Invest in your plants by giving them the environment, water, light and nutrients that they need to thrive and you will be paid dividends of reduced stress, boosted mood and a relaxing home environment in which to live. Learn how to care for philodendrons! Philodendrons are varied, lush plants with veiny, spear-shaped leaves that include the popular philodendron scandens, philodendron squamiferum and silver sword philodendron species.
Philodendron 'Congo Green', Philodendron 'Prince of Orange' and the Philodendron 'Moonlight' are among the most popular species and a great starting point for prospective and hopeful philodendron keepers! Knowing how to care for philodendrons is important if you want to keep any of these wonderful plants!
The philodendron life cycle includes an epiphytic stage, growing on the trunks of trees (hence, ‘tree-lover’, see below) during which they sustain themselves by feeding on their host plant and from the air. Because of this air-feeding behaviour, water and liquids should be applied by misting as well as via the substrate.
Philodendron means ‘tree-lover’ (Ancient Greek: philo = love, dendron = tree). Common varieties of philodendron include the Philodendron 'Cordatum'. Knowing how to care for philodendrons means knowing about their natural environment, preferences and biology.
As is the case with many plants known since antiquity, philodendrons have persisted through changing iterations of the systems of taxonomy that identify plants. As a result, there is disagreement about the exact boundaries of the genus. 489 species are classified as philodendrons in the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.
Silver Sword Philodendron, Philodendron Scandens, Philodendron 'Birkin', Philodendron 'Neon' and Philodendron Squamiferum are some examples of the best-beloved philodendrons on the market. This guide on how to care for philodendrons does not apply only to the commonly-found and well-known philodendrons but can be used as a general guide for the entire genus.
How to Care for Philodendrons?
How to Water Philodendrons?
Find out how to care for philodendrons by understanding their needs. Philodendrons, as epiphytes, draw water and nutrients from the air and benefit from a significant proportion of their nutrients and moisture being supplied as a mist. This is easily done with a spray bottle. Weekly is sufficient.
Moist soil is beneficial to philodendrons. Be aware, however, that excessively wet soil will cause root rot in philodendrons. Test the top inch of with a finger to see if it is dry, watering if it is. Water by lifting the plant from the pot and applying water until it flows from the drainage holes, then cease. Once the water has run off and no longer flows from the drainage holes it is safe to place your philodendron back in its pot.
When watering multiple plants do so in a bathtub to minimise wastage. It is best to use either fresh rainwater or tap water that has been left in an open container overnight to water your philodendrons. Once you know how to care for philodendrons these considerations will become second nature!
How Much Light Philodendrons Need?
Philodendrons do not do well in direct sunlight. They’re tree-lovers, so their natural habitat is in the shade of the canopies of trees, after all. Dappled and partial shade is their preference and you can achieve this level of lighting by keeping your philodendrons in a shady part of a sunny room, or the sunny part of a shady room - somewhere where it gets a full view of the sky without necessarily catching the full sun all day.
Where to Keep Your Philodendrons
Native to Central and South American rainforests, philodendron species like it warm and wet. This may not sound ideal for a homeowner - no one likes being in a muggy room for too long - but it is actually quite easy to give philodendrons what they love while keeping yourself cool and comfortable.
Keep philodendrons away from any drafts or locations where they may experience sudden temperature changes. Mist the plant in the morning so that the water moistens the air, leaves and soil.
How Philodendrons Take Care of You?
Caring for plants is a joy and a pleasure. Knowing how to care for philodendrons is its own reward. Generations of plant-keepers have known this. Caring for plants and building a relationship with the natural world and its wonders have been shown to benefit our health in a variety of ways. All plants may boost our mental and physical wellbeing when kept well indoors but some are better adapted than others to be our plant companions.
Green plants are known to make the home feel alive and welcoming, with the colour green associated in our brains with health and wellbeing.
Philodendrons are particularly adept and improve the quality of the air by trapping dust and producing oxygen. They are thought to bring about feelings of calmness and alertness.
How Does This Work?
The mechanisms by which humans experience psychological benefits from the presence and experience of plants are not fully understood. It is thought that the act of nurturing the plant is psychologically rewarding and builds the capacity for compassion and the ability to deal with stress.
As fast growers, philodendrons rapidly reward proper care. You can watch them grow before your eyes, with new leaves and shoots to track. Being able to visibly see the progress of your careful attention has huge mental benefits!
Philodendrons are thought to improve air quality in the home.
- Kings of foliage, philodendron’s veiny, sprawling leaves are great to look at and even better at absorbing carbon dioxide and other toxins from the air! Porous oxygenating leaves brighten and freshen the room visually and atmospherically! Large surface area of the leaf results in increased respiratory and photosynthetic capacity!
- Waxy leaves like those of the various philodendron species are great at trapping dust and removing it from circulation in the air. Just wipe the leaves down once a day to remove the dust once and for all!
- Lightly mist your philodendron once every week and it will humidify the air. This is thought to help with dry skin conditions and dryness-sensitive respiratory conditions.