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Philodendron

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  • Indoor Plants
Philodendron hederaceum 'Brazil'
Photo: Jardin botanique de Montréal (Josée Bouthot)

Onglets

Botany

Origin and description

Most philodendrons grow in the tropical forests of America. They prefer moist, shady sites. Philodendron scandens ssp. oxycardium is a species with slender stems and small, dark green, heart-shaped leaves. Climbing philodendron is commonly grown in a hanging basket so it cascades over the edges or trained to grow up a moss stake.

Species, cultivars and related plants

Philodendron domesticum grows to 1.50 metres. It has bright green, arrow-shaped leaves with pointed tips. There is also a green, yellow and cream variegated cultivar. Philodendron erubescens grows 1.80 metres tall. It has reddish petioles, and arrow-shaped leaves that emerge purple-red then turn bright green with copper colouring and the underside tinged with purple. Philodendron melanochrysum is a spectacular plant but a little more difficult to grow. Its elongated arrow-shaped leaves, which emerge coppery then turn a beautiful dark satiny green with prominent bright green veins, can grow to 80 cm long and 40 cm wide. Philodendron selloum (syn. Philodendron bipinnatifidum) is a species with large leaves deeply divided into many lobes. This philodendron starts out erect but will require support as it ages. Philodendron 'Black Cardinal' has an upright growth habit with 30-cm long dark green lance-shaped leaves with a raised midrib. Philodendron 'Burgundy' is a small, slow-growing hybrid that is a popular apartment plant. It has purple petioles and stems, and its bright red young leaves mature into large olive green leaves with a burgundy underside.

Toxicity

Philodendron contains substances that irritate the skin and mucous membranes. Keep this potentially toxic plant out of the reach of children and pets.

Common name

Philodendron / Parlor ivy

Latin name (genus)

Philodendron scandens ssp.oxycardium

French common name

Botanical family

  • Araceae
Horticulture

Growing conditions

Climbing philodendron likes bright but not direct sunlight. It does best near a west-facing window. It survives in low-light situations but the stems and leaves will be stronger and more colourful in bright light. Although temperatures can be cooler in winter (16 to 18ºC), normal indoor room temperatures (18 to 24ºC) are ideal year round. Temperatures should always be above 13ºC. Climbing philodendron requires high humidity.

Easy to grow?

Climbing philodendron is easy to grow, but will not flower indoors.

Watering and fertilizer

During the growing period (March to October), water regularly, allowing the soil surface to dry out between waterings. Avoid over-watering and never leave any water standing in the saucer. In winter, cut back on watering but do not let the soil dry out completely. Fertilize two or three times during the growing period with an indoor plant food or an all-purpose fertilizer like 20-20-20.

Pruning and maintenance

Shower off dusty plants with lukewarm water or wipe the leaves with a damp sponge. Pinch stems back to encourage ramification.

Repotting

Climbing philodendron likes to be potbound. Repot if necessary in spring in a slightly acidic potting mix rich in organic material, such as well-draining tropical plant mix.  Since philodendron prefers light soil, be careful not to compact the soil when repotting. For climbers, insert a solid, porous support into the pot such as a cork or moss stake you can keep moist.

Pests and diseases
Physiological disorders

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