Its wild ancestor is known as Aronic or Arum, which gave its name to the Aron family (Aroid). The name of the genus comes from the Greek words phileo – love and dendron – tree: philodendrons use trees as a support. In indoor culture, philodendrons are valued for their unusual and very diverse leaf shape, unpretentiousness and high decorativeness throughout the year. This publication is about the peculiarities of growing indoor philodendrons.
Philodendron in the interior. Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com Ernest McGray, Jr.
Botanical description of the plant
Philodendron (lat. Philodéndron, from the Greek. phileo – love, dendron – tree) is a genus of plants in the Aroid family. Predominantly climbing evergreen perennials that attach to the support with suction roots. The stem is fleshy, woody at the base. Leaves are dense, leathery, of various sizes, shapes and colors. Under natural conditions, plants grow up to 2 meters or more in length.
The structure of the shoot in plants of the genus Philodendron is a mystery. Plants take turns developing leaves of two types: first, scaly, and then green on a long petiole. A rudimentary inflorescence is formed inside the green leaf, and a lateral bud is formed in the axil of the scale-like leaf. The main shoot ends with an inflorescence, and scientists still do not know where a part of the stem grows, bearing the following scaly and green leaves. Botanists have been struggling unsuccessfully to solve this riddle for about 150 years.
Philodendron Care Tips – In Brief
- Temperature. Moderate, about 18-20 ° С in summer, not lower than 15 ° С in winter. Avoid cold drafts.
- Lighting. Bright place, protected from direct sunlight, light partial shade. Variegated forms require a little more light, but also in a semi-shaded place. Climbing philodendron can grow in more shaded areas.
- Watering. In spring and summer, temperate, the soil should be moist at all times. In winter, watering is reduced, but the soil is not allowed to dry out, at this time the soil is only slightly damp. With an excess of watering, the lower leaves may turn yellow, with insufficient watering, the tips of the leaves dry out.
- Fertilizer. From March to October, philodendrons are fed with complex fertilizer for indoor plants. Top dressing every two weeks. For large tree-like vines, humus can be added to the top layer of the earth once a summer, with or without transplantation.
- Air humidity. Philodendrons need to be regularly sprayed in spring and summer, as well as in winter if there is a heating system nearby. Small plants are given a shower several times over the summer. In large plants, dust is regularly wiped off the leaves with a damp sponge.
- Transfer. In spring, every year, young plants and after three to four years old. Soil: 2-3 parts of sod, 1 part of peat land, 1 part of humus, 0,5 part of sand. When large specimens are grown in too close a pot, spots appear on the leaves, they turn yellow, the plants stunted.
- Breeding. Philodendrons reproduce by apical or stem cuttings. For rooting, it is better to use soil heating and cover with a film. Large vines can be propagated with a leaf cut from the heel.
Features of growing philodendrons
Reproduction of philodendrons
Philodendrons are warm greenhouse plants. They are propagated by apical cuttings, as well as by pieces of the trunk, but it is necessary that each has a kidney. Rooted at a temperature of 24-26 ° in a distribution box. If the cuttings (separated parts) are large, it is advisable to plant them directly in the pot. The cuttings are covered with a film to maintain moisture until a developed root system is formed. Sometimes pieces of the trunk, often without leaves, are placed under a rack in a warm greenhouse, covered with peat soil, and often sprayed. As soon as the buds start to grow, they are divided according to the number of shoots that have appeared and planted in a pot.
For planting plants, take an earthen mixture of the following composition: sod soil – 1 hour, humus – 2 hours, peat – 1 hour, sand – 1/2 hour. The optimum temperature for growth is 18-20 ° C; in winter, it is reduced at night to 16 ° C.
During the period of intensive growing season, fertilizing with slurry is given and complete mineral fertilization is applied alternately every 2 weeks. Philodendrons also grow well in nutrient solution. Some philodendrons, notably Ph. scandens, easily tolerate keeping them in a sunless and even shaded place indoors (in winter gardens).
Philodendrons can effectively drape walls and in some cases be used as ampelous (Ph. Scandens). In summer, plants are watered abundantly. In winter, water is less, but the clod of earth is not brought to dryness. Plant transplanting and subsequent care of them are the same as for a monster.
Transplant of philodendrons
A transplant is always a rather drastic intervention in the life of a plant, therefore it should be carried out at a time when the philodendron has the greatest supply of vitality, that is, in the spring. Plants are transplanted as needed, and this is often the case, because the root system in aroids is well developed. On average, plants should be transplanted annually, with the exception of old specimens, which are transplanted every 2-3 years.
You can determine whether a philodendron needs a transplant by removing the plant from the pot. If at the same time you find that the earthen lump is closely intertwined with roots, and the earth is almost invisible, then a transplant is necessary. In this case, when caring for a plant, you can hardly limit yourself to watering and feeding. If not transplanted into a larger pot of fresh soil, sooner or later it will stop growing.
In addition, transplantation is also necessary because over time the composition and structure of the soil deteriorate: capillaries that conduct air are destroyed, an excess of minerals accumulates, which is harmful to the plant (a white bloom forms on the soil surface).
From March to October, every two weeks, philodendrons are fed with complex fertilizer for indoor plants. Vigorous plants can be fertilized once a week, and in winter, fertilization is applied monthly.
For large tree-like vines, humus can be added to the top layer of the earth once a summer, with or without transplantation.
When feeding the philodendron with fertilizers, it is important not to overfeed it, otherwise the tips of the leaves turn yellow or turn brown, the leaves themselves wither and become lifeless. If you added a significant proportion of humus to the soil, then do not feed it with other fertilizers for at least 1,5-2 months.
Quite often, philodendrons suffer from a lack of nutrients in the soil, if they are not transplanted for a long time and forget to feed. At the same time, the leaves become smaller, their tips dry and turn yellow, the plant lags behind in growth. Underfeeding will also affect the thickness of the trunk.
Top dressing is carried out only after the earthen lump has been watered and saturated with water, otherwise the plant may suffer from too high concentration of salts in the soil.
If the plant can cope with a small excess of fertilizers on its own (for this you just need to stop feeding for a while), then with a very high content of minerals in the soil, the plant will need help: transplant the plant or flush the soil. To do this, put a pot of philodendron for a quarter of an hour under running water in the sink. The water should not be too cold and flow well through the drain hole. You can also submerge the pot in a bucket of water to about the level of the soil and wait until all the soil is saturated with water, then remove the pot and let the water drain. Repeat this procedure several times.
During the period of growth of the philodendron, feeding should begin two to four weeks after purchase. If you planted the plant yourself, start feeding it only after the shoots appear.
Young and recently transplanted plants do not need additional feeding in the first six months.
If the plant is in soil or special potting mix, it is not recommended to feed it heavily.
Apply Philodendron feeding only in cases where the plant is healthy.
Types of philodendrons
Ph. melanochrysum (Ph. andreanum) – Philodendron golden black… Climbing vines. The shoots are brittle; internodes are short (aerial roots often extend from them). The leaves of young plants are small, 8-10 cm long., Heart-shaped, with a copper-reddish tint; in adults – large, 40-80 cm long., oblong-lanceolate, bronze-green, whitish along the veins, along the edges with a narrow light border, hanging down. Petiole 50 cm long. Bedspread 20 cm long. It lives in tropical rain forests in the subequatorial region of the Andes in Colombia. An ornamental plant widespread in indoor culture.
Ph. Ornatum (Imperial Ph., Ph. Sodirai) – Decorated Philodendron… Vines are tall, climbing, with strong stem-like branches. Leaves in young plants are ovoid, in adults they are heart-shaped, 50-60 cm long. and 35-40 cm wide., Delicate, dark green, with a whitish pattern. Petiole 30-50 cm long., In small warts. Grows in tropical rainforests in southern Brazil.
Ph. bippinatifidum – Philodendron bipinnate… Climbing vines, with a woody smooth trunk, with traces of fallen leaves on the trunk. The leaves are arrow-shaped, twice pinnately dissected, with 1-4 lobes, large, 60-90 cm long., Leathery, green, with a slightly grayish tint. The trunk of adult plants is thick, densely leafy. The ear is 16-18 cm long, purple outside, white inside. It is found in tropical rainforests, swamps, and damp places in southern Brazil. Suitable for growing in rooms.
PA. Martianum. (PH. Cannifolius, PA. Thick) – Philodendron Martius… The trunk is very short or missing. Leaves are cordate, whole (resembling canna leaves), erect, 35-56 cm long. and 15-25 cm wide., thick, pointed at the apex, wedge-shaped or truncated at the base, widened in the middle. The petiole is short, 30-40 cm, thick, swollen. Grows in tropical rainforests in southern Brazil.
Ph. Eichleri — Philodendron Eichler… Climbing vines, with a woody smooth trunk with traces of fallen leaves. The leaves are arrow-shaped, triangular at the base, up to 1 m long. and 50-60 cm wide., dark green, dense. Petiole 70-100 cm long. It lives in tropical rainforests, along the banks of rivers in Brazil.
PA. angustifolia. (PH. Scrofa) – Philodendron graceful… Vines are tall, not branching. Stem up to 3 cm in diameter., Fleshy, in filamentous adventitious roots. Leaves broadly oval, deeply pinnate, 40-70 cm long. and 30-50 cm wide; lobes are linear, 3-4 cm wide, dark green above. Bedspread 15 cm long., Cream, light green, pink-bordered at the bottom. It grows in tropical rain forests in Colombia. The height of the plant can be easily adjusted by removing the top of the trunk, which can be used on cuttings.
PA. red – Philodendron reddish… Climbing vines, not branching. The trunk is green-red, grayish in old plants; shoots are tender, brittle. Leaves are ovate-triangular, 18-25 cm long. and 13-18 cm wide., dark green, with pinkish edges; young are dark red-brown. Petiole 20-25 cm long., Purple at the base. Bedspread 1.5 cm long., Dark purple. The ear is white, fragrant. Grows on mountain slopes, in tropical rain forests in Colombia.
Ph. ilsemanii – Philodendron Ilzemana… The leaves are large, 40 cm long. and 15 cm wide., oval to lanceolate-arrow-shaped, unevenly mottled with white or grayish-white and green strokes, stripes. Brazil. One of the most decorative types.
PA. laciniatum. (PH. Pedatum. Ph. Laciniosum) – Philodendron lobular… Vines are climbing, sometimes epiphytic plants. Leaves are ovoid (varying in the shape of a thrice dissected plate); upper lobe 40-45 cm long. and 25-30 cm wide, with 1-3 triangular-oblong or linear lobes. The petiole is the same length as the leaf blade. Bedspread 12 cm long. Lives in tropical rain forests in Venezuela, Guiana, Brazil.
Potential difficulties in growing philodendrons
Leaves “cry”… The reason is too wet soil. Let the soil dry and extend the intervals between waterings.
Stalks rot… The reason is stem rot. Usually this disease manifests itself in winter, when, in conditions of excess moisture and low temperatures, favorable conditions are created for the reproduction of the fungus. Transfer the philodendron to a different pot, increase the room temperature, and limit watering.
Leaves turn yellow… If a lot of leaves have turned yellow, which also rot and wither, then the most likely reason is waterlogging of the soil. If there are no signs of decay or wilting, then a possible cause is a lack of nutrition. If only the lower leaves of the philodendron turn yellow, pay attention to whether they have brown spots and how the new leaves look – if they are small and dark, then this is a sign of a lack of moisture. Pale leaves with yellow spots indicate an excess of sunlight.
Falling leaves… The lower leaves of the philodendron always fall off with age. If several leaves suddenly die off at once, then the cause may be a serious mistake in care.
Check the condition of the top leaves. If the leaves become dry and brown before falling off, then the reason is too high an air temperature. This is a common nuisance in winter when plants are placed too close to radiators.
Bare bottom trunk, small pale leaves… The reason is that the plant does not have enough light. The plant does not grow in deep shade.
Brown dots on the underside of the leaf… The reason is the red spider mite.
Brown, papery tops of lobes and edges of leaves… The reason is too dry indoor air. Sprinkle philodendron leaves or place the pot in damp peat. If at the same time there is a slight yellowing, then the reason may be the tightness of the pot or lack of nutrition. Brown tops are an indicator of waterlogging of the soil, but in this case the leaves also turn yellow.
Leaves whole or lightly cut… The reason is that young leaves are usually whole and do not have cuts. The absence of holes on adult leaves of a philodendron may indicate too low air temperature, lack of moisture, light or nutrition. In tall plants, water and nutrients may not reach the upper leaves – aerial roots should be deepened into the soil or directed into a damp support.