The Philodendron atabapoense is one of the plants with the most unique appearances. It is particularly appealing to artistic souls, due to the heart shape of its leaves?
To keep enjoying the glow that this plant brings to your home, this article will give you insight into how to provide proper care to your plant.
- Philodendron Atabapoense Overview
- Philodendron Atabapoense Care
Philodendron Atabapoense Overview
Philodendron atabapoense—which belongs to the Araceae family—is a gorgeous climbing plant. This plant is native to the Amazonian side of Brazil and the southern part of Venezuela.
The Philodendron atabapoense leaves are heart-shaped, with an upper side that is dark green and glossy. The underside, instead, is reddish and a bit dull. Upon maturing, the leaves of Philodendron atabapoense can grow as long as 30 inches, with a width that does not exceed 5 inches when in its wild habitats.
In the home environment, the leaves of your plant are unlikely to exceed 2.5 feet. Its elongated, sleek appearance is what gives Philodendron atabapoense its uniqueness among other plants.
The Philodendron atabapoense flowers beautifully when it is in its natural habitat. When it grows indoors, it is rare to see its flowers. The flower is anchored by the spadix, which is covered by a leaf-like spathe. At a glance, you would assume that the flowers of the Philodendron atabapoense are huge. However, the actual flowers are the ones on the spadix, and they are quite small. The rest is just a modified leaf.
Philodendron Atabapoense Growth
The Philodendron atabapoense has the potential to grow very tall when it is in its natural wild environment. It can even exceed 20 inches. However, when grown indoors, the plant rarely exceeds seven or nine inches. This is because the growth of this plant highly depends on factors such as the available space.
Philodendron Atabapoense Care
– Light Requirements
The Philodendron atabapoense requires low to medium indirect light. This plant can even thrive well under grow lights, although natural light is always the best solution. For the best growth, we recommend that you grow your philodendron atabapoense under filtered light. Avoid direct sunlight, as this will damage the leaves of your plant.
Indoors, 70 to 85 percent light is conducive for the growth of your plant. When you place it outside, consider protecting your plant with a 40 to 70 percent shade cloth.
– Water Requirements
Due to its tropical nature, Philodendron atabapoense requires moist soil for growing strong. When you water this plant, do so thoroughly until the water starts to come out through the drainage holes of its pot. However, only water your Philodendron atabapoense when the top 2 inches of its soil appear slightly dry. Use your hand to check the moisture content of the topsoil.
The pattern for watering Philodendron atabapoense should differ with changing seasons. During the warm seasons, your plant will get thirsty more frequently. Therefore, you should water more often.
On average, you can water your Philodendron atabapoense about three times a week during the warm seasons. In winter, Philodendron atabapoense is dormant and so its water needs are reduced. About one watering every two weeks will be enough.
Like any other Philodendron, Philodendron atabapoense is susceptible to root rot if you overwater the plant. Overwatering your plant also attracts fungal infections. If the leaves of your plant appear droopy, it might be a sign that you have been giving your plant more water than it needs. Sometimes, the same symptom will appear if the plant is not getting enough water.
– Temperature Requirements
Your Philodendron atabapoense will grow well under temperature ranges between 65 °F and 85 °F. This plant does not tolerate temperatures that are lower than 55 °F.
In cold seasons, place your plant in the warmest spot available, as it does not tolerate freezing or frost conditions.
We advise that you avoid placing your plant where it is exposed to cold drafts or heaters. Philodendron atabapoense is sensitive to extreme temperatures, which might ultimately kill it.
– Humidity Requirements
Philodendron atabapoense thrives in environments with high levels of humidity, although it can also tolerate lower humidity levels. Ideally, maintain humidity levels of at least 65 percent or even higher. When you provide your plant with a highly humid environment, its leaves will appear lush and healthy.
The air around your plant is drier during the winter, which is the reason why you need to increase humidity around your Philodendron atabapoense during such seasons. To do this, you can mist your plant.
Make sure not to overdo the misting because if the foliage of your plant remains wet for too long, it becomes vulnerable to leaf rot and other fungal attacks. Placing your plant in a well-ventilated space helps to quickly remove water from the leaves of your Philodendron atabapoense after misting.
You can make a pebble water tray by placing some clean pebbles in a shallow tray and then filling it with water. Place the pot of your plant on the pebble tray, making sure that the water does not come into direct contact with the soil in the pot. This is one of the best methods for creating a humid environment around your plant. You can also use a humidifier to increase the humidity levels around your plant.
– Soil Requirements
Provide your plant with nutrient-rich soil as the ideal growth medium. Make sure the soil is also well-draining and only slightly moisture-retaining. For potted plants, we recommend using a potting mixture, rather than actual soil. Potting mixtures are less likely to contain insects and other disease-causing organisms than natural soil.
The best potting mix for your Philodendron atabapoense consists of good potting soil, perlite, pear moss, organic matter, and orchid potting medium. Adding orchid bark and perlite to your potting mixture enhances drainage and aeration. This promotes good root growth, which results in better growth for the whole plant.
Philodendron atabapoense thrives well in pH that ranges from neutral to slightly acidic, ideally between 6.1 and 7.3.
– Fertilizer Requirements
Adding some fertilizer to your plant will see it growing more vigorously, on the condition that it is measured properly. You can add moderate amounts of slow-release fertilizer not more than twice a month during the plant’s growing season. If you add too much fertilizer, you risk burning the foliage of your Philodendron atabapoense.
If your choice of fertilizer is synthetic 20-20-20, apply it after every two weeks. If you aim to increase the foliage of your Philodendron atabapoense, use 20-10-20 and dilute according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. You can also consider using a nitrogen-based fertilizer like 2-1-1.
You will need to constantly prune your plant to remove old leaves and make room for fresh ones. If the leaves of your plant are damaged, you can also take them out using well-disinfected pruning shears to avoid microbial infections. Pruning improves the outlook of your plant. However, excessive pruning can shock your plant and slow down its growth.
You should replace the soil for your plant every year in spring, even when you are not repotting it. However, you should repot your Philodendron atabapoense every two to three years. After such a time, the soil for your plant will be too compact, thus losing its ability to drain water and let air pass circulate. Repotting is the way to go for recreating an environment that is conducive to growth.
Repotting Philodendron Atabapoense is necessary if your plant is has become root-bound. When the Philodendron atabapoense becomes root-bound, its growth becomes stunted.
Multiplying your Philodendron atabapoense is relatively easy. Some of the methods that are used for propagating Philodendron atabapoense are leaf or stem cuttings and air layering. You can also use Philodendron atabapoense seeds for propagation.
Growing your plant from its seeds is time-consuming, so this method is rare among hobbyists. Most professional plant caretakers prefer using air layering. You should propagate your plant in the middle of summer.
– Using Stem Cuttings
Select a few healthy stems and cut them off the mother plant using a knife disinfected using 70 percent alcohol. Make sure the stems have leaves attached to them. Dip the end of the stem into a growth hormone, if you have it.
Prepare your pot with a well-draining and well-aerated soil or potting mixture. Water it thoroughly and allow it to drain well. Now, plant your cuttings in the pot and find a spot with indirect sunlight. Always add water as soon as you notice that the topsoil is relatively dry to keep the soil moist.
It will take an average of one month for the baby shoots to start developing. If you apply all the appropriate care measures, the shoots will develop into a gorgeous Philodendron atabapoense within the next four months. Make sure to wear gloves as you handle your plant and cuttings to avoid infections.
– Using Air Layering
Air layering allows you to propagate a new plant directly on the parent plant. Make sure the plant that you are using for air layering is healthy and free from diseases and pests. Clean your hands and all of the equipment. Begin by identifying the nodes on the parent plant. Nodes are the points on the plant where new growth occurs.
Wrap some moist moss on the node that you have chosen and use clingfilm to lightly hold the moss and the node together. Give the plant a spritz of water around the node that you are working with. This will create a humid microenvironment. Wait until roots begin to develop on the node.
Take note: This might take weeks or months. As you wait, you should constantly spray some water on the moss, just to make it damp, not wet. Excessive watering can cause rotting on the node area.
Monitor the process regularly and change the moss or add some as needed. When an established root system develops, you can cut just below the node so that you have a mini-plant with roots. Plant the newly rooted cutting in the pot that you prepared for it and maintain it as you would for the leaf cuttings.
While Philodendron atabapoense is not a problematic plant, it is not resistant to pests and diseases. Let’s discuss some of the problems that you should be on the lookout for as you take care of your plant.
Philodendron atabapoense is toxic to dogs, cats, and humans. This is due to the calcium oxalate crystals that are present in the sap of the plant. For this reason, you should place your Philodendron atabapoense out of the reach of children and pets.
– Pale New Leaves
If you notice that your Philodendron atabapoense’s new leaves are pale, know that this is a sign that some essential nutrients—like magnesium and calcium—are lacking in the plant’s food. You can revert the situation by supplementing these nutrients using a graded fertilizer.
– Yellowing Leaves
If your plant’s leaves are yellowing, revise your watering patterns, as yellow leaves are a sign of overwatering. If you were watering too frequently, adjust and ensure that the upper soil dries before your plant’s next drink. Also, make sure the pot for your plant has drainage holes. It is a good measure to avoid having your plant standing in water.
You might also need to change the potting soil itself. If it remains wet and soggy after at least seven days of watering, then that soil is not well-draining. Transfer your plant to a soil that drains better and see to it that the pot is not too big, either. A bigger pot is more likely to retain more moisture than a smaller one.
– Bleached and Brown Leaves
The leaves of your Philodendron atabapoense will appear bleached when they have been exposed to direct, bright sunlight. Continued exposure to the sun will then cause the leaves to turn brown and appear scorched.
Suddenly transferring your Philodendron atabapoense to a spot with brighter light can be the cause for the discrepancies in leaf color. Placing your plant in a brighter space is not a bad idea. You should increase the tolerance of your plant to sunlight first.
To do this, repeatedly expose your plant to brighter light and slightly increase the duration each time. These exposures are safer in the morning or toward the evening when the sun is not as bright as to scorch the leaves of your plant.
If you prefer to keep your plant indoors, find a spot that allows it to receive filtered light. Completely depriving your plant of sunlight is not a good idea.
Some mistakes in caring for the plant can make it susceptible to pests and diseases. The Philodendron atabapoense can be affected by pests like aphids, mealybugs, scale, and whiteflies.
Make it a habit to always check your plants for pests, especially in the relatively hidden regions such as the nodes and the underside of leaves. This helps you to identify pest attacks before they go out of hand.
Once you notice any pest attack, the first step that you should take is to isolate the affected plant from the others. Then, clean up the environment where it was so that you protect the other plants. You can then expose the affected plant to a stream of water to wash the pests off. Also, consider using 70 percent isopropyl alcohol to dab the pests off.
Insecticidal soap is one of the effective alternatives for eradicating pests, especially when the infestation is large. Neem oil is increasingly gaining attention in controlling pests that attack houseplants.
This oil, deriving from the seeds of the Neem tree, is natural and organic. This makes it safe to use in home environments. If you are controlling pests in an outside garden, consider introducing natural predators like ladybug beetles and green lacewings.
With all the care tips for Philodendron atabapoense at your fingertips, the next thing to do is to apply them to your new plant!
Before you go, let’s make a quick summary for your reference:
- Philodendron atabapoense is a climbing plant that belongs to the Araceae family. The ornamental uniqueness of this plant lies in its elongated, heart-shaped leaves.
- Philodendron atabapoense thrives well under medium, indirect light. Keep the soil moist but not wet, and humidity around 70 percent.
- Temperature ranges between 65 °F and 85 °F are conducive for the vigorous growth of Philodendron atabapoense.
- You can add fertilizers twice a month during the growing season.
- Pruning your plant is good for healthy growth and vigorous foliage.
- Repot your Philodendron atabapoense after two to three years.
- You can propagate your Philodendron atabapoense through seeds, air-layering, or stem-cuttings.
- Philodendron atabapoense’s sap is toxic to pets and humans.
- Some of the leaf issues that you should be ready to deal with are pale new leaves, yellowing leaves, and brown leaves.
- Be on the lookout for pests like aphids, mealybugs, scale, and whiteflies.
If you apply everything that you have learned from this article, you are headed for nothing less than being an expert in taking care of Philodendron atabapoense. All the best!