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Philodendron (climbing) species & cultivars

Care Tips

Habit: Slender to robust climbing evergreen plants that can usually grow several metres tall but when grown in a pot or container are provided with some kind of climbing pole and the height controlled by the height of the pole. Leaves range from small/medium to large or very large, either pure solid green, variegated with green, white or yellow or tinged with purple to reddish depending on the species. The leaf stalks (petiole) can also be brightly coloured sometimes as well.

Temperature: Plants grow best between 20 to 25ᐤ C and temperatures below 4ᐤ C may result in the death of the plant. Avoid placing plants in windy or drafty locations which can lead to less attractive plants as the leaflets can get tattered.

Light Exposure: Plants do best in bright, indirect light to thrive and grow well. They can withstand lower light situations but will not grow very strongly, will appear stretched (etiolated) and will tend to be more susceptible to pests and diseases. Plants exposed to direct sunlight will develop scorched and burnt leaves reducing the beauty of the plant.

Watering: The plants like a moist growing medium but not soggy; water only when the top 3 to 5 cm of soil feels dry to the touch. Always check the soil moisture first but as a rule of thumb watering once a week in the rainy season, once every two or three weeks in the cold dry season and usually twice a week in the hot dry season. In addition, regularly misting the leaves in the hot dry season will help keep the foliage looking great.

Fertilising: Philodendron plants are generally heavy feeders and give them a well balanced fertiliser twice a month during the hot dry season and rainy season but not during the cold dry season when plants are resting (semi-dormant).

Pruning/Repotting: Remove yellowing, brown or heavily damaged leaves as necessary and occasionally the tip growth will need to be pruned out if growing well above the climbing pole. Repotting of the plants will depend on its growth rate but plants usually indicate that they should be repotted once the roots really start growing out the bottom of the pot. Ideally repot in the spring into a pot one or maybe two sizes larger than what it is currently growing in.

Pests/Diseases: Philodendrons are relatively resistant to pests and diseases if well looked after and happy; however, they can be attacked by thrips, mealy bug and spider mites if the plants are stressed. Diseases that affect the plants are usually caused by overwatering which can invite fungal and bacterial pathogens that cause root rots and leaf spot problems.

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