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Growing your Philodendron

Philodendrons are popular houseplants in recent times due to their easygoing nature and exotic looks. These plants are really easy to grow and are forgiving even if you missed out on a watering or two. Philodendrons may be a tad less showy than the other houseplants but they are definitely in any interior designer’s dream house. There are just so many to choose from and placing them all together complements your furniture and completes a picturesque look. Best part is that coming from a similar natural environment, they all can share the same living space.

To be frank, I really picked up on Philodendrons a little late. When I first started, there were just so many popular plant distractions. Although most of these plants belong to the same aroid family, I was just too distracted. I grew to enjoy the look of a Philo’s beautiful leaf patterns, jungle-like foliage and appreciate their easygoing nature only after I encountered the plant world’s prima donnas. LOL. Shhh. they are listening. Ok , enough digressing. How can we best grow them? ( Or just jump below to styling your philos at home.)


These are low to medium light plants and can be placed in low light areas although they grow alot better when there is good bright light. My philodendrons are always placed next to a bright window and receive bright dappled sunlight in the earlier part of the year. Although they receive sufficient light all day, my growth lights are turned on at night till at least 1am to shower them with additional blue and red light. You can do this and the additional more focused spectrum of light will speed up more growth and beautiful foliage. If you are on a budget like me, at least have those cheaper made ones. They are good enough and better than none at home.

Beautiful philodendron lemon lime placed next to the window receives dappled morning light


Philodendron can be quite drought tolerant, so water the Philodendrons when they are dry an inch down from the top of the soil. They like their soil mix moist but do not like to have ‘wet feet’. Imagine them in their natural habitat, crawling all over the jungle floor. Water needs to run pass their roots, just enough to allow them to absorb enough moisture. The only difference would be it is now in a planter and you will need some additional soil ingredient to hold in a little more water. If you use an airy mix of soil that consists of peat moss and black humus soil, there will be enough moisture in it to last at least a few days although this will depend largely on your climate.

Terracotta or Clay Pots

If you not too into aesthetics, terracotta or just using unglazed clay pots are great for Philodendrons especially if you have a heavy hand when doing your watering. They wick away that extra moisture or water left after you water them. I like to water my plants through till the water sip out and so I try to use orchid clay pots especially when I am trying to establish new plants that I have just bought.


A good soil mix can be a good start to any plant and makes your job of watering so much easier. Philodendrons like a airy mix with alot of drainage. Here is what I used for mine. Do remember that it is equally important to have ingredients that holds the moisture as it is important to have sufficient drainage in the soil mix. Add charcoal if that particular Philo is more sensitive to water and needs more drainage.
Recommended soil mix (ratios are in brackets):
1. coco chunks/ pine bark/ orchid bark (7 parts)
2. black humus soil (1part)
3. compost (1/2 part)
4. peat moss (1 part)
5. worm castings (1/2 part)
6. charcoal (optional)
7. perlite (optional)


It will be great if you have Osmocote. It has other essential traced elements besides just NPK. If not, any balanced slow-release fertilizer will be good. Each dose can last almost 4 months. I always use a NPK 14-14-14 with a fortnightly to monthly dose of worm castings.

Worm castings are an organic form of fertilizer produced from earthworms. Also known as vermicast, worm castings manure is really earthworm waste, otherwise known as worm poo which is excellent for the health of your plant. It enriches your soil, repels many bugs that feed on your plants and the microbes from it allows for better absorption of nutrients and your fertilisers. They work hand in hand.

To be fair, I don’t just stop there. I mix in a solution of HB101 plant vitaliser every time I water the plants as well as use a foliage spray plant tonic called Plantonic every week on the plants at home.


This appears last because Philodendrons are generally pest free if you have them indoors. If you place your plants together and have the humidifier on, you may just encounter the occasional spider mites. Wipe them away with rubbing alcohol or if they are really persistent, spray your plants with some light organic bug spray. I use the ones from GreenSpade. The Bug Shield are great and not smelly when sprayed at home. If ever there ever is a serious infestation (hardly I would ever think), try the systematic ones that you can sprinkle on the soil.

Styling your Philodendron at home

  1. Make sure the planter that you choose is not too big for the plant. As a general rule, it should not be more than one third of the height or the widest point of the plant.
  2. Some philodendrons’ leaves have unique patterns and colours. Pair them up with planters that do not clash. In fact, potting them in simple pots with less distracting designs or subtle colours tend to accentuate the plants and their foliage.
  3. Mixing Philodendrons with different foliage patterns (seen in gallery below) will paint a lovely look at home. But try to pair plants with leaves that have at least one similar element together for example similar shape ones but with slightly different colours or texture tend to stand well with each other.


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