philodendron pedatum

Introduction

Have you ever considered getting a Philodendron pedatum? They are very impressive rainforest plants that are loved by many people, and they have the additional advantages of being easy to look after and needing minimal amounts of care. They are large plants, however, and they like to climb, so be aware of this before purchasing one.

This plant does not like cold temperatures, so you must grow it indoors if you live in a cool climate. With good soil and plenty of water, the plant should grow well, and it is known for being hardy. They are great plants for beginners, as long as you have sufficient space for them to grow.

Indoor vs Outdoor Growing

A Philodendron pedatum should not be grown outdoors unless you live in a very warm climate. If temperatures drop below 50 degrees F, the plant will die, so most people will need to grow these jungle plants inside their homes, rather than outdoors.

The plants also struggle when grown in direct sunlight, which is another good reason to grow them inside. Putting your plant in a well-lit room with no direct light on the leaves should keep it happy. As a rainforest climber, it is used to growing beneath a canopy of leaves, and therefore it cannot cope if it is kept in direct light.

The leaves will burn and may shrivel, so if you have it too close to a window, it is a good idea to put up a sheer curtain or some other form of shade to filter the sunlight and decrease the intensity.

Your plant will appreciate being in a warm room, but you should not put it near a radiator or an air conditioner, or it may wilt. Sudden temperature fluctuations are not good for it.

Best Location For Your Philodendron Pedatum

Philodendron pedatums are very large plants, so it’s important to think about where you are going to position your plant. Upward space is important, because this plant can climb up to three meters. Not all will get this big, so you don’t necessarily need a full three meters of height to grow one, but it’s important to think about how much height is available.

You should also give the plant enough room to spread out sideways. Allow a few feet in each direction so that its big leaves can spread widely. Cramping them into a corner won’t look good, and may also make your plant more vulnerable to mold, because the air cannot circulate properly.

Remember to choose a room with bright but indirect light. Your living room may be a good option. Do not put your Philodendron pedatum on a windowsill in direct sun; it will run out of space and its leaves will burn.

A good balance is important, and dappled light is best for these plants. If you cannot get enough sunlight, look for a spot where you can put a grow light to help boost your plant’s growth.

The plants do well in bathrooms, too, because they enjoy the steam created by showers and baths. However, you can grow them in other rooms and they will be fine.

Soil For A Philodendron Pedatum

This plant is particularly picky about not having what is sometimes called “wet feet.” That means it likes really good drainage. However, as a rainforest plant, it also likes plenty of water available almost all of the time. You therefore need to think carefully about the drainage situation and how you can provide this to your plant.

A lot of people find that that mixing perlite and a few handfuls of sphagnum moss works well. You can also use coconut fiber, which is porous and does not cling on to water. Traditional compost holds onto too much water, and can cause root rot.

If you really want to include some potting compost for nutrients, you can do so, but you should only use a bit. Make sure that you adjust your watering schedule accordingly so that your plant isn’t getting too much water.

Rotted leaves are a good alternative way of increasing the nutrients that are available to your plant, although these will get used up over time, and therefore need to be replaced. Philodendron pedatum plants like nutrient-rich soil as they are heavy feeders. If you don’t have either rotted leaves or potting compost, you will have to add more fertilizer to ensure the plant has everything it needs.

When potting your Philodendron pedatum, it’s a good idea to keep the potting medium nice and loose. These plants like to have lots of oxygen around the roots, so don’t pack the medium down or squash it around the roots.

Watering Your Philodendron Pedatum

We have already mentioned that the Philodendron pedatum dislikes wet conditions, and if you over-water it, it is very vulnerable to root rot. This is true of both young and established plants. An established plant has more roots and so may be more likely to survive root rot, but both can easily be killed by it.

Let your plant guide you on when it needs water. Don’t set a date in your diary for watering it, but instead, check what conditions it is growing in. You can do this by pushing your finger into the growing medium to about one inch down. If the medium is still wet, the plant does not need anything to drink yet.

When in doubt, it is better to wait. A Philodendron pedatum prefers to be too dry, rather than too wet. It will last reasonably well even if you don’t water it for quite some time.

This is particularly true if you have used sphagnum moss in your plant’s pot. The moss is surprisingly good at holding on to water, and it will keep your plant damp for a long time, even if the rest of the growing medium has dried out.

You should work out approximately how often your plant needs watering during the different seasons so that you know how often to check on it. Many people find that they need to water their plants about once a week in the summer, but only once every two weeks when the weather turns wintry. Wet air will stop the growing medium from drying out.

Humidity For Your Philodendron Pedatum

As rainforest plants, Philodendron pedatum plants like humidity. If the levels fall below fifty or sixty percent, you may find that the leaves start to curl up and shrivel. Keeping your plant misted is a good idea, especially if your home is dry.

If you do not mist your Philodendron pedatum, you will probably find that it starts to show this in curling and brown foliage. The ends of the leaves may turn crispy, and the plant might look thirsty, even if you have recently watered it.

You should keep an eye out for this in the summer, but you might be surprised to learn that it is often more of an issue during the winter. If you have your central heating on during the cold months, your home will end up drier. Misting in the winter is therefore particularly important.

You can get a plant mister to help your Philodendron pedatum out. Simply spray the leaves or the surface of the plant’s soil every few days, early in the morning. The mist will rise and gently humidify the leaves, keeping them fresh and springy.

If you prefer a low-maintenance method, a humidifier could be the best solution. It can just be plugged in beside the plant, and it will emit little puffs of humidity while it is switched on. Remember to turn it off occasionally so that your plant doesn’t get too wet. Pests and fungal infections can be issues if your plant is kept wet.

Another good option is to make a DIY humidifier tray. For this, you will need a tray that has no holes in the bottom, and a bag of marbles. You can also use pebbles if you prefer.

Tip the marbles into the tray, and then fill the tray to just below the top of the marbles. Place the Philodendron pedatum’s pot on top of the marbles, and check that the bottom of the pot is above the level of the water. If you have added too much water, tip a bit out.

The water will then start to evaporate. As it does so, it will rise up, misting the plant’s leaves lightly. Again, make sure that you do not leave your plant on this DIY humidifier for too long. Lift it off and allow it to dry out around midday, or earlier if your environment is not warm or dry.

Fertilizing Your Philodendron Pedatum

The Philodendron pedatum is a hungry plant, and you should feed it with this in mind. It is best to feed it once every month when it is growing. This will be during the spring and summer months.

How do you know if your plant needs fertilizing? Well, you can fertilize it on a schedule, but you can also just look out for limp and tired leaves. If the foliage is yellowing, floppy, or very slow to grow, your plant has probably run out of nutrients. It needs lots of food to produce good, healthy growth.

Nitrogen is important for leaf growth, but it’s best to select a balanced fertilizer to ensure that your plant is getting all its required macro and micronutrients. You should dilute the fertilizer it to reduce the risk of it burning the plant’s roots.

You should aim to pour the fertilizer in a ring around the plant, rather than close to the stems or the leaves. Before you fertilize the plant, water it well. This will help to further dilute the fertilizer and keep the plant healthy.

If you want to be really cautious, you can add some more water once you have poured on the fertilizer, and this should ensure there is no risk of the roots getting burnt. In the winter, there is no need to fertilize your plant, because it will not be growing.

When winter comes and temperatures start to drop, you need to stop fertilizing your plant. At this point, the plant’s focus is not on growth. It will not use up the nutrients that you are adding to the soil, and therefore the nutrients will build up and burn the roots.

Only start fertilizing when your plant resumes its growth the following year, as the temperatures start to climb.

Toxicity

You need to be very careful with a Philodendron pedatum plant, because it is poisonous to both pets and people. It contains calcium oxalate crystals, which are very harmful if you eat them, and can cause vomiting and extreme internal irritation.

The plant also has crystal raphides, which are again toxic and dangerous to consume.

If you have a young child, you should grow the Philodendron pedatum in a room that they do not use.

It is very tricky to keep a Philodendron pedatum out of reach of children, because it is so big and takes up so much space. If you are not able to put your Philodendron out of the way and you are concerned about your children or your pets, you should consider rehoming it, rather than risking an accident.

You may also be able to teach your child or your pet not to go near your plant. If you can trust them, this is a possible solution, but you must make absolutely sure that they will not touch or eat the plant.

In the event of an accidental ingestion, seek medical advice very promptly, whether or not symptoms are showing.

Propagation

Like many of the climbing plants, Philodendron pedatum plants are surprisingly easy to propagate. If you love your plant, it’s a great idea to take cuttings. You can give them away as Christmas gifts, or even sell them.

Always use sterile equipment when you need to cut your plant. You should use sharp scissors or pruning shears to ensure you make a clean cut. You can boil the blades or rub them with alcohol to sterilize them.

Next, assess your plant, and find some of its healthy stems. You want one that has about four leaves on it, and it should be very green and healthy. When you have identified a good stem, run your fingers along it to about six inches down. This is where you should cut.

Get some sphagnum moss and perlite (or whichever potting medium you prefer), and fill a new container. You want to bury the top two inches of the cutting. Remember to leave the growing medium reasonably loose around it.

Gently water, and then get a plastic bag and cover the whole container and cutting. This will trap moisture in the pot. Find a warm, bright place for it, but do not put it in direct sunlight.

Over the next few weeks, check on it regularly and water it when the soil dries out. Don’t make it very wet, or it will turn moldy and you will lose the cutting.

When it has been planted for a month, lightly pull on it. If it has rooted, it will not pull out of the soil, but do be careful that you don’t tear up its tender new roots.

Allow it another two weeks, waiting for shoots to develop from the sides of the stem. When these start, you can take the bag away.

You can repot your Philodendron pedatum as soon as it is ready for more space, but don’t rush to do so.

Some people prefer air layering. You will not cut the new plant away from the stem until it has thoroughly rooted with this method. Instead, you’ll need some sphagnum moss in a container, and a small peg.

You should use the peg to hold the stem in the sphagnum moss. Make sure that all the leaves are free. Gently water the moss, and give it a spray from time to time. Being covered up and dampened should prompt the stem to start developing roots, and after a while, it should be strong enough to support itself.

Use clean, sharp shears and cut it off the main plant, and then pot it into its own container.

Repotting

Philodendron pedatums don’t mind being a little cramped, so they don’t have to be repotted too frequently. If you’re wondering whether your plant needs to be repotted, pick it up and peek at the underside of the container. If you can see little roots coming out of the drainage holes, the plant is ready for a larger pot.

You might also notice the plant needs repotting if it seems to need watering all the time. If the whole pot is full of roots, it can’t be full of water and growing medium. The water will rush past the roots and mostly flow out of the bottom of the pot. This is a clear indication that the plant needs a larger container.

To repot your Philodendron pedatum, select a pot that is a few inches larger than the previous container. This needs to have good drainage holes, and you should start by adding a layer of gravel to the bottom.

Mix a similar blend of perlite and sphagnum moss (or whatever you have used), and then plant the Philodendron pedatum into its new pot. Don’t press the growing medium down around it, but leave it with space to breathe.

You should lightly water the plant and then place it somewhere reasonably light, but with no direct sun. Plants are often delicate when they have just been repotted, and you might see it shed a few leaves, so make the environment as stress-free as possible.

If possible, try and repot your plant in the early spring. You don’t want to interrupt its growing season if possible, or you may lose growth. You also don’t want to wake your plant up from its dormancy period if avoidable.

F.A.Q.

If you want to know more about Philodendron pedatum, here are a few things people often wonder about these plants.

Why Are The Leaves Falling Off My Plant?

If you notice your plant is shedding a lot of leaves, it may be because you have over-watered it. Plants that get too much water will show their first signs of unhappiness by shedding foliage. You might also notice that leaves turn very yellow, although you should bear in mind that old foliage can turn yellow naturally.

If you find that your plant just isn’t drying out as you would expect, try changing the potting medium to include more drainage material. Increase the ratio of perlite and add some coconut coir, and check that the holes in the bottom of your plant’s container are not blocked.

A few lost leaves should not be worrying, but when your plant starts dropping significant amounts of leaves, there is a problem that needs to be looked at, or you may find that your plant dies.

What Pests Am I Likely To See?

You may see pests on your plant’s leaves from time to time, although on the whole, these plants are fairly pest-resistant.

Spider mites are among the commonest pests that do bother this plant. You can spot these by looking for the thin, white threads of web that they leave behind, as the insects themselves tend to be tiny.

Mealybugs might also prove an issue at times, and with these, you will see sticky patches of sap, and little white balls that look slightly like miniature cotton balls clinging to the undersides of the plant’s leaves.

Scale insects are another problem that can be hard to detect. These are small, oval insects that often just look like leaf blemishes. They will drink your plant’s sap and they can be hard to get rid of. You need to wipe the leaves with vodka or manually remove these pests.

You may also see whitefly on the leaves sometimes, and these can be got rid of by spraying the plant with soapy water. Wash the soap off afterward.

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