Why Are My Philodendron Leaves Falling off?

Philodendrons are tropical plants known for their big and luscious leaves. These beautiful plants can add to the aesthetics of any room or yard, but if their leaves start to fall off, they’ll lose the distinct look that probably drew you to them in the first place. So why are your philodendron leaves falling off?

Your philodendron leaves are falling off due to a number of reasons, such as improper watering, insufficient access to light, and pest infestation. Proper philodendron upkeep is crucial to keeping your philodendron in perfect shape.

In the rest of this article, I’ll discuss some of the most common causes of philodendron leaf loss and how to solve these problems so the leaves stay attached and healthy. Furthermore, I’ll provide some philodendron growing tips to ensure your beloved plant thrives and stays healthy.

How to Prevent Philodendron Leaf Loss

If your philodendron’s leaves are falling off, this is a sign that your plant is unhealthy and might probably die if you don’t take quick action. Philodendron leaves are typically bright and lush, so anything to the contrary is a warning sign.

Many factors contribute to the growth of a healthy philodendron, so there are many possible explanations for your leaf loss. Let’s take a look at a few causes of leaf loss and how to solve them.

1. Overwatering

Philodendrons are sensitive to overwatering, and they are more likely to die because of too much water than they are from underwatering. If the soil is too wet, the roots won’t have enough oxygen and will start to suffocate. This is detrimental to the entire plant, and the leaves will start to fall off as the plant begins to die. 

In addition to leaf loss, other signs of overwatering include:

  • Brown spots on the leaves
  • Mushy roots
  • A rotting odor
  • Soil that is wet and soggy

If you notice these conditions and think overwatering is the cause of your leaf loss, stop watering your plant immediately. You should also check the roots and remove any that are mushy and appear diseased.

Place your plant in a dry, aerated place. Your goal is to accelerate moisture loss, so you want to dry the soil out quickly. However, you should avoid placing your philodendron in direct sunlight as it can burn the leaves.

Philodendrons can grow year-round in the United States Department of Agriculture zones nine through eleven. However, they may struggle in more humid places, such as parts of Florida, Mississippi, or Louisiana, because the air will contribute to overwatering the plant. 

You should avoid watering your philodendron for a week after repotting. Then, water once a week through the spring and summer and once every three weeks in the winter. You should let the soil dry out between waterings; otherwise, you risk mushy roots and falling leaves.

2. Underwatering

To prevent leaf loss, you must be careful to avoid overwatering your philodendron. However, underwatering can also be another cause of leaf loss in your philodendron. If your plant doesn’t receive enough water, the leaves will start to turn dry, crispy, and wilted, eventually falling off. 

If you notice signs that your philodendron is dehydrated, you should soak it by placing it in three inches of room temperature water in your sink. Leave the plant in the water for approximately forty-five minutes and return it to its original spot or pot.

After soak-watering, you’re in danger of swinging the pendulum too far and harming your plant by overwatering. It would help if you waited to water again until the top two inches of the soil are completely dry or use a moisture meter and water when the soil is 50-75% dry.

My favorite moisture meter is the XLUX Soil Moisture Meter from Amazon. This meter is reliable, accurate, and easy to read, thanks to the large and clear dial. There’s also only a single probe, which means you dig up less soil every time you measure the soil. Finally, it is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. 

3. Not Enough Light

Philodendrons shouldn’t be put in direct sunlight because this could burn the leaves, but this doesn’t mean they don’t need light altogether. While philodendrons can survive in low-light environments, such conditions aren’t ideal for the optimum growth and health of the plants.

You should grow your philodendrons in medium light for the best results and sturdiest leaves.  

Soil doesn’t dry as quickly in low light conditions, which can then cause root rot and the loss of leaves. Additionally, like most plants, philodendrons need sunlight to perform photosynthesis, which contributes to the overall health and well-being of the plant.

Here are my tips for how to ensure your philodendron is getting the appropriate amount of light:

  • If your philodendron is planted outside, plant it underneath a tree
  • Pay attention to where the sun falls in your home at midday and in the afternoon, when the sun is at its strongest
  • Keep your philodendron away from windows during the winter and on windy days

If you live in an area that doesn’t get a lot of light or you’re experiencing a dark winter, you should consider purchasing artificial lights to help promote growth.

I recommend the GooingTop LED Grow Light from Amazon.com because the red and white LEDs are similar to sunlight at noon, and the product was designed for indoor garden plants. There’s also a convenient timer setting, so you can program the light to turn on and off without having to do it yourself.   

4. Pests

Philodendrons are susceptible to attacks from various pests, including:

  • Scales
  • Spider mites
  • Aphids
  • Mealybugs

These pests interfere with the plant’s growth and often lead to serious health issues that can lead to plant death, especially if not contained early enough.

Pests thrive in damp environments, so to prevent pests, ensure that your soil is well-draining and that your plant is getting enough sunlight. Furthermore, check on any surrounding plants regularly, as pests can move amongst plants in a group and infest them all.

Some pests are visible, so you can hand-pick them as you see them. You can also wash your plant under running room-temperature water to get rid of them.

Another option is to use a pesticide. I like Wondercide Indoor Pest Control Spray from Amazon because not only does it repel pests, but it is also pet-safe. This product uses natural essential oils, so it is a safer and more natural alternative than other pesticides full of potentially harmful chemicals.      

Philodendron Growing Tips

Consistent and proper philodendron maintenance is one of the best ways to ensure that your plant’s leaves stay healthy, sturdy, and attached to the stem. Here are some of my best recommendations for how to care for your philodendron:

  • Plant philodendrons with drainage holes. I like this Self Watering Plant Pot from Amazon because the legs of the plant allow the soil to draw moisture and keep the plant lifted above the water, which prevents overwatering. The pots also come with a clip-on watering attachment that makes watering easier.
  • Prune regularly. Pruning helps encourage growth, so cut away all dead leaves consistently.
  • Use well-draining soil mixed with sand. To prevent overwatering, you’ll need soil that drains well. You can also mix in some sand to prevent root rot.
  • Fertilize once a month. If your leaves start turning pale, chances are your philodendron is not getting enough calcium and magnesium. This Aquatic Arts Philodendron Fertilizer is specifically designed for philodendron health and enhances (and fastens) the growth process. Furthermore, the eight-ounce bottle will last approximately a year, so you don’t have to worry about repeatedly buying it.  
  • Repot as necessary. Philodendrons can grow to be quite large, so you’ll need to adjust the size of their container as needed.
  • Place your philodendron near a window. Your plant will need enough sunlight, but it needs to be indirect. A window that receives sufficient sunlight is an ideal location.
  • Keep your plant away from air conditioning vents. Philodendrons do not do well in cool weather, so if they are exposed to the cold draft of air conditioning, they could suffer. 
  • Water your plant once a week. Philodendrons do well with thorough watering once a week. You should also let the soil dry out between waterings. If you feel the soil after a week and it still feels damp to the touch, don’t water it until the soil feels dry.
  • Propagate your plant. Use sharp garden clippers to cut off parts of the stem and plant it in three inches of moist soil. Propagating helps you control the size of your philodendron because they can grow quite large if left uncontrolled.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your philodendron stays as healthy and beautiful as possible.  

Philodendron Micans Hederaceum, 4 inch, Heart-Leaf Philo, Sweetheart Plant

Conclusion

Philodendrons are gorgeous plants largely thanks to their big and beautiful leaves. Therefore, if your leaves start to fall off, you may not enjoy the appearance of your plant as much. Numerous issues can contribute to this problem, including improper watering, insufficient access to light, and pest infestation. Luckily, proper plant care and maintenance can prevent these problems.

You may also like: