Hundreds of species of beautiful foliage plants are found in the genus Philodendron. Philodendrons are great for adding a bit of their native tropical flair to your home because their leaves are typically large, green, and glossy. These popular houseplants are known for their easy growing habits, and there are two types to choose from: vining and non-climbing philodendrons. Vining varieties can grow to be several feet tall and usually require some sort of support structure to climb on, such as a trellis or around a basket. Non-climbing varieties grow upright and make excellent container foliage plants. Philodendrons, on the whole, grow quickly.

Philodendrons are another excellent plant for purifying the air in your home. Although they are best planted in the spring, houseplants can be started at any time of year. If ingested, they are toxic to both pets and humans.

  • Common Name:Philodendron
  • Botanical Name: Philodendron spp.
  • Family:Araceae
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Mature Size: 1–20 ft. tall, 1–6 ft. wide
  • Sun Exposure: Partial
  • Soil Type: Loamy, well-drained
  • Soil pH: Acidic
  • Hardiness Zones: 9–11 (USA)
  • Native Area: Central America, South America
  • Toxicity: Toxic to pets, toxic to people

Philodendron Care

Philodendrons make excellent houseplants due to their low-maintenance nature, but proper growing conditions must be maintained to keep your plant healthy. Maintain your philodendron by attempting to replicate its natural tropical environment: Warmth and moisture should be plentiful near a sunny window. Put philodendron houseplants outside in a shady spot during warm weather to get some fresh air and natural light on occasion. Direct sunlight should be avoided as it can burn their delicate leaves. Keep your plant's leaves looking and functioning their best by wiping them down with a damp cloth regularly.

There are no serious pest or disease problems with these plants. However, they are vulnerable to common houseplant pests such as aphids, mealybugs, scales, thrips, and spider mites. 3 Use a natural insecticidal soap or horticultural oil to repel pests.


This species thrives best in partial sunlight. Philodendrons require sunlight, but they prefer dappled light under a tropical canopy to direct sunlight. Set them up near a window that gets bright, indirect light indoors. Insufficient light can cause leggy growth with lots of space between the leaves. However, too much light can cause many of the leaves to turn yellow at once. (A few yellowing leaves are usually due to normal ageing.)


Philodendrons prefer loose, organically rich potting soil. The soil must be well-drained. It is recommended that you replace the soil in your philodendron container every couple of years or so. These plants are sensitive to salts that accumulate in the soil as a result of watering, which can cause browning and yellowing of the leaves. You can flush out some of the salts by thoroughly watering your container until water comes out of the drainage holes regularly. However, the soil will eventually need to be replenished.


These plants prefer a moderate level of soil moisture. When determining how frequently to water your philodendron, check its soil for the proper watering schedule: When the top inch of soil has dried out, water this plant. Overwatering and underwatering can both cause the leaves to droop, so judge when to water based on soil dryness rather than the leaves. Philodendrons do not thrive in wet soil, as this can cause root rot. The non-climbing varieties are more drought-tolerant than the vining species. Reduce your indoor plant watering schedule during the winter.

Temperature and Humidity

Temperature tolerance of philodendrons varies by species. They should not be exposed to temperatures below 55 degrees Fahrenheit in general. Indoors, they are protected from cool draughts, such as those produced by an air-conditioning vent. These plants prefer humidity, so if you live in a dry climate, you may need to increase the humidity around your philodendron. To do so, mist the plant with water from a spray bottle every few days. You can also place the container on a tray of pebbles filled with water, making sure that the bottom of the container does not come into contact with the water, which can cause root rot.


In the spring and summer, apply a balanced liquid fertiliser to your plant once a month. Follow the amount specified on the product label. Then, in the fall and winter, reduce feeding to every six to eight weeks. If your plant isn't getting enough food, it will grow slowly and its leaves may appear smaller than usual.

Types of Philodendron

The most common species of philodendron include:

  • Philodendron scandens: This plant is a very popular climber. It has heart-shaped leaves that are sometimes multicoloured.
  • Philodendron erubescens: This is a vigorous climber with reddish stems and leaves. The philodendron 'Pink Princess' variety of this species grows with heart-shaped leaves that have pink variegated sections.
  • Philodendron melanochrysum: This plant is a stunning climber with dark, velvety leaves powdered in bronze.
  • Philodendron Rojo: This is a hybrid that stays small and manageable but retains its vigour.
  • Philodendron bipinnatifidum: This is a large plant with deeply lobed leaves and is sometimes called lacy tree philodendron.
  • Philodendron 'Birkin': This variety offers thin white stripes on its green leaves, and it's sometimes referred to as white wave philodendron.
  • Philodendron hederaceum ‘Brasil’: As a cultivar of the heartleaf philodendron, this species has signature heart-shaped leaves with lime green variegation. Philodendron means is a similar cultivar with deep green leaves.
  • Philodendron gloriosum: Unlike popular trailing varieties, philodendron gloriosum has an upright growth habit with large green leaves featuring striking white veins.
  • Philodendron selloum: This extra-large variety can reach more than 5 feet wide, and its split leaves are its signature trait (not to be confused with Monstera deliciosa, which also features split leaves).


If your philodendron vines become too long or leggy, use sterilised pruning shears or scissors to trim them back. This is best done in the spring or summer. Any time of year, you can safely give your philodendron a light trim to remove yellowing leaves and spindly growth. It is best to cut just above a leaf node. Take your stem cuttings and use them to propagate your plants.

Propagating Philodendrons

Philodendrons can be propagated easily through stem cuttings and division. Increase your supply or give newly propagated pots to friends. Early spring is the best time to propagate because the days are getting longer. Here's how to grow philodendrons using these methods:

How to propagate from stem cuttings:

  • Sterilized pruning shears or heavy-duty scissors, potting mix, a pot, and, optionally, rooting hormone are required.
  • Cut a 6-inch section of the stem and place it in a water container to encourage root development. You can use a rooting hormone (as directed on the package) to increase your chances of success with rooting, but it's usually not necessary.
  • As the water evaporates, add more. If you have been sitting in the same water for more than two or three weeks, change the water completely to prevent algae or bacterial growth.
  • Once several roots have developed (usually within two weeks), pot the cutting in moist soil.

How to divide your philodendron:

  • Philodendrons frequently produce plantlets that can be separated from the main plant with their roots intact and transplanted once they reach a length of several inches.
  • Water your plant thoroughly the day before you intend to divide it. Dividing is a traumatic experience for the plant, so you want it to be at its best.
  • A sharp knife, potting mix, and a new pot are all required.
  • Remove the plant from its current container, place it on a flat, steady surface, loosen the root ball with your fingers, and pull off the plantlet with its roots. If necessary, use a knife to cut through dense roots.
  • Replant the plantlet right away in fresh, moist potting soil. Take advantage of the opportunity to re-pot the original plant in new potting soil or a slightly larger container.

Growing Philodendron From Seed

Growing philodendrons from seed take time; stem cuttings grow much faster. If you insist, you can plant several seeds in a 6-inch pot. Plant one seed every 2 inches in rich soil, about 1/3 of an inch deep. Wrap the plant in plastic. Remove the plastic now and then to allow air to circulate. To keep the soil moist, spray it regularly. Before planting philodendron seeds, they do not need to be soaked. At soil temperatures ranging from 68 to 73 degrees Fahrenheit, the seeds will germinate in two to eight weeks. When the seedlings have sprouted and are strong enough to handle, separate them into small pots to encourage strong root development.

Potting and Repotting Philodendrons

Plant a philodendron in a container that is slightly larger than its root ball and has plenty of drainage holes. When the roots begin to emerge from the soil and through the drainage holes in the pot, it is time to re-pot the philodendron. Repotting is best done in late spring or early summer. Choose one pot size larger. Remove your plant from its old pot and place it in the new one, filling the bottom and sides with fresh soil. Then thoroughly water the plant.


If you do not live in a tropical zone, tropicals must be overwintered indoors. Many tropicals and common houseplants thrive indoors during the winter. They quickly adapt to indoor conditions. Philodendrons require slightly less water as the days shorten and the temperatures drop, as opposed to the warmer growing season. When indoors, only water when the top of the soil becomes dry to the touch. Before bringing the plants inside, use pruners to remove any yellowing leaves or long, leggy stems, and inspect for mould, decay, and insects.

Common Problems With Philodendron

Philodendrons are easy-going plants that adapt well to indoor environments and propagate readily. When water, sun, and soil conditions are not met, they are prone to some health issues. Here are some warning signs to look for and how to deal with them.

Yellowing Leaves

Yellowing leaves can be caused by a variety of factors, including using too cold water, not providing enough sunlight, or exposing the plant to too much bright light. If the plant's older leaves are yellowing, you may be underwatering it. You may be overwatering the plant if the younger bottom sets of leaves turn yellow. In most cases, adjusting these factors will cause your plant to recover. If you give your philodendron plant food, make sure to first water the soil, then add a water-diluted fertiliser solution, and then water the plant again. These extra precautions ensure that the fertilizer's chemicals do not burn the roots, which can cause yellowing.

Yellowing and Rotting Smell

If your plant's leaves turn yellow quickly, this could be an indication of root rot. You might be able to save the plant if you catch it quickly. Examine the soil for rotting odours or dig up the root to check on its health. Remove the black, mushy pieces of rotting root and replant the white or yellow portions of the roots in a clean container with fresh soil in most cases.

Yellow Splotches or Patterning on Leaves

The mosaic virus can be identified by small yellow lesions or patterns on your plant's leaves. You may be able to eliminate the virus by assisting the plant's defence: Bring the plant outside for some indirect, natural light if the temperature is still warm. Maintain a 2-foot distance between the infected plant and other plants. Remove the leaves that have been damaged. Remove any dust from the surface of the remaining leaves by hosing them down. To help the plant grow back stronger, apply a diluted nitrogen-rich fertiliser to the soil.

Browning Leaves

If your plant develops browning leaf edges, you may be shocking it with too cold water. Also, if your plant's leaves turn brown and mushy, you're probably overwatering. Brown leaf edges that begin to curl indicate that the plant requires more water and less sunlight. Make the necessary changes. Browning leaf tips with yellow halos may indicate that your plant requires additional humidity. To increase humidity, mist the plant's leaves or place the plant container atop a tray of pebbles filled with water. Keep the plant's base above the waterline rather than submerged.