The beautiful Philodendron has been adored by both homes and offices worldwide for years. Its many varieties carry stunning leaves and are quite low-maintenance, making them the perfect choice for both newbies and experienced plant parents alike. Read everything you need to know about philodendron care below. 

Philodendrons come in two main types: vining and non-climbing. The well-known Heartleaf as well as Blushing Philodendrons sit within the vining variety, which will need a wall, post or other structure that can support them to help them climb. The non-climbing side of the family include the Lacy Tree and Bird’s Nest Philodendrons, which sit upright, and their growth spreads outwards rather than upwards. 

But how do you look after these gorgeous plants? Read on for a full guide to Philodendron care. 

Philodendron plant care
Image courtesy of Unsplash. Photo by Vadim Kaipov

How to care for philodendrons

Is a Philodendron an indoor plant?

Native to the tropics of Central and South America, it’s fair to say that Philodendrons prefer warmer, sunnier and more humid conditions. This means they make for a great indoor plant across the world, but aren’t a lover of the outdoors in a lot of areas. 

That said, if your outdoor temperatures remain above 18 celsius year-round, they may well thrive in your garden too. If you’re lucky to live in an area of the country with sunny skies no matter the season, your Philodendron will enjoy a shadier spot in your garden, as too much sun exposure can lead to sunburn. Some say that even if your Philodendron typically lives inside, you can pop them out for some fresh air during the summer months! Just make sure it’s out of direct sunlight. Many other houseplants may find the move from inside to out distressing, but Philodendrons aren’t affected so much by this. 

Many plant owners prefer to keep them inside, particularly given their health benefits. They’re known to purify the air by filtering out gaseous toxins from inside the home, including formaldehyde which is used in a lot of cleaning products. 

philodendron care
Image courtesy of Unsplash. Photos by Severin Candrian

How often should you water a philodendron? 

A general rule of thumb when it comes to watering frequency for your Philodendron is weekly or bi-weekly. Yet, you want to make sure that 50-75% of the soil (or 2.5cm) is dry before watering, so depending on the temperature and humidity of its environment, this may vary. Particularly in the winter months, you’ll likely need to water it less frequently. 

A great way to test this is to pop your finger into the soil. Your plant may also give you signs that it needs more water such as wilting leaves, or that it’s had too much water such as yellowing. Make sure not to overwater! Sodden soil can lead to issues such as root rot, which are difficult for your Philodendron to get over. If you’ve opted for a non-climbing plant, know that they’re even more resistant to drought, so you don’t want to be playing on the soggier side with the soil. 

When you do come to water your Philodendron, make sure to give the soil a good soak. Keep the water running until you see trickles appearing from the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot. But don’t let your plant sit in water. Keep an eye on the tray beneath your pot, and empty it out once the soil has soaked up the water it needs, reaching its saturation point.

Should I mist my philodendron?

Philodendrons love humidity. While they will live quite happily in the temperature and humidity of normal homes, they really flourish in environments with higher humidity. If you want to encourage lusher, shinier leaves, try upping the humidity in your home. As a philodendron care tip you could move your plant to more humid rooms such as the kitchen or bathroom, fork out for a humidifier, or you could simply mist the plant every couple of days or so with a spray bottle. 

healthy philodendron plants
Image courtesy of Unsplash. Photo by greg Rosenke and Severin Candrian

Do philodendrons need a lot of sunlight?

For a burgeoning Philodendron, you need to make sure you give it the right amount of light. They live most happily in bright, indirect sunlight. If you imagine their natural surroundings, they would typically live beneath a canopy and absorb partial, dappled light. The best way you can replicate this at home is by sitting it next to a window but not in full view of the sun.

If you give your plant too much sun, the leaves could burn or fade to a lighter shade of green or even yellow in some cases. If you don’t give your plant enough light, you may encourage leggier growth as your plant tries to reach for the sun, and your leaves will sport a much deeper shade of green. 

Do you need to fertilise a Philodendron?

Philodendrons do benefit from a nutrient-dense houseplant fertiliser packed full of macro and micro-nutrients, including calcium and magnesium. If your plant lives indoors, look to feed it with liquid food on a monthly basis through the spring and summer months, but monthly in autumn and winter. If your plant is outside, aim to give it a very light feeding every 3 or 4 months. 

In the meantime, ensure that your Philodendron is potted in organic matter rich soil with good drainage. These plants don’t respond well to build-ups in salts that can occur through watering, so you’ll want to make sure that you change the soil approximately once every 2 years. 

repotting
Image courtesy of Unsplash. Photo by Vadim Kaipov

When should I repot my Philodendron?

Much like many other houseplants, you should know when your Philodendron is ready for a new pot. It’s likely that you’ll see its roots working their way out of the bottom of the pot, through the drainage holes, or that the plant seems off-balance in its current pot. 

When repotting, opt for the pot size one bigger than its current, and aim to move it over in the Spring months for the best success! Give it fresh soil and a good drink before returning it to its favourite spot. Your plant will likely need repotting every couple of years or so, however we recommend you to assess your own plant to find its particular sweet spot. 

Share the Philodendron love

With these tips in hand, you’ll be well on your way to Philodendron success! Such an easy-going plant, they make the perfect gift for a friend, no matter their plant experience level, or a great addition to your own plant collection. Philodendron care is so easy. Shop your plant now!


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