their host or grab another host to begin their ascent.
A horizontal view of a leaf plant that has light green leaves
Most philodendrons can be grown outside in Zones 9–11 all year. The widespread heart-leaf Philodendron (P. hederaceum) is not suitable for growing outdoors in Zones 11–12.
The plants can thrive in almost any environment, and they do well. They can grow well in areas with less humidity, even though they prefer more humid conditions.
No matter whether you grow your plants indoors or outdoors, it is crucial to understand the natural growth patterns of each plant. Epiphytes are plants that thrive on other plants and do not need a host plant.
A variegated tropical houseplant leaf is shown in close-up horizontal perspective against a white background in the image.
Secondary hemiphytes are the most commonly cultivated philodendrons. These plants need support, such as a trellis or wall hooks, to grow well.
They can also be trained so that they cascade over the edge of a planter. At this point, they need to be pruned regularly to keep their length. As will be explained in the next explanation, cuttings can be used to grow new plants.
Cuttings, air layering, and divisions are the three best methods to propagate philodendrons.
The best method to propagate philodendrons is by cuttings.
Cut off approximately two to three inches from the end of a stem to get cuttings. Alternativly, you could cut off a section that is at most 10 inches in length and divide it into pieces measuring between 2 and 3 inches.
You should take cuttings immediately under or at the leaf node. The leaves around the bottom node should be removed to make the plant ready to root.
For plants that have a head, I find that cutting the stem at the leaf node is the best way to go. It leaves a bit more of a bulge than removing the entire stem.
It is important to be cautious as philodendrons can contain a poisonous chemical called calcium oxalate. Consuming this chemical can cause burning and swelling in the mouth, neck, and lips.
It can also cause nausea, vomiting, difficulty swallowing, breathing problems, and other unpleasant symptoms.
Some people may experience irritation from the juices of the plant. This can cause reddening, itching, and irritation. To protect your hands when cutting, you should use gloves. Young children and pets should be kept away from the plants.
Inducing vomiting in an animal or human who has eaten any part of a Philodendron is not recommended. Instead, you should seek emergency medical attention.
As soon as the scissors are removed, the cut that is closest to the growing tip should always be immersed in clean water.
To ensure that liquid doesn’t lose its moisture too quickly, choose a container that can hold at least one cup of water.
A horizontal close-up picture of two hands looking at stem cuttings in a glass beaker. The background is green.
The cutting-containing section of the stem should be submerged approximately halfway up or just before the first set. Replace the water with fresh water every few days or whenever it turns cloudy. Most root growth occurs in a matter of days.
You can move roots that are less than two inches long into pots that are four inches in diameter. Then, fill the pots with the potting mix described in the section under “Soil needs.”
Keep them in the pots until they become established. Once that happens, roots will start to grow through the drainage holes. You can then transplant them into larger pots by following the instructions in the Container Selection section.
Keep cuttings in a place with a constant temperature between 70 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. For as long as there is strong indirect lighting, they can be kept in water for the duration of rooting.
A photograph of a top-down horizontal close-up of a transparent plastic humidity dome superimposed onto a white background
The Dome of Humidity
They should be kept in a humid environment. A humidity dome, such as this one from Home Depot, can be used to cover the containers.
You can also use a transparent bag to cover the containers.
A healthy stem is essential for air layering a philodendron. It must be free from disease, discolouration, and insect damage. You should remove any leaves within one to two cm (three to six inches) of a leaf node.
Use a sharp, sterilized knife to make a vertical cut through the stem. You will need to remove the outer layer of stem from all sides. However, you must be careful not to pull it off.
Apply enough rooting hormone powder or gel to the stem so that it covers the entire area. Next, apply moist but not wet peat moss to the surrounding area.
It is a good way to ensure safety by wrapping the peatmoss in plastic wrap and making sure it is fully enclosed before you tie it off.
You can cut the stem at the root of the plant if you see new roots emerging in the peatmoss pocket.
Use Divisions to Propagate Adult Philodendrons.
A horizontal, up-close image of a hand planting a section of a divided houseplant from the right side frame.
To expose the root system, first clean off as much dirt from the container as possible around the area where you want to take a section.
Next, use a sharp, clean knife to cut out the segment with at least two shoots. Be sure to keep a portion of the roots intact as you do this.
After carefully removing any root mass but without injuring the shoots or roots, you can transplant the plant into the appropriate container according to the instructions below.
You can also take the plant from its container and cut into the roots. However, you should leave at least two shots for each section.