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Philodendron Plant Care

08 May, 2024
How do you care for an indoor philodendron?

How do you care for an indoor philodendron?

Philodendrons are lush, tropical-looking plants that can make a beautiful addition to any indoor space. In this article, I'll provide a comprehensive guide on how to properly care for an indoor philodendron. I'll cover topics like ideal lighting, watering, soil requirements, fertilizing, and more to help ensure your philodendron thrives. I'll also address common issues and share tips on making your philodendron pet-friendly. Whether you're a new or experienced plant parent, you'll learn everything you need to know to keep your indoor philodendron healthy and happy.

Do you know where to place a philodendron in your house for optimal growth? Or are you wondering if philodendrons are pet safe? Discover the answers and unlock the secrets to philodendron plant care in this informative guide.

Key Takeaways

  • Philodendrons thrive in bright, indirect light and warm temperatures between 18-29°C.
  • Consistent, moist soil is key - water when the top inch is dry, but avoid letting the plant sit in water.
  • Feed your philodendron a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer every 2-3 months during the growing season.
  • Prune off any dead or damaged leaves to maintain a healthy, attractive appearance.
  • Repot your philodendron every 1-2 years when it becomes rootbound.

Understanding the Philodendron Plant

Philodendrons are native to the tropical regions of the Americas, with over 450 species identified. They are members of the Araceae plant family and are renowned for their large, lush leaves that can range in color from deep green to red or burgundy.

Philodendron Varieties

Philodendron plants come in many varieties such as


Origins and Varieties

As native inhabitants of the Americas, philodendrons have a rich and diverse history. From the towering climbing varieties to the more compact, bushy types, this plant family boasts an impressive array of adaptations to suit various indoor environments.

Growth Habits and Characteristics

Philodendrons are known for their vining or climbing growth habits. While some varieties maintain a more compact size, others can grow quite large when provided with the proper care and support. With their ability to thrive as long-lived houseplants, philodendrons add a touch of the tropics to any indoor space.

Choosing the Right Location

When it comes to caring for an indoor philodendron, selecting the ideal location is crucial. These tropical beauties thrive in bright, indirect light. I recommend placing your philodendron in a spot that receives several hours of sun each day, but be sure to avoid direct sunlight, which can scorch the leaves.

Lighting Requirements

Philodendrons prefer bright, indirect light. Find a location in your home that offers this type of lighting, such as near a south- or west-facing window. Avoid placing the plant in direct sunlight, as the intense rays can damage the delicate foliage.

Temperature and Humidity Needs

In addition to the right lighting, philodendrons also prefer warm temperatures between 65-85°F and moderate humidity levels. Aim to mimic the tropical environment these plants thrive in naturally. Consider using a pebble tray or a humidifier to boost the humidity around your philodendron if needed.

Watering Your Philodendron

Proper watering is essential for the health of your indoor philodendron. These plants like their soil to be consistently moist but not waterlogged. To check the soil moisture, stick your finger into the potting mix - if the top inch or two feels dry, it's time to water.

Checking Soil Moisture

When watering, use lukewarm water and thoroughly soak the soil until it drains from the bottom of the pot. Avoid letting your philodendron sit in standing water. Pay attention to the leaves as well - if they start to droop, it's a sign you need to water.

Proper Watering Techniques

By following these watering guidelines, you can ensure your indoor philodendron stays happy and healthy. Remember, consistent moisture is key, but be careful not to overwater and cause root rot. With a little practice, you'll get to know your plant's unique watering needs.

Fertilizing for Optimal Growth

Feeding your philodendron the right nutrients will promote lush, healthy growth. Look for a balanced, water-soluble houseplant fertilizer and apply it every 2-3 months during the growing season. You can also use a slow-release fertilizer formulated for tropical plants. Avoid over-fertilizing, as this can lead to problems. Stick to the recommended dosage on the product label and adjust as needed based on how your philodendron is responding.

Types of Fertilizers

When it comes to feeding your indoor philodendron, you have a few options. Water-soluble fertilizers are a quick and easy way to provide a boost of essential nutrients. Slow-release fertilizers, on the other hand, offer a more gradual, sustained release of nutrients over time. Both can be effective, so choose the one that best fits your preferences and plant's needs.

Fertilizing Schedule

For optimal growth, philodendrons should be fertilized every 2-3 months during the spring and summer growing season. This is when the plant is actively growing and will benefit most from the added nutrients. Avoid fertilizing in the fall and winter, as the plant goes into a more dormant state and doesn't require as much feeding. Be sure to follow the dosage instructions on your chosen fertilizer to prevent over-fertilization, which can damage the plant.

Pruning and Grooming

Regular pruning and grooming will help keep your indoor philodendron looking its best. Use clean, sharp scissors or pruners to trim off any dead, damaged, or dying leaves. You can also prune to maintain the plant's shape and control its size. Be sure to sterilize your tools before and after use to prevent the spread of disease. Wipe down the leaves with a damp cloth to remove dust and keep them looking shiny.

Repotting and Soil Considerations

As your indoor philodendron grows, it may need to be repotted every 1-2 years to accommodate its expanding root system. Recognizing the signs that it's time for a new pot is key to keeping your plant healthy and thriving.

Signs of Needing a New Pot

There are a few telltale signs that indicate your philodendron is becoming rootbound and in need of a larger container. Look for roots growing out of the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot or a plant that seems to be struggling to absorb water. If the soil dries out quickly or the plant appears stunted, it's likely time for a repotting.

Choosing the Right Potting Mix

When repotting your philodendron, select a pot that is 2-3 inches wider than the current one. This will give the roots room to spread out and establish themselves in the new soil. Use a well-draining potting mix formulated specifically for tropical plants or create your own blend of peat moss, perlite, and compost. Avoid dense, heavy soil mixes, as they can lead to issues like root rot.

Philodendron Plant Care

To summarize the key philodendron plant care tips:

  • Place in bright, indirect light
  • Water when the top inch of soil is dry
  • Use a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer every 2-3 months
  • Prune off dead or damaged leaves
  • Repot every 1-2 years when rootbound
  • Use a well-draining potting mix
  • Maintain warm temps (65-85°F) and moderate humidity
Care Tip Recommendation
Lighting Bright, indirect
Watering Water when top inch is dry
Fertilizing Balanced, water-soluble every 2-3 months
Pruning Remove dead or damaged leaves
Repotting Every 1-2 years when rootbound
Potting Mix Well-draining
Temperature 65-85°F
Humidity Moderate

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Even the most well-cared for philodendrons can sometimes encounter problems. Common issues include pests like spider mites, mealybugs, or scale insects. These can be treated with insecticidal soap or neem oil.

Identifying and Treating Pests

If you notice your philodendron exhibiting signs of an infestation, such as webbing, white cottony deposits, or discolored leaves, it's time to take action. Start by thoroughly inspecting the plant, paying close attention to the undersides of leaves and along the stems. Once you've identified the culprit, use an insecticidal soap or neem oil to get the pest population under control. Be sure to follow the product instructions carefully and treat the plant regularly until the issue is resolved.

Addressing Yellowing or Browning Leaves

Yellowing or browning leaves on your philodendron can indicate a variety of issues. Overwatering, underwatering, too much direct sunlight, or nutrient deficiencies are all common causes. Adjust your watering schedule, move the plant to a more suitable lighting location, and consider applying a balanced liquid fertilizer to address any nutritional needs. With some troubleshooting, you can get your philodendron back on track to lush, vibrant growth.

Common Philodendron Issues Possible Causes Solutions
Pests (spider mites, mealybugs, scale) Infestations on leaves and stems Treat with insecticidal soap or neem oil
Yellowing or browning leaves Overwatering, underwatering, too much sun, nutrient deficiencies Adjust watering, lighting, and fertilize as needed
Wilting or drooping leaves Underwatering Water thoroughly when top inch of soil is dry
Leaf curling or distortion Too much direct sun, pests Move to a brighter, indirect light location, treat for pests


With their lush, tropical foliage, philodendrons make fantastic additions to any indoor space. By understanding their care requirements for lighting, watering, fertilizing, and more, I can help my philodendron thrive. I remember to place it in a bright, warm spot, keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged, and prune and repot as needed.

With the right care, my philodendron will reward me with beautiful, healthy growth for years to come. I enjoy the beauty and benefits of adding this low-maintenance yet impactful plant to my home, and I'm certain you will too. By following the guidance provided in this article, you can ensure your indoor philodendron stays happy and healthy for the long haul.

Philodendrons are truly versatile and rewarding houseplants that can transform any space into a lush, tropical oasis. With a little know-how and consistency, you can cultivate a thriving philodendron that will bring joy and vibrancy to your Canadian home for years to come.


Where should I place a philodendron in my house?

Philodendrons thrive in bright, indirect light. Place your philodendron in a spot that receives several hours of sun each day, but avoid direct sunlight which can scorch the leaves. Aim to mimic the plant's natural tropical environment by choosing a warm location with moderate humidity levels between 65-85°F.

How do you care for an indoor philodendron?

To care for an indoor philodendron, focus on providing the right lighting, watering, and soil conditions. Water when the top inch of soil is dry, using lukewarm water and being careful not to let the plant sit in standing water. Use a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer every 2-3 months during the growing season. Prune off any dead or damaged leaves, and repot every 1-2 years as the plant becomes rootbound.

Are philodendrons pet friendly?

No, philodendrons are not considered pet-friendly plants. All parts of the philodendron plant are toxic if ingested, posing a risk to cats, dogs, and other household pets. If you have pets, it's best to keep philodendrons out of reach or choose an alternative houseplant that is non-toxic.

How do I care for a philodendron plant?

To care for a philodendron plant, place it in a spot with bright, indirect light and maintain consistent moisture in the soil. Water when the top inch is dry, using lukewarm water. Fertilize every 2-3 months during the growing season with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer. Prune off any dead or damaged leaves, and repot every 1-2 years as the plant becomes rootbound.