Philodendron domesticum is a cute little plant. We have compiled some of the most easy-to-apply practical tips on growing it at home.
Look at all these tips and tricks in this comprehensive care guide.
- What Is Philodendron Domesticum?
- Philodendron Domesticum Care
What Is Philodendron Domesticum?
Philodendron domesticum is an ornamental houseplant that is widely popular for its large glossy leaves. It is also known as the spadeleaf Philodendron or the Burgundy Philodendron. The edges of its leaves and the stems look slightly burgundy upon close inspection.
Philodendron Domesticum Care
This small Philodendron domesticum grows only under partially bright light and in a warm and humid environment. You will also have to feed it regularly for optimum plant care.
– Water Requirements
Stick a finger or a skewer two inches deep into the soilless mixture. Pull it out to see if dry or moist soil is attached to it. Your soil needs watering if the soil appears to be dry up to these two inches. Always use distilled water for Philodendron domesticum.
Start pouring water over the soil and ensure it doesn’t create splashes on the plant’s stems and leaves. Keep an eye on the bottom of the plant’s container. When water begins to flow out of the drainage hole, this is your cue to stop watering then and there.
Give your soil 10 minutes to drain all the extra water through the holes. When this water collects in a saucer kept under the plant, drain it as soon as possible. Otherwise, your plant might get attacked by several fungal or bacterial infections.
– Light Requirements
Figuring out the best light conditions for your Philodendron can be tricky. This plant can not tolerate direct light as it causes its leaves to suffer from sunburns. It also does not like dim and low light conditions, which cause it to become leggy and unaesthetically tall.
It likes to grow in a spot that is lit brightly for at least seven hours a day but without direct beams of sunlight falling on its leaves. Outdoors, such a spot can either be under the shade of a tree or plant. Any room lit brightly by windows works well for this plant inside the house.
This plant looks so cute sitting atop a windowsill. However, the window in question needs to be only the eastern or the western-facing one. These windows receive light for hours, and you can use a sheer curtain to block it.
You cannot place Domesticum near a window receiving light from the south. Putting your plant at least three feet away is a safe distance. Otherwise, you will have to draw a sheer curtain over the window.
– Soil Requirements
You cannot just pick soil from your garden and use it to plant this ornamental Philodendron. It would be best if you had a soilless mixture that is rich organically, well-draining, and falls in the pH range of 5.0 to 6.0.
You only need two ingredients to make the perfect soilless mix at home. You can either make a 50:50 peat-perlite mix or a peat-vermiculite mix. Both work equally effectively and have been known to produce excellent plants.
Additionally, you add a few pieces of bark to add chunky porosity to your whole mix. This helps a lot with preventing unnecessary water retention. Go for a clay or terracotta container to fill this soil in. there must be enough drainage holes at the bottom of this pot.
– Temperature Requirements
This plant grows comfortably within a temperature range of 55 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Even during wintertime, it needs the temperature around it to be warm and humid.
In summer, your indoor plant might risk exposure to cold air from the air conditioner. In this case, the kitchen or the laundry room might be a better spot.
In winter, your plant is relatively safer in the home than outdoors. Don’t allow the window to be kept open – even slightly – to keep the chill outside air out. Keep your plant away from the radiator because temperatures above 80 degrees will cause its leaves to burn.
– Humidity Requirements
Philodendron needs its surrounding humidity levels to be around 60 to 70 percent. It might tolerate slightly lower levels of humidity but not below 40 percent. Because of air conditioners and radiators, indoor-kept plants usually lack adequate air moisture levels.
One way to improve humidity is by misting the leaves using a spray bottle. In summer, you might have to mist almost every third day. Of course, in winter, you will get to mist less often. Mist lightly and only in the morning to reduce the risk of fungal mildew.
You can use a pebble tray instead if you don’t want to go through the hassle of misting every other day. Place any container filled with water near or under the plant. The water evaporating from this container throughout the day helps improve the humidity by as much as 20 percent.
A humidifier is the easiest option you have regarding this. Buy one that can turn on and off automatically according to the humidity levels in the room. On the downside, you must also get ready for mounting electricity bills due to its continual use. When providing such high humidity levels, ensure that the air circulation around your Philodendron is also next level.
– Fertilizing Requirement
It would help if you fertilized Philodendron domesticum variegata regularly. The easiest regime is to fertilize once per month, starting from spring till fall. You can use a well-balanced liquid fertilizer for this task. Don’t forget that you always need to fertilize the soil, not the plant itself.
How to tell if your fertilizer is well-balanced? It will have an NPK value of 10:10:10 written over its package. You must dilute it to at least half of its strength before use by mixing in an equal quantity of water. This will help prevent chemical burns and unnecessary salt accumulation in the soil.
If your busy lifestyle does not allow you to fertilize every month, you can opt for a slow-release fertilizer. This comes in the form of round pellets that can be inserted within the soil at the start of spring. Over the next few weeks, they will continue to release nutrients into the soil slowly.
You can also go for organic fertilizers even though they don’t provide instant results like their chemical counterparts. Compost, manure, vermicompost, etc., are all good and effective options. You must mix a handful of these within the top one-third of your soil every two weeks.
You cannot ignore pruning your plant. First, you need to snip off leaves and stems that are old, diseased, or stopped growing. Hands can twist off leaves petioles. For philodendron stems, a secateur would suffice.
As for the rest of the stems, trimming them a little at their growing ends should be done. Pruning also makes a plant lighter and improves air circulation around the stems. For domesticum, the ideal time to prune it is from early to late spring.
You can also use pruning shears or scissors, whichever you are most comfortable with. Make it a habit of cleaning your tools before and after use every single time. Use bleach or alcohol first, and then wash the tools with water.
There are three ways to propagate this plant if you want to expand your Philodendron family further. Stem cutting propagation and air layering should be carried out early in spring. Seed propagation is best started earlier than this, before the winter is over.
– Propagate Through Stem Cuttings
Propagation does not get any easier than using simple stem cuttings. This is our most trusted method because it produces good results every time.
- You can take a 5 to 6 inches long piece of stem from anywhere within the plant. Make sure your pruning shears are sharp; otherwise, you might flatten the stem.
- Your chosen piece of the stem should have two leaf nodes on it. These are the slightly swollen bumps from where new leaves emerge. Let only one leaf remain on the stem piece if you like.
- What we like to do is to place this cutting in water first. Fill only half a jar with fresh water and place the cutting in it. Half of the cutting with the leaf should preferably be above the water level.
- Put the lid over the jar and wait two to three weeks. You will have to change the water weekly because it tends to get discolored and dirty.
- When you see baby roots and shoots growing from your stem piece, you can plant them in the soil.
- Prepare loose soil with top-level drainage and bury half of the cutting in the soil along with its roots.
- Give your baby plant extra care and attention during the first two weeks. After this, your plant will be well-established, and you can resume regular care for it just like its parent plant.
– Propagate Through Air Layering
Air layering is a fantastic technique that you can use to propagate your plant further. It is a bit more intricate than other methods and needs some effort to make it successful.
- For air layering, you first need to choose a stem that is neither too old nor too young. It should also be of a medium thickness. See that it isn’t diseased by any chance or swarmed by pests.
- Make a three inches long cut on this stem at an inch distance from the leaf node. Your incision should go only one-third to half the width of the stem.
- Put a piece of plastic through this hole. This will prevent the cut from healing on its own, which will hinder the growth of new roots.
- Take one to two handfuls of sphagnum moss and put it in a bucket of water. Then take it out, squeeze it and expel all the extra water.
- Wrap this moistened moss over the cut part of the stem and around it. Secure it by using a layer of aluminum foil all around it. Lastly, you must tie the whole thing up using gardening strings.
- After two weeks, unwrap this assembly to see if new roots have started growing. At this point, you might have to remoisten the moss because it will have dried. Wrap everything again the same way as before.
- Keep repeating this previous step until you see roots emerging and said roots become several inches long.
- Cut this stem with the roots growing and plant it in the soil that you have prepared for the plant. Your plant will soon grow new leaves in a short while.
– Propagating Through Seedlings
Seed propagation is no doubt the method that produces the most variable results. If your seed quality isn’t excellent, then your propagation will suffer.
- You need a shallow tray to plant the seeds for seed propagation.
- Soak a reasonable quantity of sphagnum moss in a water bucket. Then, squeeze all the extra water out before spreading it evenly on the tray.
- Plant your seeds one by one in this moss layer. Don’t push the seeds into the moss more than one-third of an inch.
- Cover the tray with clear plastic and then place it someplace warm and brilliant.
- Every week, take the tray out of the plastic and moisten the moss if it has dried.
- It takes two to three months for the seeds to germinate and turn into plantlets that can be transplanted within their pots.
Domesticum is an overall low-maintenance plant that is unlikely to give you much trouble. Some common troubles you might face include brown tips, blight, pests, and toxicity.
– Brown Leaf Tips
If your plant seems to be turning brown around the leaf edges, there could be two main reasons behind it. One is, of course, the lack of adequate levels of philodendron humidity around the plant. If the air around your house is too dry, you need to improve it artificially.
Another common reason for brown leaf edges is exposure to too many salts. Salts build up in the soil and travel to the plant leaves over time.
Eventually, they precipitate on the surface of the leaves and cause brown-colored burns.
Frequent use of tap water for watering is the prime reason behind this salt build-up. Tap water is full of a truckload of minerals and salts, which might not be the healthiest for your plant. That is why we insist that you switch to distilled water instead. The other reason is overfertilizing, which also needs to be stopped.
– Erwinia Blight
Erwinia blight is one of the most common problems affecting the Philodendron plant. Overwatering is the reason behind this bacterial infection attacking your plant. It will attack your plant if the soil and the container seem to have blocked drainage or if you keep on watering your plant despite the soil still being wet.
Erwinia blight is not hard to diagnose at all. Brown water-soaked spots appear over the stems of the plant. The new leaves growing henceforth will be yellow and smaller in size. Your houseplant will lose all its charm and appear small and withered.
The bad news is that this disease can be difficult to treat. You need to order a few bottles of bactericide containing copper. Follow the instructions on the back of the bacterial bottle to get the desired results. The most severely affected stems might have to be cut off.
Mealybugs are the most common bugs your domesticum might have to deal with. Luckily, they are easy to identify. Being white in color and slow-moving, you can see them crawling around the plant.
They puncture holes in the stems and leaves and then suck sap from them. Eventually, the plant starts weakening progressively and produces smaller and yellower leaves. They also secrete a sticky substance by the name of honeydew over the surfaces of all the leaves. This honeydew then catches mold that then spreads quickly.
Most of the mealybugs can be gotten rid of simply by washing the plant. Use a good quality anti-pest soap during this washing so that the larvae and the eggs die. After this, use the end of a Q-tip to dab a few drops of neem oil all over the leaves and under them. Neem oil is a fantastic pest killer that will keep the mealybugs from returning.
One question our experts often get asked is whether philodendron domesticum is toxic. For such popular houseplants, yes, they are quite toxic to both plants and animals. This plant needs to be kept out of reach if you have inquisitive pests and children at home.
The leaves of this plant contain poisonous calcium oxalate crystals that cause a burning sensation in the mouth and stomach. Your kid or pet will start experiencing pain and might also suffer from nausea and vomiting. Giving milk or dairy products immediately will provide some immediate pain relief.
Exposure to calcium oxalate can also lead to an allergic reaction. So a quick administration of an anti-histamine is a must. Then take the affected pet or childto the emergency for a thorough check-up.
– Can Philodendron Domesticum’s Leaves Revert?
The leaves on this plant are largely considered variegated, however, they can revert to a normal color and come out just plain green.
– How Do You Encourage Variegation in Philodendron Domesticum?
First of all you have to plant it where it will get plenty of light. Variegated leaves need more light for the color variation to show up. It’s interesting to note that they have less chlorophyll in them so that is why they need more light to be able to produce enough food.
Domestic is a rare plant that needs only a little attention from its caregivers.
- Keep this plant in partial or full shade, and do not allow direct light to fall on it.
- Water slowly when the top two inches dry, preferably using filtered or distilled water.
- If the plant leaves start turning brown at the edges, they suffer from dry air.
- Philodendron leaves are toxic in case you see your pet chew on them accidentally.
Philodendron domesticum, as its name suggests, is the perfect plant for growing at home. Go online and order one domesticum for yourself to see its magic.
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