Useful information

Philodendrons: care, types and varieties

Philodendron bipinnatifidum

Recently, when we are so lacking in communication with nature, more and more often live plants are used in the design of the interiors of apartments and offices, the green color of the foliage soothes the tired look, brings freshness and peace to any room. But the modern business person does not have much time for painstaking care of flowers. Here, such unpretentious and fast-growing plants as philodendrons can help.

These tropical dwellers tolerate warm living conditions well, but are even more active in conservatories. The variety of shapes, sizes, colors is so great that they easily fit into any interiors. The rich and varied foliage allows you to create extraordinary compositions using only philodendrons. Some species, with short stems and decorative foliage, look good as free-standing plants, the so-called tapeworms. Others grow in long, dense vines and are able to quickly form a living green wall or arch. Varieties with different leaf colors add color accents to the decor, and the large leathery foliage of philodendrons goes well with plants of more delicate textures. In floriculture, both natural species and their varieties are used, as well as numerous hybrid forms.

Types and varieties of philodendrons, the most common in indoor floriculture

Philodendron bipinnate (Philodendron bipinnatifidum), perhaps the largest and most ornamental of the house-grown philodendrons, the philodendron tree. This botanical name was registered in 1832, and in 1852 it was described as the Sello philodendron (Philodendron selloum) and it is often under this name that it goes on sale. It grows in Bolivia, Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, belongs to the subgenus Meconostigma, or woody philodendrons. In nature, this is a semi-epiphytic species, begins life on the ground, forms a trunk, which for some time can grow in an inclined position and is supported by aerial roots. However, with further growth in the absence of support, it falls from its own gravity and grows flat on the ground until it meets a vertical support. Along it, it rapidly begins to grow upward, can rise up to 30 meters, and at a height forms a trunk with a head of huge leaves reaching 6 meters in diameter. When blooming, it opens white-green bedspreads.

Philodendron bipinnatifidumPhilodendron bipinnatifidum

Philodendron bipinnate is very photophilous, can grow in direct sunlight, but prefers very bright diffused light. Loves very porous, organic-rich soil, which always remains slightly moist, but tolerates short periods of drying, can put up with very poor soils.

Philodendron bipinnathifidum comes on sale with small, poorly dissected leaves, which, under favorable conditions, are quickly replaced by huge and feathery ones. The emerging trunk is very decorative, over time the old leaves die off, and light traces remain in their place.

At home, it is very unpretentious, tolerates a lack of light, quickly forms a beautiful trunk and begins to release large, although not the same as in nature, dissected leaves. Aerial roots feel water well, in search of which they can travel several meters, for example, in the direction of the aquarium. Prefers very light soil. Due to its compact thick trunk, it is difficult to propagate by cuttings, but it can give side shoots (children). It rarely blooms at home.

Philodendron Xanadu(Philodendron xanadu) is another species of philodendron related to arboreal philodendrons. For a long time it was believed that F. Xanadu hails from the humid forests of Australia, but his true homeland is Brazil. In the literature, there is sometimes a mention of F. Xanadu as a hybrid or a variety of F. bipinnatitifidum, but this is incorrect, it is an independent species.

Philodendron Xanadu is a terrestrial species, in favorable humid tropical conditions it can form a dissected leaf plate up to 1.5 meters, during flowering, red-violet veils are formed.

Currently, this philodendron is widely grown by tissue culture, young specimens with elongated medium-sized, with shallow lobes, leaves, or already adult specimens with large (up to 40 cm) rounded and strongly lobulated leaves and a beautiful trunk are on sale.

Philodendron xanaduPhilodendron Xanadu, juvenile leafPhilodendron Xanadu, adult leaf

At home, the philodendron Xanadu is unpretentious, tolerates a lack of light, low air humidity, and short drying out of the substrate. But, like any philodendron, it forms beautiful adult leaves only in good light, with properly composed soil and regular watering. It rarely blooms at home.

Ivy philodendron (Philodendron hederaceum) described in 1829, often marketed as a climbing or creeping philodendron (Philodendron scandens) or called F. brilliant or mix (Philodendron micans).This is another very popular philodendron in home culture. Widely distributed in Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean islands. F. ivy grows in nature as a semi-epiphyte, beginning its life on the ground, then as an ascending vine climbs the trunk of a tree and often loses contact with the soil over time.

At home, it is grown in a light substrate. The species is highly variable depending on the growing conditions. Juvenile (imperfect) leaves have velvety pubescence and are often reddish on the underside; with vertical growth, pubescence and red color disappear. And if the liana is not allowed to grow up, then the leaves will remain juvenile.

In the rainforest, the leaf can reach 50 cm; at home, the leaf size is usually much more modest. The leaf plate can be heart-shaped or elongated, leathery, glossy and velvety, green or tinged with red, large and small, and all these variations depend on the growing conditions and age of the plant.

Ivy philodendron (Philodendron hederaceum)Philodendron ivy, cultivar Brazil

Often, different forms of this species are found in collections under their own names and are grown as separate species. Sometimes on sale you can find philodendron brazil(Philodendron Brasil) with characteristic stripes of yellow and various shades of green on the leaves. It is not a separate species, but a natural mutation of the ivy philodendron. As it grows, the plant loses the diversity of juvenile leaves and becomes completely green.

The ivy philodendron blooms with inflorescences from green to purple in color, only reaching a considerable height (and the length of the liana), therefore it does not bloom at home. Due to the similar shape of the leaves, it is sometimes confused with philodendron cordate(Philodendron withordatum).

At home, it is a very unpretentious look and is often grown as an ampelous plant. With this method of cultivation, the plant remains at the juvenile level and produces leaves that are rather modest in size, often velvety and with a copper tint. This plant can be used for vertical landscaping by providing it with a damp vertical wall.

Philodendron graceful (Philodendron elegans), or as it is often called the philodendron skeleton, described in 1913, native to Colombia and Brazil. In the literature, its incorrect name is often found F. narrowly dissected (P. angustisectum). F. graceful attracts attention with its deeply indented leaves in the shape of a skeleton key; it is often confused with the palmate philodendron, similar in shape to the leaves. (Philodendron radiatum). Its leaf can reach 50 cm, the stem is liana-shaped, with internodes up to 15 cm long. Juvenile and adult leaves are similar in shape, differ in depth and size. F. graceful usually produces two inflorescences in the leaf axil, the veil is green on the outside and burgundy on the inside. Does not bloom at home.

To see all the beauty of this plant, you must give it the opportunity to grow as high as possible.Under natural conditions, it is an epiphyte, at home it is grown in a light substrate, unpretentious.

Philodendron blushing (Philodendron erubescens) grows in Costa Rica, Colombia and Brazil. Its name very accurately conveys its appearance, leaves, petioles and bedspreads can turn red. The species was described in 1854. This is an ascending liana, in nature it can rise more than 15 meters. The leaf blades are simple, elongated, pointed at the tip, up to 40 cm long, the upper side of the leaf is glossy and green, the lower side often has a reddish tint. F. blushing, unlike many other species, prefers some shading.

Blushing Philodendron (Philodendron erubescens)Philodendron Red Emerald

Several varieties of blushing philodendron are on sale. All varieties are unpretentious in room conditions, frequent spraying is desirable, otherwise the care is common for philodendrons.

  • Variety Red Emerald(P. erubescensRedEmerald) close to the wild, more compact growth. The leaf blade is about 25 cm, leaf petioles and young shoots are colored red.
  • Variety Burgundy(P. erubescens Burgundy) has a more pronounced dark red (wine) color, not only young shoots and leaf petioles are colored, but also the leaf plates themselves. The leaves of this variety contain less chlorophyll, so it prefers bright, diffused light.
  • Variety Jellyfish(P. erubescens Medusa) characterized by an unusual yellow leaf blade that contrasts with red petioles and stems. In habit, it is similar to other varieties of F. blushing. More demanding on lighting.
  • Variety Mandianum (Philodendron x mandaianum) is an interspecific hybrid, outwardly similar to the previous varieties, the young leaf has a red tone, with age the leaf turns green.

Arrowhead philodendron(Philodendron sagittifolium) first described in 1849, sometimes misnamed P. x mandaianum. It grows in most of the countries of Central America. In nature, it is a semi-epiphytic liana, sometimes it grows as an epiphyte on trees or as an epiphyte species on stones. The leaf blades are oval or triangular, leathery, semi-glossy, can reach 70 cm in length, petioles can reach 90 cm. The species is very variable.

Scaly philodendron(Philodendron squamiferum) described in 1845. It grows in Central America. In nature, it grows like a climbing epiphytic liana, it can rarely be found on earth. At home, it is grown in a light substrate. Juvenile leaves are simple in shape, elongated, as the vines mature, the leaves gradually become more complex, the number of lobes and their depth increase. The adult leaf has five strongly cut lobes, unequal in size; the leaf length can reach 45 cm. The leaf petioles are bright red and covered with bristles. The bedspread is white and burgundy on top, white inside.

Philodendron droplet (Philodendronguttiferum), described in 1841, homeland - South America. It grows as a semi-epiphyte, the leaves are oblong with a sharp tip. On the creeping liana, the leaves are smaller, only 14 cm long, with vertical growth the leaves reach 25 cm. The petioles are 5-18 cm, winged. Internodes from 2 to 15 cm.

A variegated variety is more common on sale. Cobra (P. guttiferum Cobra). The variety is more demanding on light compared to the wild species, high humidity is desirable, otherwise the care is common for philodendrons.

Philodendron squamiferumPhilodendron guttiferum CobraPhilodendron Lemon Lime

Often seen in literature philodendron home(Philodendron domesticum) in fact, it is not scientifically described as a species and this name is purely commercial. Most likely, several species or hybrid forms of philodendrons are sold under this name. Sometimes this name is identified with the species Philodendron spear(Philodendron hastatum), which is scientifically incorrect, they are not synonymous.

Philodendron Goldie Lock(Goldi Lock), sometimes found under the name Lemon Lime (LemonLime). It grows as a very compact liana with short internodes. The sheet is 20-25 cm long and about 10 cm wide. The variety is distinguished by the yellow-light green color of young leaves, with aging they turn light green.Intense light is required for bright coloration of young leaves. At home, a very unpretentious variety, tolerates low air humidity, care is common for philodendrons.

Philodendron Imperial Red(ImperialRed) forms a stem with very short internodes, large dark red leaves are collected in a rosette up to a meter in diameter. Young leaves are more intense in color. The variety is shade-tolerant, but with a lack of light, it loses its color saturation. It reconciles with the dry air of the room, otherwise the care is common for philodendrons. There is its green-leaved form - variety Imperial Green(ImperialGreen).

Philodendron Imperial Green


Conditions of detention and care

For all their unpretentiousness, philodendrons require compliance with several simple rules in care.

Temperature. It is necessary to understand that philodendrons are native to the tropics and are completely not adapted to low temperatures, even a short stay in the cold will cause the death of the plant. The optimum room temperature is from +16 to + 25оС, lowering below + 12 ° C is unacceptable, in summer in the heat it is advisable to often spray the plants to cool the leaf plate.

Air humidity. In the rainforest, humidity is always very high, and this allows philodendrons to grow huge leaves. At home, most cultivated varieties can tolerate dry air. Particularly capricious species have to be grown in special florariums - for example, Philodendron tripartite (Philodendron tripartium), Philodendron golden black, or Andre (Philodendronmelanochrysum), philodendron warty (Philodendronverrucosum), however, the leaf plates develop much smaller in this case. Sometimes, immediately after acquisition, the philodendron begins to release smaller and simpler leaves - this is how the plant reacts to a decrease in air humidity. In this case, it is necessary to ensure frequent spraying, creating moist comfort for the plant.

Priming. By nature, philodendrons are epiphytic or semi-epiphytic species, the roots actively absorb oxygen and cannot live in heavy soil. At home, the main requirement for the substrate is its porosity and air permeability. For philodendrons, a mixture consisting of about 50% of orchid substrate (peat + bark + sphagnum + coal) with the addition of high peat (or soil based on it), sand or perlite, leaf or grass humus is suitable. Such a composition provides unhindered access of oxygen to the roots, quickly passes water through itself, remaining moist for a long time.

Watering. In the rainforest in the homeland of philodendrons, the rainy season is replaced by a season of relative drought, but at the same time the air remains always moist and plants can easily absorb moisture from the aerial roots. It is undesirable to dry out the soil in room conditions. If it is properly formulated, then watering should be regular. Philodendrons are very plastic, they can tolerate short drying out of the substrate, but this will primarily affect the size and shape of the leaves.

Illumination. Throughout their lives, philodendrons strive for light, starting life under the dense shade of the rainforest, and then heading up in search of the sun. At home, plants can tolerate a lack of light, but they prefer bright diffused light, some species, and direct sun (F. double-feathery). When shaded, the philodendrons will not die, but the leaves will remain imperfect, juvenile, or their degradation will begin.

Top dressing. In nature, philodendrons are content with dust and excrement of birds and animals dissolved in rainwater, fallen and decayed foliage near the roots or in a rosette of leaves, waste products of insects living in the roots. At home, it is recommended to use fertilizers with an equal content of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (N: P: K 1: 1: 1), reducing the concentration by 10-20% of the recommended dose. It is better to apply feeding more often, but proportionally in smaller doses.

Blushing Philodendron (Philodendron erubescens)

Supports. Many philodendrons grow like vines, it is highly desirable for them to provide support for growth. This can be a moss trunk or a damp vertical wall. Only with vertical growth in such plants, simple juvenile leaves are replaced by adult forms characteristic of a given species or variety.

Summarizing, we can say that in order for philodendrons to please with their beauty, it is necessary to provide them with good lighting, high air humidity, correct soil, regular watering and feeding, and provide support for climbing vines.

Reproduction. At home, philodendrons usually do not bloom (in addition, one specimen is not enough for pollination and a pollinator or artificial intervention is required). Therefore, seed propagation is not possible. But philodendrons reproduce perfectly by pieces of liana, it is enough to put a piece with two or more mature internodes on a wet substrate, as 1-4 weeks (depending on the species) aerial roots will grow from the nodes, lateral shoots will grow from the leaf axils.

Read more about the grafting technology in the article. Cutting indoor plants at home.

You can put part of the vine in a container of water. If the philodendron grows in a very compact liana, then this method of reproduction is difficult, but sometimes it allows you to get lateral shoots from the trunk, children. After the children have formed their roots, they can be planted. Reproduction by air layers is also possible.

Pests and diseases. Philodendrons in indoor conditions are quite resistant to pests, but they can be affected by spider mites, scale insects and mealybugs.

More about pests - in the article Houseplant pests and control measures.

When planting in too heavy soil, the roots begin to rot from a lack of oxygen, brown spots appear on the leaves. Some varieties suffer from low air humidity, which makes the tips of the leaves dry. With a lack of light, variegated varieties turn green, dry brown spots appear on the white parts of the leaf.