Native to tropical rainforests where they can be found woven around tree trunks, philodendrons are now more commonly found as houseplants. They’ve become so popular they rival the fiddle leaf fig for the top spot.
Whether you grow them in containers, propagate them from stems or put them front and centre in a pretty pot, philodendrons are as versatile as they come.
Here’s everything to know.
How to grow
Philodendrons adapt easily to conditions inside the home, making them a popular indoor plant choice. Vining philodendrons will need a post, a trellis or other supporting structure to climb on. However, non-climbing varieties will grow upright in the ground or a pot and need a wide berth to grow.
Indirect sunlight. Pop them near a window in a shady spot so the sun’s rays don’t directly touch the foliage. Coloured leaf varieties can handle a bright light with a spot of shade.
After watering, allow the top inch of soil to dry out before watering again as they don’t like sitting in wet soil. Use the length of your index finger to the first knuckle to test the soil for moisture. Upright varieties are more tolerant of drought.
Feed philodendrons with a liquid foliage houseplant fertiliser monthly in spring and summer when their growth is active, and every six to eight weeks in autumn and winter.
Avoid fungus gnats and fruit flies by applying a layer of gnat barrier to the top of potting mix if need be.
How to care
Caring for a philodendron is easy to do, and if you watch for signals they can even tell you want they need. If the leaves turn yellow, they’re getting too much sun. If they droop, they're getting too much or not enough water. Small leaves and slow growth mean they need more fertiliser and pale leaves means they need more nutrients.
Though they can thrive indoors, they still enjoy the occasional stay outdoors in a shady spot. Take this as an opportunity to also flush the soil with fresh water and to wipe the leaves clean with a damp cloth.
Repot your plant every two years with fresh soil in order to purge the build-up of salt deposits from the water which can lead to leaf burn. If your philodendron is long and leggy, feel free to give it a quick trim.
How to propagate
Climbing varieties are much easier to propagate because they have pre-formed roots. All you need to do is cut from the stem with a leaf attached and place in either a glass of water or moist potting soil.