If you are thinking of getting a Philodendron painted lady, you might be wondering about how to care for this plant. These evergreen aroids are very beautiful, and a little different from most Philodendrons in that their leaves are paler and yellower. They have a beautiful, textured look, and are low-maintenance, so they’re perfect if you’ve got a busy schedule.
Philodendron painted lady plants need some bright, indirect sun and warm temperatures; they are not cold-hardy plants at all and will die if they get chilled. Besides that, they like well-draining soil, plenty of food, and a little humidity. They don’t need much other care, and are considered pretty easy to keep.
Indoor vs Outdoor Growing
You can grow Philodendron painted lady plants both indoors and outdoors provided you live in a warm country. They are tropical plants and don’t do well in temperatures below 55° F; they have minimal tolerance for low temperatures. If you grow them outdoors, you will need to bring them in for the winter unless you live somewhere hot.
Philodendron painted lady plants also don’t like to be grown in direct sun, so if you’re growing your plant outdoors, you will need to provide at least some dappled shade. They are climbers and will scramble up any vertical surface, so make sure they have plenty of support to keep them upright; this will make the most of their beautiful leaves.
Indoors, Philodendron painted lady plants should be fine in any room that has a medium amount of indirect bright light. They don’t like to be kept in direct sun inside either, so don’t put them right by a window.
Again, you will need to provide a support for them to climb up, even if this is just a few poles. The plant can wrap its long tendrils around these and scramble upward, and it will look stunning doing so.
Best Location For Your Philodendron Painted Lady
Any indoor room should be fine for your Philodendron painted lady. If there is too much direct light, consider putting up a net curtain or something else that will provide light, dappled shade without blocking too much of the plant’s light out.
You can grow your Philodendron painted lady in a living room, office, study, bathroom, kitchen, or anywhere else you please. Just bear in mind that these plants get pretty big (eventually, as they are slow growers) and will need a good amount of space to grow into.
Don’t shove your Philodendron painted lady in a small corner and expect it to thrive. It will suffer from poor light and cramped conditions. Anyway, the point of having these plants is to enjoy their beautiful foliage, so have them on display in a prominent position where they can spread their leaves and fill your room with beauty.
Soil For A Philodendron Painted Lady
Like many in their family, Philodendron painted lady plants require loose soil that allows plenty of oxygen to flow around their roots. You should not plant them in heavy soil or even too much normal compost, because this is likely to get compacted and stop their roots from getting enough oxygen.
Instead, choose a light, well-draining material. Sphagnum moss is an excellent option, and perlite will help with the drainage.
You can also use coconut coir or peat moss, and gravel if you can’t get perlite. This will help to ensure that water runs away from the plant’s roots, while the sphagnum moss will hold onto enough to keep the plant damp. An alternative option is to mix cactus soil with sand and use this in the container.
Philodendron painted lady plants also like lots of nutrients, so rich soils are best. You can add a little potting compost to your blend for the additional food if you like, or something like rotting leaves; these will provide your plant with food as they break down, and you can always add more to the pot later.
Having good soil will help your Philodendron painted lady to grow well. As these plants are slow growers, it’s important to give them the best possible conditions for their roots. Plenty of access to moisture without sitting in water will ensure the plants are happy and healthy.
Watering Your Philodendron Painted Lady
You don’t want to over-water your Philodendron painted lady; the plant will not cope with soggy roots. Even with good drainage in the pot, a lot of water will upset this plant and can lead to loss of foliage or even root rot. Root rot can kill a plant fast, so it’s important to avoid this by watering only when your plant needs it.
You can buy water meters that tell you how moist the soil around your plant is, or you can use your finger to judge. Don’t just feel the surface of the soil, however. You need to press your finger down into the soil for an inch or two. If there is still dampness there, your plant doesn’t need watering yet.
Wait until the growing medium feels dry to a couple of inches down, and then water your plant again. This is the best way to prevent over-watering. Do not water on a schedule or just when the surface feels dry; you will get the plant too damp and make it sick.
In summer, you will need to water your Philodendron painted lady more often than in winter, because a lot more moisture will evaporate from the soil when it’s hot. Make sure you reduce watering as soon as the weather starts to cool down, and check the plant really needs a drink before you give it one.
Humidity For Your Philodendron Painted Lady
Philodendron plants tend to love moisture, and the Philodendron painted lady is no different. While the plant will tolerate low humidity levels without much problem, it prefers high humidity. These plants grow in climates around 60-85% humid, so don’t be afraid to keep the plant in the bathroom so it can enjoy steam from the shower!
If your plant is not in the bathroom, you should occasionally give it a light misting to keep the foliage fresh and soft. It is important to only do this early on in the day, and to make sure that the plant’s foliage has dried off before the evening, when the weather turns cooler.
Having wet leaves overnight exposes your plant to risks such as mold and pests, so if your plant is still wet when the day starts to cool, consider wiping the leaves with a dry, absorbent cloth to pick up some of the excess moisture. This will help to protect it.
You may find that you don’t really need to mist your Philodendron painted lady, and if that works for you, that’s fine. Because these plants are reasonably hardy, it’s not necessarily something you will have to do.
If you do choose to, a quick mist with a spray bottle once or twice a week in dry weather should be sufficient. Alternatively, you can use a plug in humidifier (turn it off sometimes, though), or make a DIY humidifier at home with a shallow tray.
Simply spread a layer of pebbles in the bottom of the tray, top it up with water to just below the surface of the pebbles, and stand the plant on the top. As the water evaporates, it will gently mist the leaves. You may find that this doesn’t get them as wet as misting with a spray bottle does, which may be better.
Fertilizing Your Philodendron Painted Lady
Your Philodendron painted lady will be happy to be fertilizer regularly, and you can use any all-purpose fertilizer on the plant. Doing so frequently will help to enrich the foliage and keep the plant growing, although too much fertilizer is harmful (as it is with any plant) so you shouldn’t overdo it.
Water your plant lightly before fertilizing it, and then dilute the fertilizer and add it to the soil, being careful not to get it on the leaves.
Water lightly again to wash the fertilizer in to the roots, and your plant should have plenty of food to help it grow.
Fertilizing should only be done while your plant is actively growing, so during the spring and summer months. In fall and winter, your plant will slow down and won’t need food; it enters a dormancy period when the weather is cold.
Stop fertilizing at this point, because a buildup of fertilizer in the soil might burn the plant’s roots, and it won’t be needed until the following spring. If you really want to continue fertilizing, once a month will be plenty, but it often isn’t necessary.
In the plant’s active months, you can fertilize it about once or twice every month. This should be sufficient to produce lots of healthy growth. You should occasionally flush out the plant’s soil with a good soaking of rainwater to remove any buildup of salts or other minerals that might be harmful to the plant’s roots.
If you want to use a time release fertilizer, do this three times a year, watering it into the soil. This might be easier than remembering to fertilize regularly, but don’t forget that you’ve done it and then start giving your plant ordinary fertilizer. Too much food will kill a Philodendron painted lady.
Like others in this family, the Philodendron painted lady is toxic and should not be consumed, even in small quantities. It can also irritate the skin and eyes.
These plants are toxic because they contain calcium oxalate crystals, and these should not be handled or consumed.
If you have a young child or a pet that is interested in plants, you may wish to avoid growing Philodendron painted lady plants. If you already have one, try to put it somewhere out of reach and common use so that consumption is unlikely.
You may want to wear gloves when handling the plant, especially if you are going to cut stems of it. If you don’t, make sure that you wash your hands when you have finished with it, or you could accidentally irritate your eyes if you touch them.
Should a child or pet consume any of this plant by accident, seek immediate medical help from the appropriate source. Consumption can lead to vomiting, nausea, stomach pain, and oral swelling. Treatment may be needed.
Philodendron plants tend to be reasonably easy to propagate, and the Philodendron painted lady is no exception to this rule. If you want to grow cuttings of this plant, you should be able to do so with relative ease, so let’s look at a few propagation methods.
Always try for propagation in spring. This is when your plant is getting ready to put lots of energy into growing, and cuttings will have a good chance of taking and growing quickly.
Sterilize your equipment before you start. You can propagate this plant using water or some growing medium similar to what the adult plant grows in. Prepare the container in advance. If you are going to propagate using water, set a jar of water aside for twenty-four hours to let the chlorine evaporate from it.
If you are going to propagate in a mix of sphagnum moss and perlite (or similar alternatives), get your container ready.
Next, select a healthy stem of the plant. You want to take a cutting of around six to eight inches, and cut around half an inch below a node. Ideally, the cutting should have some air roots that will help it to grow.
Plant the cutting in your soil mixture, or place it in the jar of water. Remove any leaves that would be buried or submerged, and then put the plant in a warm place with medium indirect light. If you are propagating in soil, make sure you lightly water the soil and keep it moist while the young plant develops.
If you are propagating in water, you will need to change the water every three or four days to prevent stagnation and ensure the roots get fresh oxygen.
Roots should develop within about four weeks. You can leave rooted cuttings that have been propagated in soil in their containers until they outgrow them. Water propagated cuttings can be kept in water for a while longer, and transferred to soil when you are ready. Remember to keep changing the water for as long as they stay in it.
You can repot your Philodendron painted lady very easily, but these plants don’t need their pots changing too frequently. They prefer to be a little root bound and will manage in the same pot for two or three years, possibly even longer if they are growing slowly in low light conditions.
To check if your plant needs repotting, pick it up and tilt the pot. If roots are coming through the drainage holes, it’s time to give it a larger home. Equally, if your plant seems to be drying out very quickly, its roots have probably filled too much of the pot.
If your plant doesn’t yet need repotting but you’re worried that its growing medium has got too compacted, simply lift it out of the pot, fluff up the medium, add a little fresh compost or sphagnum moss, and return it to the same container.
However, if it needs a new pot, find a container that’s a couple of inches bigger, and has plenty of drainage holes. Mix gravel or perlite with coconut coir or sphagnum moss in a layer at the bottom. This will help with drainage.
Next, fill the pot with the same mix of potting mediums described earlier (e.g. a bit of compost, coconut coir, sphagnum moss, perlite, peat moss, etc.). You can use whatever is easy to purchase in your local area.
Lift the plant out of its current container and settle it in the new one. You don’t need to break up the root ball. Just lift it out, plant it in the new container, and water it lightly.
You should then put it somewhere without any direct sun while it settles into its new home. You may observe it losing a few leaves as a result of transplant shock, but it should be okay. Keep it moist but not wet while it gets used to the new pot.
When you have recently repotted a plant, don’t fertilize it for a few months. There should be enough nutrients in the new growing medium to keep it happy and fed for a while, and adding more could risk over-feeding.
Here are answers to a few questions that you may have about your Philodendron painted lady. Hopefully, these will help if you’re having any problems!
Why Does My Philodendron Painted Lady Smell Bad?
While most plants are grown for their flowers, Philodendron painted lady plants are grown for beautiful foliage, and the flowers have a pungent, unpleasant scent. Fortunately, the plants don’t flower often, but the green or white blooms don’t smell nice.
You may wish to remove your plant’s buds if you notice it’s getting ready to flower. These plants don’t need to flower and it takes energy away from their foliage. Because they can be propagated through their cuttings, there isn’t really any reason to let them flower, and indoors, the smell is definitely a reason to deter them from doing so!
Why Isn’t My Plant Growing Much?
There are a few reasons that a Philodendron painted lady may not be growing very fast. The first is simply that your expectations are too high. These plants don’t grow quickly; they take time to gain size and new leaves, and you have to be patient with them. If you’re expecting your plant to shoot up, you’ll be disappointed.
However, if you’ve noticed a sudden slowing of growth, there are a few potential reasons. The first is that your plant is cold and therefore turning dormant. This is normal in the winter and nothing to worry about. In many cases, the plant won’t grow at all during the cold months, or very little.
You don’t need to do anything about this; just wait for spring and the plant will resume growth when the temperatures increase.
Alternatively, your plant is not getting enough food. It might also show this through pale, discolored leaves. If you haven’t fertilized your plant lately, giving it some food should help it to resume growth.
If light is the issue, you may notice your Philodendron painted lady producing leggy trailers that stretch toward the light. Again, these are likely to be pale or discolored. You should try to move your plant nearer to a window, or supplement the daylight with a grow lamp to ensure it’s getting enough energy to photosynthesize properly.
Finally, it is possible that your plant has outgrown its container and its roots don’t have enough space to keep growing. This will prevent the plant from growing further above the soil too, so you need to repot your plant if this has happened.
Why Does My Philodendron Painted Lady Have Brown Spots On Its Leaves?
Spotted brown foliage is usually a sign of too much sun, especially if it appears on the foliage that faces the window. You need to move your plant, because constantly burning leaves cause a lot of stress, and the plant will constantly be trying to repair them instead of focusing on new growth.
If your plant can’t easily be moved, you’ll need to shade it from the excessive sunlight. Fortunately, this is usually fairly simple. You can just put up a net curtain or thin piece of fabric to block out the majority of the sun’s rays and intensity – but not all the light, or you’ll have the opposite problem.
Shielding your Philodendron painted lady should be all you need to do to cure leaf burn. Once you have dealt with the issue, cut damaged leaves off using sterile scissors, as the leaves will be vulnerable to diseases and pests. Removing them encourages the plant to focus on growing new foliage.