Soil is an essential factor in ensuring that a plant thrives. This substrate is where a plant will secure itself with its roots, which is how it will get much-needed water and nutrients. Without good quality soil, a plant may suffer stunted growth, wilt, and even die.
The Split Leaf Philodendron, also known as Philodendron Selloum, is no exception because it needs suitable soil to thrive. Your Philodendron’s potting mix should be loose, fast-draining, and rich with organic matter. It should hold in moisture without retaining excess water.
We will discuss what to look for in good quality soil, so your Split Leaf Philodendron is always healthy and happy. We will also discuss the different soil amendments you can use, how often you should repot, and how to store your potting mix to minimize wastage properly. Let’s start!
The best soil for your Split Leaf Philodendron is fast-draining and loose. It should contain soil amendments to help improve its physical attributes. Your Split Leaf Philodendron will grow bigger and lusher quicker if you provide it with the best possible soil. Your main goal in choosing the best soil for your plant is to provide a suitable environment for the roots.
Soil amendments affect soil quality by enhancing these essential factors:
- Porosity. The more porous soil is, the better it can provide water and oxygen for your plants.
- Permeability. This attribute refers to how well water and oxygen can move through the soil.
- Drainage. Good drainage should allow water to move through and out of the soil primarily because of the natural force of gravity.
- Aeration. Compact soil isn’t good for plants. Good aeration addresses this by oxidizing the soil and allowing water and nutrients to penetrate deeper into the pot, thus allowing roots to take in as much as they need.
- Rooting depth. The more plants’ roots can grow deeper in the soil, the better they can absorb water and essential nutrients.
You can separate soil amendments into two categories – organic and inorganic. Organic soil amendments are essentially objects that used to be classified as living things and naturally occurring in nature. On the other hand, inorganic amendments are man-made or mined.
Here are some of the best organic soil amendments you could use:
- Coco peat
- Coco chips
- Sphagnum moss
- Wood chips
- Orchid bark
- Grass clippings
- Wood ash
Here are some of the best inorganic soil amendments you might want to consider:
- Pea Gravel
Soil amendments are not fertilizers. They are organic or inorganic matter added to the soil to improve its quality and physical attributes, indirectly affecting the growth of plants. On the other hand, fertilizers are substances that add nutrients to the soil, directly affecting how plants grow.
Soil amendments can make the difference between a philodendron plant surviving and thriving.
A good potting mix is essential in keeping your Split Leaf Philodendron healthy and happy. If your soil can’t provide it with the oxygen, water, and nutrients it needs, it may not be able to develop those large, fenestrated leaves that people love so much. A thriving Split Leaf Philodendron calls for proper care and good-quality soil.
Here are some clues indicating that your soil is perfect for your Split Leaf Philodendron:
- Consistent growth
- New leaves are the same sized, if not bigger, than the older ones
- Potting mix is fluffy, light, and airy
- Able to retain moisture
- Excess water immediately pours out from the drainage holes
- The water doesn’t pool on the surface.
Sometimes, plants send signals to tell us that something is not going well for them. The key is to familiarize yourself with your plants to identify subtle changes and react quickly. Acting fast to address these issues will do wonders for your plants.
Here are some signs that you might need to change your Split Leaf Philodendron’s soil:
- Stunted growth.
- No new growth.
- Distorted growth on the new leaves.
- Your plant wilts a day or two after watering.
- Water pooling on the surface rather than getting absorbed by the soil.
- Excess water escaping from the drainage holes takes longer than usual to flow out.
- The soil is hard, compact, and clumpy.
- The soil has a foul odor.
- Insect infestation in the soil.
- Moldy soil.
You should change the soil in your potted plants every 12-18 months. You don’t have to wait for the soil to go bad before you change it. Remember that your plants utilize the soil for water, oxygen, and nutrient absorption, so it is best to provide a good-quality potting mix.
Change the soil in the springtime because plants enjoy the most sunshine this season. Lots of sun encourages growth, both in the leaves and the roots. Your plants can get over the shock sooner and transition better if they are at their strongest.
Changing the soil of any potted plant can be tricky, especially if it’s a large specimen like a Split Leaf Philodendron. You have to be extra careful about snapping leaves and stems in half. You also have to ensure that the transition is seamless, so your plant doesn’t suffer from unnecessary stress.
Here are some clear signs that it’s about time you change your Philodendron’s soil:
If you see roots coming out of the drainage holes, it means your plant needs some fresh soil. Sometimes, the roots might even start pushing the plant up and out of the pot. In this case, consider moving it to a bigger pot, at least 2-4 inches bigger than the current one. This change will give it the extra room it craves to grow.
You should know how fast your plant produces new leaves. If there’s a little slack in the routine, it might mean that the soil can no longer provide what it needs. If your Split Leaf Philodendron growth inexplicably slows down, it might be due to a lack of proper nutrition. Without essential minerals and nutrients, it won’t have the energy to produce new growth.
Your Split Leaf Philodendron may have grown substantially so that its leaves are about three times the size of its pot. If your plant has grown top-heavy so that it starts to tilt at the slightest movement, then it’s clear that it needs new soil plus a bigger pot. Delaying repotting might result in stunted and deformed growth.
If it’s been a year since you last changed your Split Leaf Philodendron’s soil, then it’s about time you do. It doesn’t matter if the soil still looks good or if it doesn’t smell foul at all. Giving your plant fresh new soil will allow it to absorb even more nutrients, water, and oxygen. This step is crucial at this point when it is actively growing.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on changing the soil of your potted Split Leaf Philodendron:
- New pot (cleaned and sanitized) with drainage holes
- Plastic or rubber mat
- A watering can, filled with rainwater or filtered water
- Lava rocks or decorative pebbles (optional)
- Fresh potting mix.
- Put on your gloves. This step is necessary because Philodendrons sometimes secrete a sap that may irritate your skin.
- Turn your Split Leaf Philodendron on its side. Hold on to the pot and the stem, then gently tap and tug until you feel the plant loosening its hold on the pot.
- Pull out your Split Leaf Philodendron from its pot. Be very gentle to avoid damaging leaves and roots.
- Clean the roots. Get rid of as much soil from the roots. You may use your gloved hands or clean the roots under running water.
- Prune the roots. Get rid of mushy roots since these will rot in the new potting mix.
- Pour a layer of fresh potting soil into the new pot. Use your trowel. Do not pack the soil into the pot because your Split Leaf Philodendron won’t appreciate dense soil.
- Position your plant inside the new pot. Make sure it’s at the center to avoid it tipping over.
- Add more potting mix to the pot. Make sure that you tuck your plant securely into the soil. Leave about an inch of space from the top of the pot.
- Add the lava rocks or decorative pebbles if you wish. These will give your Split Leaf Philodendron a new, fresher look!
- Water your plant thoroughly. Wash the stems and leaves to get rid of any soil that may have stuck. Water until the excess liquid flows out from the drainage holes.
- Place your newly repotted Split Leaf Philodendron in a sunny, well-ventilated area. It would be best to put it back in its original location to minimize stress on the plant.
Storing your potting mix isn’t as simple as closing the bag it came with and dumping it in the corner of your shed or garage. It would be best to store your potting mix properly so you can use it for longer and ensure it is in top form for your plants. Throwing out soil that has gone bad is a waste, so proper storage will help you save money, too.
Here is how to properly store your potting soil (if you have already opened the bag ):
- Pour the contents into a resealable opaque plastic container.
- Seal the container, making sure there are no holes or gaps through which insects might be able to crawl.
- Store the container in a cool and dry area that you will not expose to the elements.
Storing your potting mix can be tricky if you live in areas with harsh winters like Minneapolis and Boston. Keep your sealed container away from snow and powerful winds since moisture might seep in. Moisture will encourage the growth of molds and render your potting mix practically useless.
Split Leaf Philodendrons are easy-care plants that can practically thrive in neglect. The right potting mix is the secret to growing lush Philodendrons because they absorb water, oxygen, and nutrients through their roots before distributing these to their leaves and stems. All you need to do is provide them with good-quality soil, sufficient sunlight, and adequate water, and you’re all set.
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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.