The philodendron is a beautiful and popular houseplant. This evergreen vine has been around for centuries, and it continues to be a favorite today. You can find philodendrons in many different colors, shapes, and sizes. The article below will go over 20 popular varieties of the plant as well as some tips on how to give your plant the care that it needs to thrive indoors.
History of Philodendron Plants
The philodendron plant is native to Central and South America. French botanist, Charles Plumier, discovered it in the 1700s. He first set eyes on it while exploring a group of islands off the coast of Venezuela. In 1793-1794 he published his findings of this previously unknown species. Unknown to the greater world, that is. The Tupi natives have known of the philodendron for centuries as “Aarumugawa” or “Tree Of Life.”
Philodendrons are members of the Araceae family. People cultivate over 3500 different varieties around the world today. These plant typically grow best at temperatures between 65°F – 80°F (18°C – 27°C) and humidity levels that hover near 60%. You can grow them outside year-round in USDA plant hardiness zones 11 and 12 and as a houseplant everywhere.
Indoor Philodendron Care Basics
We will cover the care needs of specific species below, but there are some universal guidelines to keep in mind for indoor philodendron care.
It is very important that philodendrons don’t receive any exposure to direct sunlight or strong artificial light, as this can cause the plant’s leaves to blister or turn yellow prematurely. Prolonged periods of sun exposure will also lead to leaf drop, which may also occur if you apply too much water. Adjust your watering schedule accordingly if you notice drooping foliage.
Fertilize philodendrons with a diluted liquid fertilizer about once every two weeks during the growing season and monthly in winter months when growth slows or ceases completely. If your philodendron is receiving low-quality light or has started to wilt, it may need more frequent watering as well.
Note: Philodendrons are toxic to dogs, cats, and humans. Always keep philodendron plants away from animals.
6 Popular Philodendron Types for Indoor Gardens
The philodendron plant comes in many different shapes, colors, sizes, and varieties. The following list contains 6 of the most popular types that gardeners often grown indoors, as well as some guidelines for indoor philodendron care:
1. Golden Goddess Indoor Philodendron Care
Native to the Brazilian Pantanal, this philodendron is prized for its attractive foliage that can grow up to 36 inches long. The variegated leaves are a bright yellow-gold color and stand out nicely against more green varieties of philodendrons.
Golden Goddess philodendrons need high humidity levels (around 60%) and temperatures between 65°F – 80°F (18°C – 27°C). This versatile plant does well in low-light environments but will do best with medium indirect sunlight or partial shade. It requires plenty of water during warmer months but should be watered less as winter approaches. Fertilize once every two weeks from spring through summer, monthly in fall and winter when growth slows down.
2. Prince of Orange Philodendron
This philodendron is native to Colombia and usually grows about 36 inches tall. The leaves are a dark green color with orange stripes down the center of each leaf that resembles an orange peel, hence its common name. It has been cultivated in Europe since 1882 for use as a houseplant or groundcover in shady areas where more sunlight does not reach it often
Like most philodendrons, prince of Orange philodendrons also does best at temperatures between 65°F – 80°F (18°C – 27°C). The prince of orange thrives well indoors and prefers moist soil and high humidity levels around 60%. Fertilize as needed, which should not be more than once every two weeks or so.
3. Royal Queen Philodendron
Native to South America, The Royal Queen philodendron does well indoors but will only thrive if it receives medium indirect sunlight or partial shade on top of warm temperature conditions. When caring for this philodendron, make sure the soil stays moist when warmer weather prevails but allow its soil to dry out more during winter months when growth slows down considerably. Fertilize once every two weeks from spring through summer and monthly from fall-winter when no new growth occurs.
This philodendron plant can grow up to 36 inches tall and has distinctive dark leaves of green, red, and even black.
4. Pink Princess Indoor Philodendron Care
The rare Pink Princess philodendron is a stunning philodendron that can range in color from light rose to deep scarlet, with some even having hints of purple or bronze in between. They have been available since the 1800s and have been popular ever since.
Pink princess philodendrons are native to South America, where they grow under the cover of trees in the forest. Therefore, they thrive best indoors if they receive medium indirect sunlight or partial shade on top of warm temperature conditions.
5. Philodendron Brasil
The philodendron brasil is one of the most popular philodendrons for indoor gardeners. It does well in warm temperatures and prefers high humidity levels. It has heart-shaped leaves that vary in color from yellow to green.
Caring for this philodendron is very easy. The Brasil likes moist but not wet soil and thrives best at 60% – 100% relative humidity. Fertilize once every two weeks from spring through summer; monthly from fall until winter when growth slows down considerably or no new leaves are being produced.
The philodendron brasil should be placed in medium indirect sunlight or partial shade on top of the aforementioned temperature requirements.
6. Burle Marx Indoor Care
This philodendron is native to Brazil and is named after the famous Brazilian landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx. It does well indoors with medium indirect sunlight or partial shade and has warm temperature requirements. These philodendrons have leaves that can vary in color from a dark green to light yellow-green, which are kidney-shaped and become more pointed at the ends as they age.
Caring for this plant should be easy if you make sure its soil stays moist when warmer weather prevails but dries out more during the winter months.
FAQs for Indoor Philodendron Care
Philodendron plants contain insoluble calcium oxalate crystals. These crystals are also found in other plants in the Araceae family. If a pet chews or bites into a philodendron, the plant releases these crystals, and that will cause penetration of the mouth tissue and GI tract. This penetration causes irritation and swelling, and in rare cases can block airways, making it hard for your pet to breathe.
Philodendrons love humidity so place them near a water source such as your bathroom or kitchen where steam will help increase the moisture in the air for them. They can also be soaked with water once a week, but make sure they are not overwatered or brown spots may form on their leaves. Fertilize every 2 weeks during active growth but reduce to once monthly in winter months when plants grow slower or become dormant. Avoid placing them near drafts, heaters, or vents that will dry out the air around the plants.
This plant is a tropical native, so it needs hot temperatures and high humidity to flourish. It will droop, turn yellow, or even brown with dry air, too much sun, or insufficient water.
How can I propagate my own philodendrons?
Take cuttings from your plants when the stems are firm and have matured (around 2 months after taking them). Dip them into rooting hormone powder before sticking into the moist potting mix. Don’t let the cutting stay in the water as this will rot it instead of developing roots. Pot them in normal soil and keep the potting mix moist.
The most popular species of philodendron for indoor gardeners include:
- The Heartleaf Philodendron
- The Hope Plant or Lacy Tree Philodendron
- Philodendron Xanadu
- Philodendron Brazil
- The Velvet Leaf Philodendron