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Philodendron vines hanging

How to care for a Philodendron

Philodendrons are beautiful plants that grow vines with heart-shaped leaves. It's a strikingly beautiful plant that stands out in any room of your house. In this guide, we'll go over how you can take care of a Philodendron plant yourself and help it to grow and thrive. They're quite easy-going and quick-growing plants, which make them perfect for beginning plant owners.

In this guide, we'll go over these topics:

  1. Light exposure for a Philodendron
  2. Quick growers
  3. Watering a Philodendron
  4. Fertilizing a Philodendron
  5. Soil for a Philodendron
  6. Poisonous
  7. Common misconceptions about Philodendrons
  8. Teaching your Philodendron to grow

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Light exposure for a Philodendron

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Philodendron vines

Your philodendron is quite a versatile plant because it can thrive in varying light levels. However, the perfect light for the philodendron should resemble the light exposure it gets in nature: bright and indirect sunlight. As the Philodendron has vines and likes to climb, it grows on tree trunks, in shaded areas. In nature, it rarely gets direct sunlight, so this is something you should avoid for your houseplant as well.

Yellow leaves on your philodendron

When your philodendron is getting many yellow leaves at once, it might be getting too much sunlight. If it's just 1 or 2 leaves, you have nothing to worry about. Old leaves on a Philodendron turn yellow, so this is a natural process.

Too little light exposure

When your philodendron gets too little light, its aerial roots or vines will stretch and there will be a lot of space between individual leaves. It does this to reach for the light like a succulent would when it's not getting enough of it. So when you see this happening, it's time to find a brighter spot for your philodendron. Once your plant starts to slow its aerial root growth and the leaves are growing closer together, it's getting the proper amount of light. You can always use a grow light to supplement the light in dark areas of your house.

Quick growers

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New philodendron leaf

Philodendron plants are very quick growing plants. Its vines can grow up to 10 cm per week if it's in the growing season. While growing its vines, it'll also start to grow leaves and aerial roots along with those vines. If you don't control this growth it'll be all around your living space in a very short time. When it gets too large, you can propagate the vines and grow more philodendrons.

To promote new growth on a philodendron, it's always a good idea to trim the vines and propagate those, only to then grow it with the parent plant again. This will grow new, string vines and will give you a fuller plant over time.

Watering a Philodendron

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Watering your philodendron is quite simple, let the top of the soil dry out between waterings. However, don't let more of it dry out as philodendrons grow quite quickly. When they're growing quickly, they like to absorb a lot of moisture. Make sure you're using a pot with drainage holes, to make sure the soil isn't wet and any excess water can escape from the bottom of the pot. This will keep your plant happy.

Drooping leaves

When your philodendron starts to droop, it usually indicates a watering issue. It could mean that your plant is getting too much water or not enough. It's easy to discover which one it is because if the soil is dry, the plant needs more water and if it's wet you need to let it dry out. The leaves will go back to normal when you've correct the watering issue.

Fertilizing a Philodendron

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As Philodendrons are fast-growing plants, they require regular fertilizing. They'll need all the energy they can get to keep growing as quickly as possible. When you see your plant starts to grow more slowly, this could mean that it burned through all the fertilizer and it's time to provide it with some more. During the growing season, spring and winter, it's best to fertilize the philodendron once per month and during the dormancy period, autumn (fall) and winter, you can scale this back to once per 6 to 8 weeks.

Soil for a Philodendron

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Philodendrons are quite thirsty plants, but also can't sit in wet soil for too long. So it's good to get a soil that retains water for a longer time but doesn't actually stay wet or compacts when it's wet for a long period. A palm soil mix is a great choice for a philodendron. It can retain water well, but doesn't compact, which allows oxygen to get to the roots at all times.


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Unfortunately, philodendrons could be quite harmful to your cats and dogs. When your cat or dog chews on philodendrons, it could cause hypersalivation, abdominal pain, vomiting, swelling of the pharynx, and difficulty swallowing. When you notice any of these symptoms after your pet has chewed on a philodendron, you should contact your vet to help your pet. To avoid this situation altogether, put your plant in a place where your pets can't reach the plant and be sure to trim your plant in time.

Common misconceptions about Philodendrons

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Philodendron leaf

There are a few misconceptions about the identity of philodendrons that we'll address here:

  1. A philodendron is not a Monstera
  2. A philodendron is not a Pothos

Like a Monstera and a Pothos, a philodendron grows vines and aerial roots. Each of these plants grows on other plants in nature, but they are different species of plants. You can tell them apart by looking at their leaves. Monsteras have large leaves, often with holes in them, Pothos plants have oval-shaped leaves, and Philodendrons have heart-shaped leaves. Their care is very similar, so if you can't tell the difference, you can use this guide to care for your plant, whichever one it is.

Teaching your Philodendron to grow

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Philodendron growing on a Moss pole

Even though a Philodendron, a Pothos, and a Monstera are different plants, you can still use a moss pole to teach any of these plants how and where to grow towards. Normally, your Philodendron will grow out, and then down, like real vines. When you use a moss pole, you can give your Philodendron a little extra support and also grow up. Using a moss pole is optional and is up to you if you want this or not.

If you like the vines and want to let them hang, a hanging pot might also be a great solution for this plant. As these plants grow quite quickly, you might have to prune the vines and plant them back in the soil. This way you get a fuller plant, while still being able to admire the vines as well.


If you want a plant that makes you feel like you're in a jungle, but you don't want to spend too much time taking care of that plant, the Philodendron is the right plant for you. A Philodendron is a quick growing plant, so you won't have to wait for months for it to grow larger. In a matter of weeks it can be 2 or 3 times the size it was when you first got it. It's a great plant if you have a spot that doesn't get direct sunlight, but is also not too dark. It's a great hanging plant with it's vines, but you an also teach it to grow on moss poles. It truly is a versatile plant and can make any space look a little more like a jungle.

Thank you for reading this post! I hope it helps you to keep your plants healthy and beautiful! If you're looking for more guides on specific plants, you can always request a plant guide or donate a plant in order to get a guide for the plant you have trouble with.

Tags: moss pole, beginner-friendly

Posted on: Aug 1, 2020 Last updated on: May 30, 2021

Other common names for this plant

  • Fiddleleaf philodendron
  • Fiddle leaf
  • Horsehead philodendron
  • Heartleaf
  • Heart leaf vine
  • Giant philodendron
  • Tree philodendron

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