Philodendron Pedatum Care Guide

Introduction

Philodendron plants are popular houseplants for a number of reasons. They are beautiful, hardy, and highly impressive climbers that can fill a room with rich, luxurious greenery. Their lovely leaves are perfect for adding a touch of nature to any room, and they are low maintenance and easy to care for as well.

The Philodendron pedatum is also called the Oak Leaf Philodendron because of the shape of its beautiful foliage.

The Philodendron pedatum needs a reasonable amount of indirect light, moist but not wet soil, a good regular feed, and little else! These plants are excellent at adapting and will put up with most conditions, even if they aren’t very favorable. Their hardiness is one of the reasons they are such popular houseplants.

Indoor vs Outdoor Growing

You can keep Philodendron pedatum plants outdoors in the summer if you choose to, but in winter, they must be brought indoors as they don’t cope with temperatures below 50° F. Wet soil will also make it harder for them to cope with cooler outdoor temperatures.

They don’t want to be in direct sunlight, as temperatures above 85° F will cause the plant to grow more slowly. These plants prefer warm conditions, but not too hot, so they are best grown indoors unless your outdoor temperatures are commonly between 85 and 50.

Indoors, you should be able to keep your Philodendron pedatum at a warm and stable enough temperature to ensure steady growth. You can prevent it from getting too hot or too cold and enjoy its bright green leaves.

Best Location For Your Philodendron Pedatum

These plants can grow to three meters tall, so it’s really important that you think about this when choosing a spot for your Philodendron pedatum. It may not get that big, but it is a large plant and needs plenty of space to grow in. You should put it somewhere that it can fill out so you can make the most of its lush foliage.

The plant also doesn’t like an excessive amount of light. Bright but indirect sun is the best for them, and if you’re trying to get your plant to grow happily and healthily, this is what you need to provide.

Don’t let them wither in a dark corner, but don’t put them on a windowsill in the blazing hot sun either. Dappled shade or indirect but plentiful sunlight is best for these plants.

You can keep them in pretty much any room of the house provided the light is sufficient. They enjoy humidity but will tolerate dry conditions reasonably well, so you don’t need to worry about them being unhappy in a living room or kitchen.

Overall, because they are easy to grow, you can put your Philodendron pedatum anywhere in the house as long as it has enough light and warmth.

Soil For A Philodendron Pedatum

Philodendron pedatum plants like a good amount of richness in their soil, so choosing a nutrient-rich medium is a good idea. You also need to think about and prioritize good drainage. Philodendron pedatum plants don’t like to have wet feet at all, so choosing materials that hold moisture but don’t stay sodden is important.

Many people mix sphagnum moss and perlite for this plant, rather than using traditional compost, which is often too wet and heavy for a Philodendron pedatum to cope with. Coconut fiber is also a good option, and rotten leaves provide a boost of nutrients that will last as the leaves slowly break down.

You can use some potting compost, but be careful about wetness levels and take care not to over-water your plant.

Remember that Philodendron pedatum plants like loose soil, so you shouldn’t press the medium down over the roots or into the pot. If the potting medium does get too compacted, break it up with a garden fork or skewer, being careful not to damage your plant’s roots as you work.

This loose soil allows oxygen to get to the roots, which the Philodendron pedatum needs.

Watering Your Philodendron Pedatum

Like many plants, the Philodendron pedatum does not like being kept wet, which means you need to use the soil’s dampness for guidance on when to water, rather than following a strict watering routine. Your Philodendron pedatum plant doesn’t need to be watered once a week – it needs to be watered when it is thirsty.

Don’t just use the dryness of the surface soil to check this, either. You won’t get a good idea of how much moisture is still available to your plant.

Instead, push the tip of your finger into the soil for about an inch, and feel how damp it is. If the potting medium still feels wet, it isn’t time to water your plant yet. If it’s dry, give your Philodendron pedatum a drink.

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If you are unsure, wait a bit longer. These plants tolerate drought reasonably well, and seriously dislike being over-watered. They are likely to suffer from rotting roots and decay if you add too much water to their pots, so it’s always better to under-water them. The sphagnum moss will hold a surprising amount of water for a long time, keeping the plant’s thirst satiated.

You will find that you water much less in wet weather than dry, but as a very approximate rule of thumb, these plants will need water about once a week in the summer. In the winter, they will only need watering about once every two weeks, or slightly more frequently.

If you find that you have over-watered your Philodendron pedatum, place it in a warm spot and wait for the soil to dry out before you give it more water. If you are really worried, consider potting it in some new medium to help it dry out.

Humidity For Your Philodendron Pedatum

While Philodendron pedatum plants will grow in drier environments quite well, they are happiest at about sixty percent humidity, or even more. If you have tropical plants in your home, a hygrometer is a great addition that should help you determine when greater humidity levels are needed so you can boost them if necessary.

You may not want to add humidity to your Philodendron pedatum, and that’s fine provided the plant stays healthy. However, if your plant starts to look dry or its leaves turn brown and curl, consider a quick misting to help refresh it and restore the foliage to its beautiful green.

Humidity is important when the weather is dry, and you might be surprised to learn that our houses tend to be at their driest in winter, when outside temperatures are low and our central heating is drying the air inside the home.

This is when you might decide to add a little humidity to keep your Philodendron pedatum looking fresh and green. You can do this simply by purchasing a humidifier, plugging it in by your plant, and turning it on from time to time.

Don’t leave it on all the time, as your plant needs to dry out occasionally or it may start to rot. A wet plant is vulnerable to mold and pests.

If you don’t want to buy a humidifier, just get hold of a spray bottle and lightly mist the foliage or the surface of the plant’s soil so that the air around the leaves is moist, replicating the tropical environment that this plant comes from.

Alternatively, you can make a humidifier at home. You should purchase a shallow tray, fill it with pebbles, and then pour a small amount of water into the tray. Make sure the level of the water isn’t higher than the surface of the pebbles, and that the tray has no holes in it.

You can then stand your Philodendron pedatum or any other plants that like humidity on the pebbles, and as the water slowly evaporates, it will humidify the plant and keep its foliage fresh.

You should only humidify early on in the day. As the day passes, turn off your humidifier or remove the tray, as wet leaves overnight aren’t good for your plant and leave it vulnerable to pests and mold. If your plant’s leaves are still wet by evening, you may wish to pat them dry with an absorbent cloth to reduce the chance of problems occurring.

As mentioned, you may not ever need to humidify your Philodendron pedatum, but if you notice its leaves are drying out or it isn’t looking as glossy and happy as normal, consider a quick mist to help boost it.

Fertilizing Your Philodendron Pedatum

You can use a common houseplant fertilizer on your Philodendron pedatum, and these plants like a lot of food. They are hungry, and will grow much better if you feed them regularly throughout their growing season (which is usually the warm season wherever you are, spring and summer).

You should aim to feed your plant about once a month with diluted fertilizer. Before adding the fertilizer to the soil, water your plant well, as this will ensure no fertilizer directly hits the roots – where it could burn them.

Add the fertilizer and a little more water, and you’re done! Your plant has plenty of nutrients it can tap into, and this should help to ensure good growth throughout the summer months. If you notice your plant isn’t growing much and its leaves look limp and anemic, it probably wants some food.

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If your plant is growing in low light conditions, it will need less fertilizer than one growing in bright light. This is because the plant will be growing more slowly, and therefore won’t need as much food. Reduce the amount of fertilizer a bit, and fertilize less frequently.

You don’t need to – and indeed shouldn’t – fertilize your Philodendron pedatum in the winter months. Stop fertilizing it when the weather turns cold, as the Philodendron pedatum will then be focusing on conserving its energy, not new growth.

It won’t be using the food you’re adding to the soil, and this could result in a buildup of nutrients that might burn the plant’s roots. Avoid this by only fertilizing when the weather is warm and the plant is growing.

Toxicity

Philodendron pedatum plants are unfortunately toxic. This makes them less suitable for growing in a home with pets or young children. It can be hard to keep them completely out of reach, since they are large plants, so you need to put your plant in a room that your child or pet doesn’t go in much, and try to keep them away from it.

Discourage your child from touching or pulling on the foliage, and train your pet not to go near it. The leaves contain calcium oxalate crystals and crystal raphides, both of which are poisonous and could do serious harm if ingested.

If you think your child or pet has eaten any part of this plant, remove them from its vicinity and immediately seek medical advice from a doctor or vet. Ingestion can cause oral irritation, drooling, vomiting, loss of appetite, nausea, and even occasionally swollen airways that make breathing difficult.

Do not wait, but seek advice fast.

Propagation

With any of these magnificent plants, there are obvious reasons to want to propagate, either to pass on to friends/family, or so that you have more of them to enjoy! Cuttings are easy to take in spring or summer, and have a high success rate, so there’s no reason not to try this if you love your Philodendron pedatum plant.

To take a cutting, you need to first sterilize your equipment so you don’t accidentally introduce an infection to either your established plant or your cutting. You will need a pair of sharp scissors or secateurs.

Select a healthy stem with three or four leaves, and cut it about five or six inches long. Prepare a container with some sphagnum moss and well-draining potting mixture, and then plant the cutting a couple of inches deep and lightly moisten the soil.

Cover with a plastic bag to trap moisture and increase the humidity, and then place the container in a warm place with bright, indirect light. You should check it frequently, moistening the soil if necessary (but don’t make it wet). After about four weeks, give it a very light tug to see if roots are developing; it will resist your pull if they are.

Wait another couple of weeks for the roots to develop further, and keep an eye out for shoots. Remove the bag once they appear.

There is no reason to repot your Philodendron pedatum yet, so keep it in the container while the plant establishes itself, and only repot it once it has outgrown the space it is in.

You can follow the same method but use a jar of water for propagation instead if you prefer. Make sure that you remove any leaves of your cutting that will be submerged in the water, and then follow the above steps. Change the water every few days to ensure the plant has enough oxygen and the water doesn’t turn stagnant.

When roots have got established at about five or six weeks, transfer the plant to some fresh potting medium and keep it lightly watered. You now have a new Philodendron pedatum.

You can also propagate this plant by gathering, drying, and then planting and watering its seeds, but this tends to be a slower method. Taking a cutting that already has established leaves is usually quicker, and as this is a slow growing plant, this tends to be the better option.

Air layering is a third choice for propagation. To do this, choose a healthy stem, and bury it in sphagnum moss (without covering its leaves). You may need to use a small peg, stone, or weight to keep the stem in the growing medium. Lightly moisten, and keep moistening from time to time. Under the moss, roots should be developing.

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After about five or six weeks, gently tug the stem. If roots have developed, it will be attached to the sphagnum moss. You can now sever its connection with the main plant and move it to a new pot as a brand new plant. This method is often the quickest, because the cutting is still drawing energy from the main plant while it establishes new roots.

Repotting

Don’t repot your Philodendron pedatum until it is outgrowing its current container. It doesn’t need to be repotted regularly, so there’s no reason to do this unless it’s getting root bound.

This will be clear: if roots are coming out of the drainage holes at the bottom of its current container, it needs repotting.

A need for constant watering is also a sign that the plant is getting too big for its pot; the roots are taking up all the space, rather than the growing medium that holds onto water. If either of these things happens, it’s time to repot your plant.

When the time comes, choose a container that’s a little bigger than its current one, with good drainage holes.

You should aim to repot the plant in early spring, before it has really started growing for the season. While you can repot it at other times of year, the transplant shock could disrupt its main growing season, or wake it from dormancy too early. Neither of these is particularly good for the plant, so they’re best avoided if possible.

To repot it, prepare the new container with a similar growing mix to the one you already have, and plenty of drainage material. Next, lift the Philodendron pedatum out of its pot. Brush or shake off excess soil from its root ball and replant it in the new pot.

You will not need to fertilize your plant for a few weeks at least after repotting it; there should be plenty of nutrients in the new medium. Put your plant somewhere away from the sun and water it lightly while it settles into its new home. It may suffer from transplant shock and lose a few leaves, but should otherwise be okay.

F.A.Q.

Here are answers to a few questions you may have about your Philodendron pedatum plant, and solutions to common problems.

What Pests Am I Likely To See?

Although these plants are hardy, they aren’t invulnerable to pests, so you should keep an eye out for signs that your plant is being eaten by little insects. The most obvious sign is usually sticky residue on the leaves. This is honeydew, which is excreted by several kinds of insects that drink the plant’s sap.

Common pests you may see on your Philodendron pedatum include spider mites, mealybugs, scale insects, and thrips. All of these will make your plant sick if they are allowed to eat it, so you need to isolate the infected plant(s) and treat them.

Treatment can be done using neem oil, or water and a mild detergent. You need to wipe these solutions on the plant’s leaves, both the undersides and the tops, and along the stems. Many of the insects like to hide themselves in crevices, so repeat treatments may be necessary. Don’t put your plant near others until you know the problem has been solved.

You can treat scale insects by dabbing them with neat vodka; this is one of the best ways to kill off these difficult bugs.

Why Might My Plant Have Brown Leaves?

Brown leaves can be a sign of potassium deficiency, so if you notice them, make sure you give your plant a good feed with a potassium rich fertilizer. If you have recently fertilized your plant, however, it’s possible that brown leaves are a sign of over-watering or under-watering.

Check how dry the soil is and give your plant a drink and a mist if it is dry. If the soil is too wet, make sure you stop watering for a while and cut back on your overall watering routine; too much to drink will rot this plant’s roots.

Over-watering will commonly be accompanied by blackened stems and mushiness, so look out for these signs. Be as careful as you can not to over-water; this is far more damaging than letting the plant get a little too dry.