A philodendron plant can be a dream for people who love houseplants but don’t have much experience maintaining them. It’s intuitive because the plant will sort of “nudge” you and tell you what it needs in terms of plant care. And its green leaves and vining habits add that “organic” aesthetic to any home.
So, how do you take care of philodendron plants? The good news is that if you avoid overwatering, philodendron care can be just about foolproof. Let’s learn more about the care tips you’ll need to keep this plant looking full and healthy around the house for years.
What Soil Works Best for Philodendron Plants?
Philodendron plants need well-draining soil. They prefer an acidic potting mix high in porous materials that create air space, such as sphagnum moss, perlite, and bark. This potting mix allows water to flow freely through the soil and prevents excess water from building up in the pot.
How Much Sun Does a Philodendron Plant Need?
Avoid placing your philodendron in direct sunlight. These plants prefer indirect light, such as near a sunny window. They do great in hanging baskets that elevate them off the floor and allow plenty of growth.
We tend to think of sunlight as “plant food,” so we feel guilty when we keep houseplants like philodendrons out of direct light. It’s as if we’re starving the plants! But the truth is, a medium amount of indirect light will work just fine.
You should, however, watch the stems. If you don’t have vining philodendrons and notice overly long stems, it may signify that the philodendron isn’t getting enough light and attempting to “grow” more access to the light source. Don’t move it to direct sunlight but try to see if there’s a more prominent and well-lit place to give your philodendron light. These plants have climbing varieties that may try to seek more sunlight, so make sure that you check what kind of philodendron plant you have before making a diagnosis.
What Temperature Works Best for Philodendrons?
Philodendrons do best at temperatures ranging between 65- and 78-degrees Fahrenheit during the day. However, they prefer cooler temperatures between 60- and 65-degrees Fahrenheit at night.
Luckily, these temperatures align with what we keep in our homes with most of us. That makes philodendrons great house plants because they thrive in these indoor temperatures.
Do Philodendrons Enjoy Humidity?
Philodendrons originate from topical environments like the rainforest, so they enjoy humidity. Therefore, they do best in humid rooms, such as bathrooms or near a sink. You can also consider investing in a humidifier or humidity tray to add moisture to the room and simulate the tropical environments the philodendron desires.
How Often Should You Water a Philodendron Plant?
Philodendrons grow best in soil that is moist but never wet. So let the top inch of soil get dry in between waterings. But don’t let the entire pot go bone dry. Before watering, stick your finger in the top inch of the potting soil to test how dry it is.
You never want to water a philodendron’s potting soil so much that you get to standing water.
What Size Do Philodendrons Grow to Typically?
Typically, philodendrons grow very quickly. They can put out vines that grow as long as 20 feet depending on the variety. That said, the average philodendron tends to be closer to three feet tall and wide. You can also trim your philodendron frequently to keep it at a manageable size in your home.
Most Common Bugs
Philodendrons don’t usually have issues with pests, but they can get aphids, spider mites, and mealybugs. Regularly inspect the stems and leaves for signs of these pests.
If your plant gets bugs, you can spray the plant down with a solid stream of water to get rid of aphids. You can also wash the plant with a gentle bath of insecticidal soap. Then place the plant in the sun to dry it off.
Most Common Diseases
Overwatering or poor drainage can cause your philodendron to develop root rot. If you notice issues like a bad smell in the soil or you’ve gone overboard with the watering, repot the plant with new soil immediately.
Philodendrons can also suffer from fungal infections called leaf spot disease. It will develop large, irregular spots on the reddish-brown leaves and yellow. If your philodendron produces a fungus, wash your plant with a fungicide.
Do Philodendrons Like Coffee Grounds?
One solution people swear by, especially if you have a slow-growing plant, is mixing coffee grounds with the soil to fertilizer. Coffee grounds will add acidity and nitrogen content to the soil, boosting the plant’s needs.
Alternatively, you can feed your philodendron liquid fertilizer. Generally, as an indoor plant with plenty of strength, a philodendron won’t need a ton of at-home remedies like this. But it can’t hurt, especially if you notice that your philodendron isn’t looking its best.
How Often Should You Repot Philodendron Plants?
Philodendrons need repotting every two to three years in a slightly larger pot each time. If the plant’s roots start to grow out the bottom of the pot and the plant begins to look overgrown, it may need repotting sooner.
How Do You Propagate a Philodendron?
If you want to propagate your philodendrons, you can take 3–6-inch stem cuttings from your plant and place them in potting soil or a cup of water. Place them somewhere where they’ll get plenty of light, and a new plant will take root and grow!
Climbing vs. Non-Climbing Philodendron Plants
There are vining/climbing varieties of philodendrons, and they may need structures on which to fix themselves. There are also non-climbing philodendrons, which grow upright and spread a little more naturally.
If your philodendron looks saggy, it might need something to support it. Consider repotting your philodendron and mounting it on a trellis to give it something to climb.
Conclusion — How to Take Care of a Philodendron Plant
Even if it sounds like a lot, you’ll be surprised at how well the philodendron succeeds in indoor light. Inspect it, prune it often, but otherwise leave it alone—and it will reward you with its bright green leaves. Just keep in mind that philodendron plants are toxic, so you’ll want to keep them out of the range of pets and children.