Philodendron Atom Care InfographicThe philodendron atom is a unique plant in the philodendron genus having gleaming and dark-green leaves.

Like other house plants, you need to grow this plant in the right temperature, humidity, and light exposure. Keep reading this article to learn the requirements and tips to grow this plant.

What Is the Philodendron Atom Plant? 

The philodendron atom is a plant that grows naturally in the rainforests of Brazil and Paraguay. The leaves have a dark-green color and look very shiny. As a new plant in the indoor plant market, this one is still rare and prized by many plant owners.

Philodendron Atom Care

Like every other philodendron species, this atom plant is easy to care for as long as you can feed them with the proper nutrients and grow them in their preferred environment. Here are the requirements and easy care guide for the plant:

– Soil Requirements

This plant may be beautiful, but it is not picky when you consider its preferred potting mix. Being sure that the substrate is rich with nutrients and well-drained, it is good to go. For optimum performance, however, you should mix one-part general indoor plant potting mix or topsoil and one-part peat moss. Furthermore, ensure that the potting mix or soil is humus-rich.

The substrate should be slightly alkaline for your philodendron atom plants as they grow best at that pH. If you will be growing them indoors, you should use lighter materials such as potting mix instead of soil for their substrate so that you can shift the pot with ease.

As for the pot, make sure that there are drainage holes present so that excess water and nutrients can discharge efficiently.  

– Water Requirements

The standard watering rate for your philodendrons is once or twice weekly in spring, twice in summer, and once or never in autumn and winter, which means if the humidity is high. When watering the plant, wait till the substrate is getting dry and then flood it with clean water. Make sure that excess water drains off the pot within two hours.

Overall, make sure that you do not wait until the substrate is dry thoroughly before you water your plant, as it can affect the growth rate and health of the plant. Also, keep in mind that you do not use cold water to water your plants so that you do not shock their roots.

– Light Requirements

Philodendron Atom PlantThe dark-green leaves of this plant help it to get a lot of energy from a little amount of sunlight. Getting a very negligible amount of the sun it must absorb means that you can grow the plant quickly in dim light.

Well, you should avoid direct sunlight for long when growing this plant because it will simply be like giving the plant more than what it can take and this can lead to sunburn.

You should grow the philodendron indoor plant in a shaded spot so that they are not exposed to the sun, especially in the afternoon. Make sure that this plant gets four to six hours of sunlight or at least eight hours of artificial light every day.

– Temperature Requirements

This is a warmth-loving plant that you should grow at 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. You want to make sure that your super atoms grow in their preferred environment without your effort. This means that you should not grow them in a controlled environment such as in the greenhouse.

Even if you can try to grow them by altering the temperature, you might mess with their flowering cycle as they rely on the seasons. In the summer, ensure that you grow your plants in an excellent spot so that they do not get sunburned. Nonetheless, you must note that temperature is a very important factor to consider when choosing the type of plant that you should grow.

– Humidity Requirements

Humidity is essential for your atoms just like every other plant. With the right humidity, your plants can easily absorb and make use of water from the substrate. The preferred humidity for this plant is 55 to 60 percent humidity. Your philodendrons will grow just fine if the moisture is above average.

In case you live in an arid zone, do not grow your plants without a humidifier or a spray bottle to mist water droplets. Even though the plants can thrive in below-average humidity, their leaves will not be as shiny and fresh as they would have been in a richly-humid place.

– Fertilizing Requirements

Ensure that you feed your plants every two to four weeks, significantly if you are growing them in a loose potting mix. For plants growing in nutrient-rich blend or soil, however, you can feed them once a month. Note that the color of your atom leaves is dark-green because of nitrogen, so you want to ensure that their fertilizer is rich in nitrogen.

You can use an all-purpose fertilizer for indoor plants to feed your philodendron super atoms, just make sure that you dilute it to half or quarter strength so that it does not burn your plant. Additionally, you can use organic amendments such as compost to enrich the plant substrate.

– Pruning Requirements

A very important way to care for the leaves is by pruning them, even though this plant is prized for its leaves, too many leaves on one plant can ruin the look. This means that you need to remove some leaves that are dull in color and even some that are dead so that the plant can stay beautiful.

Asides from pruning the leaves to maintain the size and shape of your plant, you also prune weak or dying leaves so that they do not take water and nutrients from the plant. After pruning your plant leaves, dispose of them and do not leave them on the substrate.

 

Propagation

As long as you have a mature atom plant, you can propagate it with its cutting that is at least six inches long. Here are two easy methods to propagate your plants:

– Propagating Through Cuttings With Soil

You need to get an extra potting mix for the cutting. After the cutting has been calloused, plant it in the potting mix so that at least two to three inches are buried.

Using a spray bottle, mist water directly on the root level of the cutting every day for 10 to 14 days. You want to make sure that you are growing the cutting in a place with suitable light and temperature.

The cutting shows signs of growth by producing a pair of leaves or two. If you see these signs, know that the cutting is developing roots and is alive. Continue watering it by misting for an extra week before you switch to the recommended way to water mature ones later.

– Propagating Your Atom Cuttings With Water

The propagation through cutting and inserting in water is a slightly complex method, nonetheless, it helps you to measure the progress of your atom’s development.

Begin by dipping the bottom part of the cutting into a clear glass of water. The water should be as shallow as one to two inches and clear. You will need to change the water regularly to prevent algae and fungi from growing in it.

As long as the light, temperature, and humidity are correct, you should see new roots growing from the base of the cutting in less than ten days after dipping it in water.

When the cutting has enough cores and a new pair of leaves, transfer it into a suitable substrate and water it as described earlier in this article. Now, you can propagate your philodendron like a pro. Note that propagation is best done in spring.

Problems 

This is a super-easy plant to grow. However, there are some problems that you might encounter when growing the plant. Some examples of such issues are:

– Root Rot

Root rot is not a common problem for many philodendrons as long as they get just the right amount of water and nothing more. However, if you frequently overwater your plants, you can kill them from their roots and they will get root rot. Root rot occurs when fungi attack the roots of your plants mostly because they are already dying.

The best way to prevent root rot is to strictly follow your watering schedule. If your philodendron gets root rot, you need to repot and change its substrate. Before transferring it to its new pot, you should prune off the dead roots and rinse the healthy ones with running water.

– Drought

Remember that atom plants love consistently moist soil. This means that while you should wait for the top layer of their substrate to get dry before you water them, you must water them before the entire substrate gets dry. Waiting for the substrate to get dry can kill the plants before you water them again.

Some signs of atoms suffering from drought are yellow and drooping leaves, dry leaf tips, and a generally weak plant. Correct this problem by watering your plants in time. Also, you should remove dead leaves, if any, as they will continue to collect water and nutrients from the plant.

– Chlorosis

Chlorosis simply means the discoloration or loss of pigmentation of the leaves, when the chlorophyll of the plant is dull. The primary pigment that gives your atom plants their green leaves is chlorophyll and if you do not grow the plants in their preferred condition, they will start losing their chlorophyll. You can tell that your plants are losing their chlorophyll when the leaves turn yellow or pale.

The primary cause of chlorosis is lack of light, but it has a lot of reasons. Chlorosis is usually a symptom of so many problems such as nutrient deficiency, root rot, and stress. If you can grow your plant in a stress-free environment, you will surely avoid the issue of the leaves turning yellow.

– Sunburn

Sunburn is a widespread problem for atom plants as these plants prefer shade to full sun. If you grow the plants by exposing them to too much sunlight, they can get sunburn. You can tell that your atoms have sunburn when they have burnt leaf tips and the leaves look very weak.

The dark green coloration of this plant is an indication that the plant leaves can make use of very little sunlight to produce a lot of energy. If the sunlight is too much, it could be just like overfeeding the plants. All you need to do to fix or prevent sunburn is to shift the atom a few inches away from the source of light. Also, grow them at the right temperature.

– Overfertilizing

Just as the plants do not want too much sun, they also do not want too much fertilizing. You can use the same type of fertilizer for your atoms from the time you plant them until they are matured because they are prized for their leaves alone. This means that they need nitrogen-rich fertilizer.

However, if the fertilizer has too much nitrogen as well as other nutrients, you will notice that the leaves of your plants will start to burn and wrinkle. If you see these signs after feeding the plant, you need to flood and drain the plant’s substrate so that you can wash off the excess nutrients. Remember that you do not need to fertilize your plants in winter.

 

– Pests

Pests like scale, mealybugs, spider mites, and aphids frequently attack and destroy your atom leaves. If you leave these pests for a long time, they can kill the plant. This is why you must remove the pests immediately you see them. If you can, prevent the problems with repellents such as neem oil and chemical pesticides.

The best way to prevent these pests is to grow healthy plants because healthy plants have a high defense against pests.

– Toxicity

Please note that the leaves of philodendron plants are toxic. Therefore, you should not eat them. Also, prevent your kids and pets from eating the leaves as they can irritate the stomachs and tongues of people and animals.

You only want to grow your plants as what they are – indoor plants for decoration. They are not vegetables or leafy greens for consumption. Asides from the leaves, the petioles and stems are still toxic, so try to avoid the entire plant.

Conclusion

Here are some take-home points from this article that can help you in your philodendron atom journey:

  • Make sure that you grow your philodendrons at 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • To keep the atom leaves fresh, remember that you must feed them with nitrogen-rich fertilizer and mist them with water occasionally.
  • The easiest way to propagate atom plants is by using their stem cutting either in soil or water.
  • Remember that this plant prefers dim light, so do not expose them to too much sunlight.
  • Please do not eat the leaves of your plant as they are toxic. Make use of the plant for decoration alone.

Now, nothing is stopping you from growing your atoms with ease. Make sure that you use the tips in this article.

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