Different Philodendron Types & How to Treat Common Issues
There are several different types of philodendrons, which, to be fair, can make life somewhat confusing if you’re new to these tropical-looking beauties. Luckily, we won’t leave you wandering around in the proverbial dark. We’re here to help! 🌱🌱🌱
Keep reading as we explore the different philodendron types and how to treat common ailments that sometimes afflict them. Be sure to take some notes!
What are Philodendrons?
Excellent question! Philodendrons are a flowering plant belonging to the araceae family, as well as the arum family of plants. Philodendrons are characterized by their stems which are encircled by a white cover. This stem is called the spadix, and it’s often covered in tiny flowers from top to bottom.
Meanwhile, the white covering on the stem is called the spathe. Philodendrons are considered a new world tropical plant and can thrive in almost all environments when cared for appropriately.
Before listing down the different types of philodendrons, you should know they are classified into two categories, namely the upright philodendron and the vining philodendron. Upright philodendron are distinguished for their large split leaves while the vining philodendron have heart-shaped leaves and hanging vines. Upright philodendron can be planted in regular pots, while vining philodendron are best planted in a hanging basket.
Photo by Chia
Different Types of Philodendrons
Philodendrons have many different types, with more than 3000 known species. 🌱
(Scientific name: philodendron erubescens)
The name of this philodendron is associated with a romantic aura, and its looks only support this perception. Pink princess philodendrons have heart-shaped leaves, elongated, with pink and dark green contrasting colors on the leaves.
Some leaves of this plant may appear completely dark green, while others could have shades of rich pink, light pink, and pastel pink appearing throughout. Although it is technically a vine, most of the time, it’s trimmed to look like a shrub. This indoor plant can grow up to 2 feet in height when it’s provided the proper support. This type is more sensitive because it doesn't thrive in the cold and needs only bright indirect sunlight.
(Scientific name: philodendron hederaceum)
Also called the sweetheart plant or philodendron scandens, the green heartleaf philodendron is the most commonly seen species of this plant indoors. The green heartleaf philodendron is a vine with heart-shaped leaves, visually similar to the pothos plant.
It has a lush green appearance and is the perfect indoor plant to brighten up a room. It is especially suitable for bathrooms, as it requires a lot of humidity and very little light. Green heartleaf philodendrons can grow up to 20 feet tall in open outdoor spaces, but their height is limited indoors. When it comes to sun exposure, the heartleaf philodendron requires bright indirect sunlight. The vines are also easy to prune and propagate.
(Scientific name: philodendron erubescens)
Blushing philodendrons are your standard philodendrons, with elongated leaves and a heart shape. The leaves are a lush deep green, while the underside of the leaves and the stem often present with a purple shade.
The thin stems are not sturdy enough to keep the leaves upright; they usually tilt at an angle, creating a bush-like appearance. Blushing philodendrons can grow up to 2 feet in width and as high as 3 feet tall. This beautiful foliage can be placed in a living room or an office, and it’s suitable for both indoor and outdoor environments, as long as the outdoor climate is warm.
(Scientific name: philodendron bipinnatifidum)
The philodendron xanadu is a beautiful, dark green plant that looks lovely when placed indoors. It has split leaves that are long in size. The stems are also thick and long, with one leaf apiece.
A xanadu can be ideal for large spaces, even though it only grows up to 4 feet tall at maximum. However, its leaves can create a large spread of anywhere between 3 to 5 feet in size, so larger spaces are often ideal.
The xanadu is sometimes mistaken for lacy tree philodendron (philodendron selloum) because their leaves look similar. However, the lacy tree philodendron usually has larger and droopier leaves.
As the name suggests, prince orange philodendrons showcase a striking contrast of bright colors sure to make a room feel bright and cheery. This plant showcases a whole range of greens and oranges, all on the same plant.
Where one leaf is bright orange-red, the other might be a lush green; some others might vary in shades of oranges and greens, from copper to a light lime. Prince orange philodendrons feature spear-shaped leaves that are broad in size. They grow on short stems and look like they’re springing directly from the soil. This plant can grow up to 2 feet in height and cover a spread of 3 feet in width. This type of philodendron is a wonderful way to break up the monotony of a dull space, and fares best when placed in bright, indirect light.
(Scientific name: philodendron gloriosum)
Gloriosum philodendrons are a gorgeous specimen of a plant that looks like it’s made of plastic. The fleshy leaves appear smooth, with a large heart shape. Gloriosum grows dark emerald green in color, while the leaf veins are a striking white.
This creates a beautiful, almost artificial-looking pattern in them. However, to simply say that the leaves are large would be an understatement; the leaves of gloriosum can grow up to 2 feet in length. These qualities make it an ideal plant for large rooms, as it can make a small room feel crowded.
Photo by Ivanjaz
Common Issues with Philodendron Types and Treatments
Philodendron leaves turning yellow
If your philodendron leaves are turning yellow, with a little drooping as well, this is a symptom that there is something wrong with the plant. The most common causes behind yellow leaves are overwatering and underwatering.
Excess moisture around the roots can create overly moist soil, leading to overwatering of the plant. This overly moist soil can be because you’ve watered the plant too often, or too much, or because of improper drainage from the pot.
- To deal with this issue, assess the plant from top to bottom and strip off any part that is already damaged. Repot in a planter with a proper drainage system, and create a watering schedule to prevent overwatering.
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Philodendron leaves curling and browning
Philodendron leaves are prone to browning on the edges, as well as full brown leaves when they are in severe distress. They also start to curl inwards and droop downwards.
More often than not, the cause behind this is dehydration. This dehydration can be caused by underwatering the plant, too much direct sunlight (causing faster evaporation), severely cold temperatures, as well as low humidity in its surroundings (low moisture content).
Remember, philodendrons are native to a tropical environment, with a lush green cover protecting them from direct sunlight, humid air, along with excess water and some dry spells in between. If any of these requirements aren’t met, the health of your plant will be affected.
- To treat dehydration immediately, you can soak the plant in water and then let it drip out excess moisture slowly. Create a watering schedule to prevent underwatering and place it in an area with indirect light. The leaves should be misted every week and cleaned properly.
If your plant appears to be dormant, i.e., there hasn’t been any growth in recent weeks, the chances are good that the plant is dying. This can happen due to many reasons, but it all boils down to a disturbance in the plant’s basic needs being met.
If your philodendron is not getting enough bright light, it can set back the photosynthesis process. If the plant is not getting enough water, then it isn’t getting the nutrients it needs.
Similarly, if the potting soil lacks vital nutrients and you aren’t enriching it with fertilizer, your plant won’t have enough energy to grow.
And finally, if the soil isn’t properly aerated, the roots won’t get the oxygen and fresh air they need to thrive. All of this can slow down the growth process of philodendrons, if not stop it in its tracks completely.
- To combat these issues, make sure to add fertilizer to your soil. You can use a slow-release fertilizer, as well as organic and natural options such as compost and manure. Just make sure the needs of the plant are being met.
Root rot is a very common problem for all plants, including philodendrons. If the roots of the plant appear brown and mushy, as opposed to the crisp white of healthy roots, it’s a definite sign your plant has root rot. With root rot, the leaves turn yellow and eventually die.
Root rot happens when the soil is oversaturated with water, consistently, for long periods of time. The excess moisture makes the soil ideal for viruses and bacteria, which create rotting in the plant.
- To treat this, remove the plant from the pot and rinse the roots; trim off the decayed parts and save what can be saved. Repot in a fresh potting mixture with aerated soil, and choose a pot with the right-sized drainage hole in it.
Here’s an additional tip: Keep your philodendron away from pets. Are philodendrons toxic to cats and dogs? Yes, they are. They’re even harmful to birds. So keep them away from your four-legged friends.
Obviously, this article can’t cover the entire gamut of philodendron types, but hopefully, you’ve learned some great information about some of the more common varieties of this beautiful plant and ways to avoid common pitfalls when raising them. Once you’ve decided which type to plant, the next step is to consider not only growing them but also how many you want in your house. If you’re willing to plant more, it’s helpful to know how to propagate philodendron.🍃🍃🍃