HOW TO CARE FOR PHILODENDRONS

The popular houseplant perfect for plant parents of all experience levels! 

written by Gabrielle Smith

ABOUT THE PHILODENDRON: 

The Philodendron, also known as the Heart Leaf Philodendron, whose name originates from its leaves being formed in a heart shape, is an easy to care for climbing plant. The Philodendron vine is typically found in homes and thrives in conditions that mimic its native Caribbean environment, such as medium light exposure, high humidity and warm temperatures. The Philodendron flower only blooms for two days out of the year, making the event extra special. This plant is most loved by interior decorators for its rare ability to change between indoor and outdoor environments, making it the perfect plant to hang in a covered porch or your window box

Botanical Name:Philodendron scandens
Common Names(s):Heart Leaf Philodendron, Sweetheart Plant
Plant Type:Vine/Climber
Place of Origin:
Caribbean, Colombia, Venezuela                            
Sun Exposure:Medium Light
Seasonality:Yearround
Toxicity:Unsafe for cats and dogs

HOW MUCH WATER DO PHILODENDRONS NEED?

The Philodendron requires frequent watering about every 7 days with roughly  ½ an inch of filtered water or until the soil is completely moist. In the spring and summer, keep the soil of your Philodendron consistently moist. During the colder winter and autumn months, only water your Philodendron once the soil is completely dry. If the leaves of your plant begin to droop, this is a tell-tale sign that your Philodendron is getting too little or too much water. If you adjust your watering schedule accordingly, your Philodendron will recover quickly. 

HOW MUCH SUNLIGHT DO PHILODENDRONS NEED?

Ideal Philodendron Light Requirements:
Native to the warm and humid climate of the Caribbean, the Philodendron’s light requirements reflect that of their natural environment. Your Philodendron should be placed in a location where it receives medium light. Medium Light is when your plant is placed in a location where it has indirect sun exposure, or is not able to have the sun’s rays directly hit the leaves of your plant. The ideal indoor location for your Philodendron is about 7 to 10 feet away from a southern or western-facing window. This location will provide indirect light whilst also protecting your plant from being scorched by the sun!

Can Philodendrons Grow Under Artificial Light? 
If your home does not have a lot of natural light, your Philodendron will thrive with the help of an LED grow light. Ensure your Philodendron is positioned about 12-24 inches below the LED grow light to protect the leaves from becoming burnt from too high temperatures. The closer your plant is to the grow light, the more intense the temperature your plant will be exposed to. Depending on the climate of your home, adjust your grow light accordingly

WHAT IS THE IDEAL TEMERATURE FOR PHILODENDRONS?

An ideal temperature for a Philodendron ranges between 60 degrees Fahrenheit and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Although high temperature is preferred, your Philodendron will be perfectly fine in average room temperature between 65 degrees Fahrenheit and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Despite the fact that the Philodendron can handle varying temperatures, it is important that your plant is not exposed to temperatures that are too low, particularly anything lower than 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Cold temperatures will cause damage or death to your Philodendron.

WHAT IS THE IDEAL HUMIDITY FOR PHILODENRONS?

In addition to high temperatures, the Philodendron also prefers high humidity. High humidity is between levels of 50 and 80 percent. In order to increase humidity levels for your Philodendron, occasionally mist its leaves with water or place a tray of moist stones underneath the pot of the plant. Both of these methods will ensure your Philodendron is maintaining high humidity levels and is able to thrive in its indoor environment. 

WHAT ARE THE COMMON PESTS & DISEASES FOR PHILODENDRONS: 

Although easy to care for, if neglected your Philodendron can be susceptible to numerous diseases and pests.

1. Bacterial Blight - One of the most common diseases that can affect your plant is bacterial blight. Bacterial blight occurs when your plant has been overwatered and the leaves of your Philodendron begin to lose its bright color and become translucent. Once you spot bacterial blight on your plant be sure to immediately remove the leaves that have been infected. Unfortunately, if the disease continues to spread, most pesticides are not effective and you may have to dispose of your plant.

2. Spider Mites, Mealybugs, and Scale - In addition to bacterial blight, pests such as spider mites, mealybugs, and scale can cause growth and health issues for your Philodendron. These pests typically infest Philodendron through contact with a nearby plant that you recently brought into your home. The best way to protect your plant from these pests is by regularly removing all dead leaves from the pot and removing dust from leaves using a damp cloth. 

ARE PHILODENDRONS TOXIC?

Unfortunately, the Philodendron is toxic to both dogs and cats. All parts of the Philodendron contain calcium oxalate crystals that cause mild symptoms of vomiting and swelling of the tongue and mouth. If you have a Philodendron in your house and do not want to part with your plant baby, make sure it is in a secure area where your pet will not be able to get at it.  

Use the Flora App to ensure all of your plant's needs are being met. Flora will send you alerts and reminders to let you know when it's time for your plant to be watered as well as give you a detailed guide on the optimal conditions to help your plant to thrive!