Philodendron is a large genus of plant covering over 1,000 species. They are grown primarily as indoor and ornamental plants, though larger outdoor varieties can be planted in sub-tropical climates. Most occur in humid tropical forests, but also in swamps, on river banks, roadsides and rock outcrops and can be found throughout the tropical Americas and West Indies. The majority of these plants are crawling and creeping species with long vine-like aerial roots and large, green leaves similar to that of a palm tree’s leaves in appearance. This genus doesn’t bloom often, but when it does it produces huge white flowers that resemble lilies. Here is a guide on how to grow your own Philodendrons.

 Caring Instructions

  1. Begin by obtaining Philodendron cuttings. They don’t really grow from seeds so this is your only option if you want to start from scratch. Typically local garden departments in superstores won’t even charge you for taking a cutting. Make sure the cuttings have at least two joints and multiple leaves intact and cut them with a clean set of shears or scissors.

  2. Place the cuttings in bowls of water with everything but the leaves submerged. In four or five weeks the bases of the cuttings will develop roots.

  3. Prepare several pots for your cuttings by lining each with a few inches of clean sand for drainage, then pouring in a mixture of compost and peat moss. Philodendrons are often air plants that grow in the bark of other trees, so a soil mixture that is mostly organic matter is best.

  4. Push the roots of each cutting into the center of a separate pot about an inch below the surface of the soil. Place next to each cutting a wooden stake with a rough wooden texture. These plants are climbers after all and will eventually put up an extensive aerial root system that will surround the stake after growing for a few years.

  5. Place the pots outdoors in the shade if you live in a hot, humid environment. Otherwise keep them in indoors in a shaded spot which receives indirect sunlight only. They grow best at temperatures between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

  6. Water the plants sparingly and only when the soil is dry to the touch. They are very susceptible to diseases from being overwatered.

  7. Dilute an acidic fertilizer heavily in water and give a few tablespoons of this to each plant after about six months when they’re well developed. Repeat this every other week from this time onward.

  8. Repot the plants only when the submerged roots look to have formed a wall along the edges of the pots. This should take anywhere between one and three years depending on the size of the initial pot and the exact species of plant. Cut shallow vertical gashes into the sides of the root walls before placing them in bigger pots. You could also try to plant them outdoors provided they are placed in a well shaded area with moist soil. The plant should have no other needs to grow up healthy.

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