Philodendrons are one of the most common house plants since they are both beautiful and easy to care for. Still, it can be challenging to know if you’re giving it the right amount of water to ensure the best growth.
Philodendrons should be watered once every one to two weeks. You can tell it is ready to be watered again once the top one to two inches of soil is completely dry.
Giving a plant enough water is essential, but it is also important to not over-water it. In this article, I’ll explain how to create the best environment for your philodendron, which includes knowing when to water it and when to let it be.
Philodendrons are tropical plants from Central and South America. Most of us don’t live in the same type of tropical environment that we come from but don’t be discouraged. Regardless of where you live, whether in a place like California or Minnesota, you can grow a philodendron inside.
For the best philodendron care, you want to make the plant feel at home. This doesn’t mean you have to turn your living room into a rainforest.
Just keep them at a comfortable temperature of 60 to 75 °F (15.56-23.89 °C) with indirect sunlight and some humidity. While I mentioned that you should not water your philodendron more than once a week, it might be a good idea to mist it once or twice a day if you live in a particularly dry area.
These plants can absorb water through their leaves and are used to a certain amount of water in the rainforest air. If it is too dry inside, they may shrivel up. Their rainforest habitat also explains why philodendrons don’t need their roots watered as frequently.
Some philodendrons don’t even touch the ground when they first sprout in the branches of other trees.
Their roots will reach the soil after a few months and then start picking up water and nutrients from the ground. You can see how they are less dependent on groundwater this way.
Along these lines, it is also essential to ensure that when you water your philodendron, the water is draining correctly. It can be easy to “drown” philodendron roots if you overwater them, but this can be avoided by planting them in well-draining potting soil in a pot with drainage holes.
You can water your philodendron until you start to see water coming out of the holes at the bottom. Then, you don’t have to worry about watering the roots for a week or two.
So you know that you don’t want to overwater your philodendron, but of course, you need to water it at some point. Thankfully there is an easy trick to knowing when is the best time to water your philodendron.
You know your philodendron needs more water when the soil is completely dry, 1 to 2 inches (2.54-5.08 cm) from the surface. If it is still damp, you do not need to water it again.
Waiting for the soil to dry is a standard tip for watering many types of plants. Still, it is especially good for philodendrons since they prefer evenly moist soil.
You can help ensure water is evenly distributed through the pot by buying well-draining potting soil or mixing sand and pebbles throughout. This helps encourage the water to run through the soil rather than accumulating in it, which can lead to root rot.
Pay attention to the signals that your plant is sending you as well. You can tell a lot about the health of your philodendron from the appearance of its leaves.
Yellow, droopy leaves are often a sign of overwatering. If you see this, try increasing the amount of time between watering.
On the other hand, brittle or wilting leaves are most likely a sign of underwatering, and you should rehydrate your plant as soon as possible.
It is necessary to pay attention to how your specific plant responds because there are different types of philodendrons that may have other preferences for optimal growth.
Another reason philodendrons are so popular is that there are many different varieties of plants, each as beautiful as the other. Everyone can find an easy plant that fits their home and personality the best. But does this mean you have to treat them all differently?
All varieties of philodendrons have the exact basic needs and growth requirements. There are slight differences between types that can affect how tolerant they are to drought or shade, but the overall care recommendations are the same.
While the overall recommendation for taking care of your philodendron can be applied to any variety you have, you can take even better care of your plant by understanding its specific preferences. All varieties can fall under two main classes of philodendrons, climbing and upright.
Climbing philodendrons are vine-like and can, well, climb. These often require “training” to tell them which direction to grow. They can climb up guide poles or other natural elements in your home, like windows or walls.
They also can be called “vining” or “trailing” and look lovely hanging out of pots or baskets. These grow very fast and are often dark green in color.
Wild climbing philodendrons grow from seeds high in the canopy of the rainforest. They do not start from a seedling in the ground but rather sprout aerial roots from their place in tree branches that slowly reach for the soil.
Their place among other trees in the rainforest means that climbing philodendrons often receive patches of both shade and sunlight, so they may prefer indirect sunlight. Since the plant may trail far from the roots in the soil, they are also more likely to be sensitive to drying out.
Keep the humidity up for them by spraying them regularly or using a humidifier. Since they grow so fast, you may need to trim these varieties more frequently.
Upright philodendrons are more bush or tree-like than climbing varieties. This gives them broader leaves that usually take longer to grow, but they can often be more colorful than climbing varieties.
Upright philodendrons may benefit from more direct light since they can have broad, colorful leaves. Without enough light, colors will fade, or the plant may not grow.
However, too much light can cause brown patches, so pay attention to how your plant responds. Upright philodendrons are typically less sensitive to lack of water, so they could be a better choice if you have difficulty keeping up with a watering schedule.
I’ve mentioned how different types of philodendrons might have different sensitivities to water and sunlight levels, but other elements affect the health of the plant as well. Here are a few things to keep in mind to keep your philodendron healthy.
Just like any surface in your house, the leaves of a philodendron can collect dust! It is important to dust them every now and then. Alternatively, when it is time to water them, you can run the leaves under water to rinse any accumulated dust or bugs.
If your plant has pale leaves, it could be a sign of under-fertilization. Make sure the soil has enough nutrients and fertilize as necessary. Periodic use of a water-soluble fertilizer can aid healthy plant growth, according to gardener Ron Finley, but it can be particularly helpful in the summer when the plant is growing the fastest.
Even if it is well-fertilized, the soil may not be healthy if it has accumulated salt deposits or root rot. Avoid this by changing out the ground every now and then.
Better Homes & Gardens suggests repotting your philodendron every two years. Repotting is also healthy for your plant if its roots have outgrown their original pot.
While philodendrons are beautiful, it is important to be aware that they can be toxic. Sap on the leaves can cause a slight rash on the skin once it comes in contact with it. They should not be ingested, so keep them out of reach of pets or children who may chew on the leaves. This can cause a rash or internal swelling, making breathing difficult.
Water is a crucial element for all living things, especially plants, but sometimes we forget that there can be such things as too much water! As they say: all things in moderation. It is only necessary to water these beautiful plants every one or two weeks.
However, the best way to care for your philodendron is to pay attention to how it responds to different elements. Keep your eye on how fast the soil dries out, the color of your plant’s leaves, and if it is wilting.
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- Can You Propagate Philodendron From a Leaf?
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Hi! I’m Sophia, and I love plants – especially an expert in growing house plants. I stay in Chicago, United States of America, and through my blog and social media platforms, provide tips and tricks on how to grow healthy, vibrant plants indoors. Check out more here.