The Philodendron bipennifolium is native to South America, mainly Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Argentina. Nowadays, it is grown across the globe in diverse settings. It adapts well to tropical, subtropical, and even warm temperate climates. With some training, it can adjust well to deep shade.
The lobed leaves of Philodendron bipennifolium are plain and large. Usually, they droop and hang on the thick stem. They can grow up to 5 feet (1.5 meters) in height. The deep shades can change hues, and even some variegated varieties are available.
When Philodendron bipennifolium are growing in their natural climate, there is not much of a color change throughout the year. The stem is thick and woody and reaches maturity in about 20 years.
The stems spread if planted in the ground. As a houseplant, it can be contained by pruning.
What Is Philodendron Bipennifolium?
Lacy Tree Philodendron, Selloum, Horsehead Philodendron, and Fiddle Leaf Philodendron are its other names. The evergreen plant needs primary care. Give it water when it needs to be paired with well-drained loamy soil, and your Philodendron bipennifolium will grow fast.
The leaves of Philodendron bipennifolium resemble the shape of a horse head. Some take up the form of a violin as the vine begins to climb and grow bigger. The stem rolls around the structure for support; it can be a tree, a pole, or a wire.
The fast-growing Philodendron bipennifolium will wrap over anything it touches. In its natural rainforest habitat, it likes to cling to trees for support and food. This makes it an epiphyte.
Philodendron bipennifolium also grows aerial roots. Both stem and roots help the plant grow and thrive. Small plants can be planted in hanging baskets or pots. Bigger plants will need large pots or a suitable place in the garden.
As a houseplant, it will need some kind of support structure to hold on to. Moss poles, bamboo sticks, or wire structures can be a good option. Philodendron bipennifolium is quite easy to grow. And apart from its stunning appearance, it also purifies the air and removes toxins from the indoor environment.
Philodendron Bipennifolium Plant Care
Philodendron bipennifolium soil needs to be well-drained. If there is waterlogging or poor drainage, the roots will begin to rot and kill the plant. Ensure good drainage for your Philodendron bipennifolium to thrive.
Root rot takes over the rooting system fast. It leaves your Philodendron bipennifolium weak and prone to disease and pest attack. Well-drained soil allows excess water to escape and keep the roots moist, not wet.
If the soil drains the water, the plants will dehydrate. This makes plants shrivel and weak. Philodendron bipennifolium needs balanced, well-drained potting soil. Loamy soil is a great base soil that you can use. It drains well, and that is why many house plants love it.
The best thing about loamy soil is that it’s a mixture of sand, silt, and clay. This mix creates a perfect structure of soil for Philodendron bipennifolium to thrive. It also allows it to grow without getting dehydrated or waterlogged.
The soil pH between 5 to 6 is ideal for your Philodendron bipennifolium.
Philodendron bipennifolium likes to grow in indirect or partial sun. The leaves are sensitive to direct light and quickly scar. If the plants are put under the sun, leaves may all turn yellow or brown. These scorch marks can be permanent.
Place your Philodendron bipennifolium in an indirect bright or semi-shaded spot. This placement will also mimic the rainforest environment for your plants and make them happy. That is all the light it needs, which makes it perfect as a houseplant too.
Gardeners grow Philodendron bipennifolium under a tree in large gardens. In small gardens, Philodendron bipennifolium is placed on semi-shaded pathways or corridors. Both of these settings offer filtered light, which the plants love.
Philodendron bipennifolium needs a balanced watering pattern. Water only when it needs it. You want to keep the soil moist, not dry or damp. You can find that balance by monitoring your soil for a couple of days.
Over-watering causes many problems and creates many risks for your Philodendron bipennifolium. Wet soil clogs oxygen to reach the root of your plants. It also causes root rot besides encouraging many pests to attack your plants.
Besides root rot, over-watering also discolor the leaves of your Philodendron bipennifolium. It stuns the plant growth and leaves you with a weak plant. The key to this is to observe how your soil drains.
Let the soil dry out between watering. But do not leave the soil dry for too long. To check if the soil is dry, feel it through your fingers. It will give you an idea if the soil is dry or moist. During winters, slow down the watering as the soil holds on to more moisture during the cold wave.
Your Philodendron bipennifolium likes to grow in 75-85 F. It will tolerate 65-70 F nighttime temperatures. It will not survive frost or freezing temperatures.
Philodendron bipennifolium is native to rainforests, and so it likes to be in a humid environment.
Here are some simple ways to create humidity around your Philodendron bipennifolium:
- Bring other plants close to Philodendron bipennifolium. It allows plants to contribute to and enjoy a humid environment for a longer time.
- Install a humidifier; this makes things simple and also saves you time.
- Spray water or mist your plants often, especially during dry, hot summer days.
- If you are using a pipe to water plants, feel free to wash the leaves once in a while.
- Place a tray under your pots to hold on to water. Make sure it doesn’t keep your soil damp.
- Place a bowl of water close to the plants.
Fertilizing Philodendron bipennifolium is not a hectic task. Fertilize your plant thrice a year, and they will be happy. Slow-release plant food is best for Philodendron bipennifolium. This allows the fertilizer to supply nutrients in small regular quantities. This fertilizer is all your plant needs to thrive.
If you use a liquid feed, then make sure you spray it five or six inches away from the base. Always water your plants before you fertilize them. The moisture allows the nutrients to spread across the rooting system. Fertilizers that are high in salt can contaminate your soil and harm Philodendron bipennifolium.
Propagation Philodendron Bipennifolium
Before you begin propagating Philodendron bipennifolium, let us look at its growing habits.
Philodendron bipennifolium is a tropical plant that usually grows in full sun. It can tolerate shade and loves indirect light. The best environment for Philodendron bipennifolium to thrive is in rich, moisture-dense soil, which is alkaline.
It is sensitive to saline soils. You can check your soil for salinity and avoid fertilizers high in salts to keep plants healthy.
It will support itself even when it grows tall. Its epiphytic characteristics help it find support through clinging on to trees or other structures to survive. The stem sends down strong aerial roots to source food and water.
Philodendron bipennifolium covers the space with lush green leaves and long stems without any effort. In cooler climates, it will completely die if there is frost and freezing temperatures.
Philodendron bipennifolium plants can grow up to seven feet in height. In tropical regions, it grows even bigger. The supporting structure that you provide your plants can be covered. You can choose to keep the height of your plants as big as the moss pole or bamboo sticks or let them grow.
The leaves of Philodendron bipennifolium are broad and can grow up to 18 inches in length. The plant grows quickly and will wrap its stem around anything that it finds close by.
– Horsehead Philodendron Types
There are two types of Philodendron bipennifolium: climbers and non-climbers. The climbing variety will need support for its long, thick stem to wrap around. The supporting pole must be strong. This type will grow well only if there is good support.
The non-climbers spread and turn into big plants. These are more suitable for open spaces. Additionally, leaves are beautiful, large, and deeply lobed.
Philodendron bipennifolium will need to be repotted only once in three years or if it becomes root-bound. The plants in hanging baskets will also take two to three years to mature. That is when the roots outgrow the existing pot and will need a bigger planter.
Transfer your Philodendron bipennifolium in a few inches bigger pots before their roots get too compact. Otherwise, the plant will be stressed and prone to disease. A pot that is much larger than the old one will also cause problems for the plant.
There are a few simple things that you should keep in mind before repotting your Philodendron bipennifolium.
- The plant should be watered a few hours before the transplant.
- Transplant in the evening.
- Water your plants right after transplant.
- Protect it from direct sunlight for a few days until it settles in the new pot.
It is best to use natural potting material like terracotta or clay. Plastic pots may make drainage a challenge and, as a result, cause root rot. If you do not have options, then layer the bottom of your leaves with gravel or pebbles to assist in drainage.
Now let us look at some propagation techniques for Philodendron bipennifolium. Stem cuttings, water propagation, or air layering all work well for the propagation of Philodendron bipennifolium.
Our step-to-step guide will make things easy for you to follow.
Philodendron Bipennifolium Propagation Guide
The two most common methods include stem cutting and air layering your Philodendron bipennifolium. Early spring is the best time to opt for any of these methods.
– Stem Cuttings
Before you take your first stem cutting, be mindful of these points for successful propagation:
- The cut should be right below a leaf node.
- Use sterilized tools: scissors or knives.
- Cutting should be two to four inches in length.
- There should be at least two leaves attached.
- Cure your cuttings. It means to let the cut heal for a week or two before you plant it.
- Keep your cutting in a warm form and allow the callus to form over it.
- This extra step will help in growing healthy roots.
- Meanwhile, you can prepare our hanging baskets or new planters ready.
- Mix in the well-drained, good-quality potting mix into the planters.
- Make sure there are enough drainage holes.
- It is a good idea to water your soil before you put in the new cutting.
- If you want to support your plant, this is the time to place the structure on your pots.
- Once you are ready to plant your seedlings, gently make a hole into the soil and place the stem in.
- Keep the new plant in indirect sun.
- Water only when the soil dries out.
– Air Layering
- Sterilize your knife with 70 percent isopropyl alcohol.
- Next, wound your Philodendron bipennifolium stem using the knife. The cut should be two inches deep and two inches long.
- Keep the wound open. Place a toothpick in a way that keeps the wound open.
- Add peat moss in between. It needs to be moist to help it stick to the cut.
- Cover the wound and the stem around it with moist peat moss.
- Adding a rooting hormone is optional.
- With the help of a string, wrap the wound and stem together.
- Use a plastic wrap to wrap around the peat moss-covered wound.
- Make sure it tightly wraps and holds the peat moss close to the wound.
- It will take a couple of weeks for the roots to appear from the wound.
- Meanwhile, you can prepare your pots or planters for transferring the new plants. Follow the method discussed above to do that.
- In about a month, the roots will be visible through the plastic wrap. That will be the time to separate the cutting from the stem.
- Once again, take a sterilized knife to make a clean cut a few inches above the wound.
- Remove the plastic wrap with care and place it into the new pot.
The next few weeks will be important for your plants. Make sure they continue to get good indirect sunlight, enough water, and shelter from strong winds.
– Planting Timelines
Early Spring to Early Autumn
Bring plants to a spot where it gets indirect bright light. It can be placed near a window that receives early morning light but doesn’t get direct light on the leaves during the day. Strong sunlight can burn the leaves. If the plants get leggy, they are too far from the light.
Early Summer to Late Summer
Summer is the perfect time to propagate your plants. Take new cuttings through stem cuttings or air layering for climbing varieties, and for non-climbing varieties, use shoots from the bottom of the stem.
Philodendron Bipennifolium Problems
Philodendron bipennifolium are visibly pest-free, but there is always a chance it may attract some bugs if we ignore its needs. Possible pests that can attack the plant are aphids or scales. Here is what that might look like.
In the case of aphid infestation, you may notice tiny soft-bodied insects crawling over and under the leaves. If you ignore them, they will take over your plants. And then there will be severe consequences on your Philodendron bipennifolium.
Aphids can kill your plants. It is crucial to treat Philodendron bipennifolium as fast as possible. Aphids feed on the sap of the plant. If the sap is being attacked with thousands of bugs, the plant begins to die. The sap is vital for distributing water and nutrients around the stem and leaves.
Lack of moisture and essential nutrients also affects photosynthesis. The result is weak and damaged plants. You might not be able to rescue your plants after a serious aphid attack.
Other common pests that may attack Philodendron bipennifolium are scales. The brown, soft-bodied insect has armor for protection. It sticks on the stem and is quite easy to locate. Scales are also after the juicy sap of the plant.
They feed on the plant nutrients through the sap and leave the plant weak. The problem may get out of hand if left unsolved. The best option is to opt for a natural remedy. Nothing works better than a spray of neem oil when it comes to organic pest repellents.
Neem oil is used to protect Philodendron bipennifolium. Dilute it with water and spray all over and under your leaves and stem. Spray your plants in the evening and when it’s not too windy. You can also check the intensity and effectiveness of your ratios by trying it out on a section of the plant first.
– Troubleshoot Your Plants
Even an easy-to-grow plant, like Philodendron bipennifolium, can sometimes look unhappy. It suddenly begins to look weak, has a leggy appearance, or looks stunned.
Don’t worry; we can guide you to find what is bothering your plants. The following symptom checker will solve your worries.
Symptom: The leaves of Philodendron bipennifolium are wilting
The leaves of Philodendron bipennifolium wilt for many reasons. If the leaves are wilting, but there are no pest infestations, then it means you are under-watering your plants.
Underwatering plant means your Philodendron bipennifolium is dehydrated. The result is the shedding or wilting of leaves. If it continues, the plant can die. You can easily reverse the problem by watering it at regular intervals if the damage is not severe.
While over-watering causes many issues, underwatering is also a problem. You can test your soil to see how fast it dries. In winter you don’t need to water this often.
Symptom: Philodendron bipennifolium has water-soaked lesions
If the Philodendron bipennifolium has water-soaked lesions, it is not a good sign. This could be a sign of Erwinia blight. This awful disease can kill a plant very fast. It is caused by bacteria that spreads quickly and takes over the plant.
When Erwinia blight takes over, the leaves of Philodendron bipennifolium may also turn black, wilt and dye. Spotting the disease before time is the only way to treat your plants. Remove the infected parts of the plant to begin the treatment.
Once you have removed all infected parts of the Philodendron bipennifolium, use a strong fungicide. It needs to be copper-based. Spray it all around the plant. It is good to test it on a small area of the plant to see how it responds to the fungicide.
Symptom: The stem looks leggy.
This symptom happens in Philodendron bipennifolium when it is not getting enough light. Move closer to a window that gets indirect light; this should solve the problem and make the plant grow stronger stems and dense leaves.
Light is essential for its growth. Making sure that it gets enough filtered light can ensure its good health and appearance.
– Some Other Varieties of Philodendrons
There are some very attractive varieties of Philodendrons to adore your home gardens with. Every one of them is different from the other. What sets them apart is mainly their foliage structure and size.
Let us look at their exciting features and what sets them apart.
If you are looking for arrow-shaped leaves of Philodendron, then the variety that you are looking for is Philodendron imbe. It grows large leaves that are super appealing to the eye.
It resembles the Philodendron domesticum that also has long glossy arrow-shaped leaves. Interestingly they are sometimes variegated with shades of yellow and white blended with shiny green.
Philodendron scandens is a hybrid variety with heart-shaped leaves. It also grows like ivy. Another interesting variety is Philodendron xanadu. This grows elongated leaves resembling fingers. Also, the leaves grow large in a suitable environment.
Philodendron melanochrysum also has heart-shaped leaves that are smooth and velvety. They feel soft to touch and can grow three feet in length. Be it any type of Philodendron; the care is almost the same. You might have to manage it differently depending on its growing habits.
The Philodendron bipennifolium will remind of the freshness of the rainforest as a houseplant. The unique plant is soothing for the eye and adds value to your home gardens. Moreover, the easy-to-grow nature makes it everyone’s favorite.
Here is a quick summary of what we have learned about the super easy-to-grow Philodendron bipennifolium:
- Philodendron bipennifolium is native to South America.
- It loves to grow and spread its steam and broad leaves.
- The stems can grow large, and leaves can also grow big quickly.
- All parts of the Philodendron bipennifolium are toxic.
- They grow well in pots and hanging baskets.
- Philodendron bipennifolium will need a supporting structure to grow.
- For potting plants, you can select a moss pole or bamboo sticks to support your plants.
- In outdoor plantations, the Philodendron bipennifolium can be trained to climb a fence or a tree.
- Philodendron bipennifolium likes free-draining loamy soil.
- It grows well in full sun in some areas but ideally will love indirect bright light.
- The leaves of Philodendron bipennifolium may turn brown or lose color in direct sun.
- Philodendron bipennifolium will not tolerate frost or freezing temperatures.
- Aphids and scales can attack the plant to feed on the sap. Neem oil spray can solve the problem.
- Overwatering kills Philodendron bipennifolium.
- Philodendron bipennifolium also like a treat of misting on dry days.
- You can allow water to dry between watering to avoid waterlogging.
- Overwatering kills plants and weakens the roots.
- Over-watering is also the reason for some disease attacks.
- Watch and maintain your watering pattern for healthy plants.
- Reduce watering during winters and rainy seasons.
- Philodendron bipennifolium can easily be propagated using stem cuttings.
- Philodendron bipennifolium is also grown using the technique of air layering.
- New roots and shoots appear in about a month.
- Before planting into the ground or pot, the new cuttings will be kept in open-air inside a room for a week.
- Young plants will need to be protected from strong winds, over-watering, dry spells, and direct sun.
- Philodendron bipennifolium are not heavy feeders.
- Fertilize your Philodendron bipennifolium thrice in a year.
- The large leaves also purify the air and remove toxins from the indoor environment.
- There are two types of Philodendron bipennifolium. The climbing and non-climbing variety.
- Both can be propagated easily. Non-climbing Philodendron bipennifolium grows shoots at the base of the stem, which can be used as cutting.
- The Philodendron bipennifolium that climbs can be propagated using stem cuttings or air layering technique.
- Philodendron bipennifolium is an easy-to-grow plant with attractive features.
- It doesn’t need a lot of maintenance or your time.
- Philodendron bipennifolium also produces a toxic fruit.
- It blooms in its natural settings.
The Philodendron bipennifolium brings freshness into the home gardens. Be it the climbing variety or the non-climbing one; both add value to your garden.
It is worth spending time to care for your Philodendron bipennifolium. It grows fast, looks pretty, creates interest, and comes in a variety of forms. Grow this humble vine in your home for a rewarding gardening experience.
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