How to Grow Philodendrons
Because they're so easy to care for, philodendrons rank right at the top for popular plants for homes and offices. Check out these growing tips.
There are two types of philodendrons: climbing and non-climbing. Climbing types, including Philodendron hederaceum var. oxycardium, make popular hanging basket plants. They produce rootlets along the length of their stems that help them climb, but they’re also happy trailing out of a container. Non-climbing types sprout leaves from a growing tip at the base of the plant. They usually have large leaves, and are not always great for the home environment, due to size. If you have the space, though, they are beautiful specimens! Philodendron bipinnatifidum, or the lacy tree philodendron, is one of the more popular non-climbing varieties with large leaves. (Take care if you have children or pets, though, as all philodendrons are toxic if eaten.)
Where to Grow Philodendrons
In the wild, philodendrons grow underneath the tree canopy, which explains their tolerance for low light. They’re popular houseplants because of it. While philodendrons are native to tropical, frost-free areas, they will also thrive in the low humidity found in most homes. Grow philodendrons indoors in indirect light, as direct sunlight can cause burning on the leaves. Outdoors in zones 10b to 11, plant under trees in low-light conditions as groundcovers, or allow the plants to scramble up the trees.
How to Plant Philodendrons
Choose a glazed ceramic pot, plastic pot, or hanging basket that is 1 to 2 inches larger in diameter than the root ball of your plant. Fill one-third of the container with Miracle-Gro® Indoor Potting Mix, which contains no compost or bark, both of which are known to shelter fungus gnats. It also contains coconut coir, which holds and releases water to help keep soil consistently moist.
Position the plant so that the top of the root ball is about ¾ to 1 inch below the top of the container, so you will have space to water the plant without causing the water to run over. Fill in around the root ball, then place the plant in the sink and thoroughly soak the soil. Let it dry enough that it stops dripping before hanging it up or putting it in place.
How to Water Philodendrons
Philodendrons grow best in soil that is consistently moist but not soggy. Water when the top inch of the soil is dry, keeping in mind that soil in unglazed clay or ceramic containers tends to dry out faster than soil in plastic or glazed containers. Plant growth will often slow during the winter, so you will notice that you need to water philodendrons less frequently.
How to Feed Philodendrons
A month after planting, begin feeding your philodendron with Miracle-Gro® Indoor Plant Food, following label directions. This will instantly supply your plants with all the nutrition they need. Apply directly to the soil, then water the plant as usual.
How to Stake Philodendrons
If you want to add a little height to your planting, you can add a little trellis or post for climbing philodendrons to climb up. The key is to provide a rough surface for the plant to grab onto. Buy or make a moss pole (you’ll find them online), or use a 2-inch square dowel wrapped in rope.
How to Prune Philodendrons
If the stems of your climbing philodendron are getting too long, simply snip off 6 inches of each of the longest stems. If desired, you can grow more philodendrons by removing all but the top 2 or 3 leaves on each stem and placing the stems in a cup of lukewarm water. Once they begin to grow roots, plant each in a small container using the instructions in the “How to Plant” section above.
How to Grow Philodendrons: Recap
- Place plants in indirect light or grow outside in shady areas of zones 10b to 11.
- Plant philodendrons in Miracle-Gro® Indoor Potting Mix.
- Water when the top inch of soil is dry.
- Begin feeding with Miracle-Gro® Indoor Plant Food a month after planting.
- Stake philodendrons for more height.
- Prune when the plant is too long and root the cuttings.
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