How to Grow and Care for your Philodendron

By: Debbie Neese
July 26, 2022
How to Grow and Care for your Philodendron
Share this post:

Philodendrons are a mainstay in many homes because of their easy care label. There are two different varieties, including vining (Philodendron Green Cordatum, Neon, Sweetheart Vine, and non-climbing like our Philodendron Birkin and P. Xanadu.) The genus name originates from the Greek words philo- or "love, affection" and dendron or "tree," so place this plant where you want to channel those loving feelings. The heart-shaped leaves on some can solidify your marital and loving relationships in your space. Consequently, we think they're great for celebrating a new relationship, marriage, or anniversary! 


Light Needs for Philodendrons

Give your Philodendron some love by giving her a bright, indirect light spot to grow near a window. While older leaves near the bottom of the plant may yellow in old age, clip them off so newer ones will sprout. If the plant is leggy with several inches between each leaf, move it to a brighter lite spot. 

If the light is coming from one direction, give your plant a quarter of a turn to evenly distribute the light falling on the surface of the leaves when watering each week. 

Watering your Philodendron

Keep one of our 4-in-1 plant meters nearby for all your indoor plants to test the soil moisture level below the surface. When you have a larger plant, you cannot get your finger down enough to check the moisture level adequately. With the prongs on the plant meter, it will register and give you an accurate reading to verify if it's time to water. Keep your plant consistently moist (like a sponge but not soppy) between the 4-6 moisture marks. During winter months, when the days are shorter, you may find that your plant doesn't get as thirsty but still check if you keep the heat on a bit cozy to ensure she doesn't suffer. 

When watering, we recommend using filtered, bottled, or tap water that's sat 24 hours to release the chemicals. Water enough that the water discharges out of the drainage holes. Once the water is fully drained, place them back into the cache or decorative pot. Avoid overwatering as it can suffer from root rot. Add water when the top several inches of soil are dry, or follow your plant meter for better accuracy.


Humidity Needs

Humidity needs may vary a bit between varieties. The thinner the leaf, she will need more humidity to keep her soft, supple texture. Add a pebble tray or humidifier to keep the humidity levels near 50% or above. Another option is to set it beside an aquarium, which increases the moisture level in the room too. 

Fertilizing Philodendrons

Fertilize during its growing period in the spring and summer months between February and September every 2-3 weeks. Use a foliage fertilizer at 1/2 strength. Reduce fertilizing during the fall and winter to once a month while the plant is in its dormant phase. If your plant has visible aerial roots, you can mix this Dyna-Gro fertilizer into a mister and spritz the foliage and roots to fertilize as well as the foliage. 

How to Clean my Philodendron

To clean the leaves of your Philly, put her in a sink, and use filtered water in a watering container to shower over the leaves to knock the dust off. Another way to clean the leaves if you don't have access to a shower or large sink area is to use our cleaning gloves or a simple dust cloth. Moisten them and support each leaf with one hand while wiping the surface with the other hand. After cleaning the leaves, remove any dead leaves or debris on the soil's surface. At this time, please keep a lookout for pests and treat or remove them. Refreshen soil mixture if needed.

Prune away dead, damaged, or diseased leaves to the stem base with sterile pruners. Maintain the long vines as a full and bushy vine by trimming every few months or leave them to grow longer. As they thin out on the stem, trim back. Use the cuttings to propagate more plants in our propagation vase! Refresh your water every week; when the stem is rooted, she's ready to plant in the soil! 

Potting your Philly

When receiving the Lively Root Philodendron plant, do not repot immediately but wait at least 6-12 months so your plant can acclimate to your environment. The following are step-by-step directions for repotting your new plant

  1. The spring is the best time to repot, so use a 2" bigger pot when bumping up. (Too big of a container could cause the soil to dry slower, which could cause issues with the roots.)
  2. Place a piece of screening at the bottom of the container over the drainage hole to secure the soil and allow it to drain. Use a well-draining potting mix with perlite.
  3. Then lift the plant and release the roots against the existing planter. For example, you may need a clean knife or garden trowel to wedge between the pot and the soil to loosen. 
  4. Scrutinize the roots to notice if there are any dead or rotting roots and trim them off with sterile pruners. 
  5. Ensure the plant sits about 1 inch below the edge of the pot to avoid water spillage. Add more soil and backfill around the sides by tamping down. Fill up to the soil line but not over. 
  6. Afterward, water thoroughly, leaving the soil damp but not soggy. If settling occurs, add more soil. Let your plant drain thoroughly before adding it to a cachet pot. 

Common Issues with Philodendron

Are your leaves curling? It may be a sign of a lack of humidity or underwatering. Check the soil moisture and add a pebble tray or humidifier to increase the humidity to 50% or more. 

While Philodendrons are pet friendly, they make an excellent addition for easy-care plants for the not-so-green thumbers. They'll give you the confidence you need to venture into gardening and are very forgiving if you miss a beat. For more information and informative videos, check out our YouTube channel to educate yourself on Lively Root plants!