Plant Profile: How to Care for Philodendron

The philodendron is a family of plants that includes over 400 different species. The come in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes, which means there will likely be at least a few that you LOVE. They are also easy to care for. However, as there are so many different species, the care tips will vary depending on the exact plant that you have.  

This is a plant that can be categorized in two ways: non-trailing and vining. The vine plants are great for placing in hanging baskets, where they can be placed around the home or garden. Non-trailing plants are like mini trees that act as statement pieces to any room. The most common type of non-trailing philodendron plant is the lace tree, which is found in homes around the world. They really are beautiful!

The plants don’t just look good either, as they actually work to clean the air in our homes. I believe every home should have a philodendron plant (or another tropical plant) for the healthiest air qualities.

Philodendron Care Guide

  • Ideal light: bright, indirect, though low light tolerant
  • Ideal humidity: 60-70%
  • Ideal temperature: 12C/55F – 32C/90F
  • Watering: water only when the soil is dry
  • Propagation: cuttings
  • Pests:  scale, spider mites, and mealybugs
  • Bloom? yes
  • Toxic? Yes
  • Fertilise: monthly with general-purpose fertiliser
  • Potting medium: aroid mix

Where do philodendron plants come from?

Philodendron plants are found naturally in the Americas, but they’ve now spread to other tropical regions over the world.

What are the main types of philodendron?

  • Epiphytes – Non-parasitic plants that grow on other plants
  • Hemiepiphytes – Much of their life is spent as epiphytes
  • Terrestrial – This type is found on the ground

Where should I keep my philodendron plant?

Philodendrons are plants that can be kept in multiple different light conditions. They will be happiest in light rooms, but not in direct sunlight. This means you don’t have to make window space for your philodendron, as you can keep them anywhere in your house. It can be a good idea to rotate and move your plant to maintain an even shape from all angles.

Best light conditions for philodendron plant?

Now, you will hear different answers to this question from different sources. While everyone can agree that philodendrons need light, there isn’t an established answer.

In my experience, I have found that philodendrons are a tolerant plant that are the most happy in bright light conditions. With that said, they will still survive spending some days receiving low amounts of light.

In the wild, philodendrons thrive in rainforest conditions, where the light is shining through the canopy of high trees. As such, you should try and recreate these light conditions as close as possible.

Best temperature for philodendron plant?

The best temperature for a philodendron plant is 12C/55F – 32C/90F. This is the same for most tropical plants. As such, be sure to move your plant away from the window and areas that receive a wind draft.

Personally, I like to keep all of my plants together in the same room during winter, which helps to increase the humidity. Be sure to make sure they receive a lot of light, but try to maintain a high-temperature environment.

Best humidity for philodendron plant?

Philodendrons are from tropical environments like the rainforest, so they appreciate high amounts of humidity. The best humidity range for philodendrons is 60-70%.

That is the perfect humidity, but not everyone is able to recreate rainforest conditions in their house (I know I can’t). Fortunately, you can keep most philodendrons plants happy in a humidity level of less than 40%.

However, some of the expensive plants require 70% humidity, or they will die. Be prepared to invest in a humidifier if you want to buy a spiritus sancti. You will have a good idea that your humidity levels are too low if the plant leaves begin to brown.

How to water philodendron plants?

Philodendrons are plants that don’t need lots and lots of water. In fact, I prefer to let my plant dry out before watering it again. It is better to underwater your philodendron, rather than overwater it.

When it comes to water the plant, I like to place them in the bath, where I can give them a good soaking. I like to “bottom soak”, which means I leave the plants to sit in a small amount of water at the bottom of the tub. I then let the water go down the plug hole, and allow any access water to drain from the plant.

Not everyone will have time to do this, but you will be fine watering your philodendron from top to bottom.

How to fertilise philodendron plants?

There are no strict rules with fertilising philodendron plants. In fact, many people don’t fertilise their plants at all. Personally, I like to fertilise my philodendron once a month by adding seaweed emulsion when I water the plant.

Pests common to philodendron plants?

There are a few pests that enjoy spending time on philodendron plants, which include scale, spider mites, and mealybugs. But you don’t need to worry as philodendrons that are well-cared-for aren’t vulnerable to these pests. The only thing to look out for are diseases that may infect your plant, with the most common being leaf spot and blight.

If the pests are annoying, you can simply wipe them off with rubbing alcohol and a cotton bud or piece of tissue paper. To minimize the chance of pests returning to your plant, you can keep spraying the plant with water and insecticidal soap.

Potting mix for philodendron plants?

It’s a good idea to use a well-draining potting mix. I recommend trying a mix that consists of equal parts of orchard bark, perlite, and any house plant potting mix.

You will want to use a mix that doesn’t hold too much water, as philodendron plants usually have air pockets next to the roots. A heavy potting mix with lots of water could result in your philodendron developing root rot.

Best pot type for philodendron plants?

You can put your philodendron plant in any plot that you like. Personally, I use terracotta pots that allow for superior evaporation. You may want to re-pot your plant every couple of years to stop your plant from getting too big for the pot and causing cracks.

Are philodendron plants toxic?

Yes. Philodendron plants are toxic to humans and animals, so do not eat them under any circumstances.

How to propagate philodendron plants?

Now, this will depend on the exact type of philodendron that you own, but it is an easy process to propagate the most common types. Vines can grow back, but getting roots to grow can be very hit or miss.

Philodendron facts

  • Some philodendrons create a substance that attract ants to the plant
  • philodendrons can produce blooms
  • They grow quickly if given the best care
  • The plants can grow aerial roots that reach 60 feet in length
  • Many people think that Pothos are philodendrons, but there are many differences.  For starters, Philodendrons have cataphylls, but Pothos plants don’t


So, that concludes our philodendrons care guide. Philodendrons are the perfect starter-plant, as they are easy to care for and affordable to most. My favorite species of philodendron has to be the Micans,  as they are such a beautiful plant. Oh, and the Calathea Warscewiczii is lovely too.