Philodendron Elegans Care Infographic
Philodendron Elegans Care Infographic

Philodendron elegans is an exotic species from the rainforests of Brazil and Columbia. Desired the world over due to its pinnate and long leaves as well as low-maintenance as a household plant, there is no reason why you shouldn’t give this plant a try.

Read our guide to learn the easiest way to grow this plant.

What Is Philodendron Elegans?

Philodendron elegans is a rare plant that can grow up to 15 feet tall on reaching maturity. It grows as a vine; creeping along the floor or climbing up the walls. People mainly keep it for its large-sized and glossy foliage.

Philodendron Elegans Care

Care for Philodendron elegans by putting it under indirect light, high temperatures, high humidity, and water whenever the soil becomes 50 percent dry. Don’t forget to fertilize every week and use organic, loose soil, keep reading all about these care requirements in detail below.

– Water Requirements 

Water Philodendron elegans as soon as the soil becomes halfway dry and make sure that your soil and pot have adequate drainage. Find out more details in the upcoming section.

– Philodendron Elegans Watering Regime

Philodendron elegans exotic speciesWhen the soil of the Philodendron elegans plant becomes 50 percent dry, water it right away. Keep a regular watering regime especially during the hot and dry summer months.

During fall and frost season, because water dries slowly from the soil, you can decrease the frequency of watering.

This plant cannot tolerate dry soil nor can it tolerate being overwatered.

– How To Tell if the Soil Is Dry?

You can use a stick or a moisture meter to determine how dry your soil has become.

– Use a Stick

Insert a very thin stick into the soil and then take it out to observe it. The condition of the stick will tell you how dry or moist your soil is. Always insert the stick near the rims of the pot to prevent accidentally damaging the central roots of the plant in the process.

– Use a Moisture Meter

A moisture meter is also a stick that is inserted into the soil. It then gives you a pretty accurate estimation of how dry the soil is. This gadget is both a bit expensive and sensitive and you will need to be very careful with it.

– Learn How To Water the Right Way

  • Always use a moderate amount of water for the Philodendron plant.
  • Direct the beam of water towards the soil. Never water the stem and leaves of the plant simply for the purpose of cleaning and washing them.
  • Keep pouring water slowly and steadily until it passes through the soil and starts coming out of the drainage hole at the bottom of the pot.
  • Allow some time for the excess water to collect in the pan at the bottom and then remove it as well.

– Light Requirements 

The Philodendron elegans plant should be grown in a shaded environment lit either by indirect sunlight or artificial lights.

– Where To Put Philodendron Elegans Indoors?

Place the Philodendron elegans plant in the brightest room of your house, additionally it will continue to thrive even under conditions of indirect or partial light. 

Place the plant as near the window as possible without it being in the direct path of sunlight. This is because it gets sunburnt when exposed to unfiltered sunlight. 

The only window that is safe enough for the elegans plant to be put in is the north-facing window. This window receives only indirect light throughout the day.

– Grow Philodendron Elegans Under Artificial Lights

You can also keep this plant indoors under artificial grow lights. There are two types of grow lights you can use. Fluorescent lights are the most suitable lights for growing plants artificially. But they are pretty expensive when it comes to electricity bills.

The second best option is to use LED lights. These lights aren’t as effective as fluorescent lights but they are quite affordable and reasonable for keeping in the long term. 

Place these artificial lights at a minimum distance of 20 inches from the plant. It is best if they are placed directly overhead the plant. If placed on the side, you must rotate the plant so that all sides receive equal sunshine.

– Soil Requirements 

Philodendron elegans soil should be well-draining and at the same time able to retain moisture for the plant’s root. For this plant, we often ditch traditional soils and potting mixtures for sphagnum moss with 20 percent perlite added to it.

Keep in mind that adding perlite to the organic soil-less sphagnum moss increases its porosity and prevents excess water from becoming trapped in the potting medium. Moreover, you can add pebbles or pieces of cork and bark instead of perlite too.

– Temperatures Requirements

60 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit is the ideal temperature range for this plant. As a warm growing species, this plant should not be kept in temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Below this temperature, the Philodendron plants start developing cold shock.

– How To Prevent Cold Shock

In the summers, don’t keep the Philodendron elegans plant in a chilled air-conditioned room. In addition, don’t place it near open windows at night to save it from the cold air from outside.

Take special care during winter rest months to maintain the high temperatures that this plant is accustomed to at all times.

– Humidity and Air Circulation 

60 to 80 percent humidity are a must-have for this elegant species of plants. This could be best measured by a hygrometer, which is an instrument that is used to measure the moisture content of the air.

It is recommended for all committed plant parents out there. Read on below to discover the many ways you can artificially increase humidity around your plants.

Did you know that the bathroom and the kitchen are the most humid rooms in your house? Simply by moving your elegans there! Create a makeshift humidity tray by placing pebbles and water in a shallow tray. Place the pot of the plant on top of the pebbles such that the bottom of the pot doesn’t touch the water.

Keep all of your indoor plants close together, doing so increases the overall humidity around the plants. Don’t force them so close that their air circulation is compromised, though.

Nonetheless, invest in a humidifier and simplify your life, since a humidifier is pretty expensive but it will reproduce the exact same moisture level of the air that your plant needs.

Lastly, air circulation should be top-notch around plants with high humidity demands. Otherwise, such plants are very easily susceptible to developing fungal infections due to the warm, wet environment.

– Fertilizer 

The Philodendron elegans plant is a heavy feeder, it needs to be fertilized regularly. Learn how to use the different types of fertilizer for this plant in detail below.

– Using Fast Release Fertilizer 

Fertilize every week during the growth period from march till September with a good quality fast release fertilizer. We prefer using a liquid fertilizer that is then diluted to one-third of its original concentration.

Always fertilize the plant right after it has been watered, give slowly and carefully. Once a month, bath the plant in copious water to flush out the toxins that inevitably form after fertilization.

– Using Slow Release Fertilizer 

Slow-release fertilizers come in the form of pellets that are buried in the soil. You only need to place them once every three or four months and they will slowly release the nutrients to your plant over time.

Slow-release fertilizers don’t cause fertilizer burn to the plant. That is another one of their big advantages.

 

Propagation

You can propagate the elegans plant by using either root divisions or stem cuttings in the soil as the nutrient medium. Want to learn the step-by-step process? We have you covered!

– Root Division

  • When using root divisions for propagation, you need to coordinate it at a time when the plant is being repotted. 
  • Before taking the plant out of the soil, moisten it with deep water at least 24 hours beforehand.
  • Take a small-sized shovel to carefully uproot the plant from the soil. Take care not to damage the roots in the process.
  • Wash the roots gently with water to remove the soil stuck with them. Then inspect them carefully to see if there is any sign of disease or rot in them.
  • Untangle and separate some of the roots from one another such that each root has its own stem and at least one leaf attached to it. Take a knife to nearly cut it off.
  • Now take each of these divisions and bury them in a new pot filled with fresh soil. Water the newly potted baby plants abundantly and place them in a bright and humid location.
  • You must take extra care of the plant for the first couple of weeks until the plant becomes adjusted to its new environment.

– Stem Cutting

  • You can also propagate the Philodendron elegans plant by using stem cuttings. 
  • Choose a healthy-looking stem or plant branch and cut a portion of it that is at least a few inches long. 
  • Your stem cutting should also have at least one leaf node in. Additionally, try to cut just below the node.
  • Place the cutting on a piece of tissue paper in a dark, dry place for about one week prior to propagation. This practice is known as callus formation and it is quite beneficial. 
  • You can also put rooting hormone on this cutting for additional benefits.
  • Now make a hole in the center of the newly potting soil and insert this dried cutting into it vertically. 
  • Place the pot in a warm, humid location of your house and tend to it carefully for at least the first couple of days.

Problems 

Your Philodendron elegans plant might suffer from fungal powdery mildew, pests attacks, or leaves turning brown.

– Powdery Mildew

Powdery mildew is a mild fungal infection that makes the Philodendron leaves appear as if they have flour powder sprinkled all over them. It is not a fatal disease but it does weaken your plant and makes it look ugly.

You can easily treat powdery mildew by applying neem oil on the affected leaves regularly. Making a DIY remedy using bicarbonate and water also works quite effectively. 

– Pests

Aphids, mealybugs, and scales are the most common insects that attack the Philodendron plant and cause it to turn weak and start dying.

– Leaves Turning Brown

Using chemicals laden water or direct sunlight might be responsible for the leaves of your plant turning brown.

– Chemicals in the Water

Common tap water often contains minerals and chemicals that turn the gorgeous leaves of this plant brown. That is why we advocate using clean filtered or distilled water for giving to plants. 

– Direct Sunlight

Philodendron elegans leaves will turn dry, crisp, and brown when exposed to direct sunlight. This is especially true of sunlight during the afternoon hours.

How To Identify a Pest Attack

You can identify a pest attack by yellowing or falling leaves and retarded plant growth.

– The Appearance of Yellow Spots 

Small yellow spots will begin to appear on the affected leaves. This is because these pests suck the nutrition out of your plant, causing the death of clusters of chlorophyll in the leaves.

– Webbing Under the Leaves

Some pests such as spider mites also produce a layer of webbing on the undersides of the leaves that is instantly noticeable.

– Leaf Drop

Sometimes, the plant is weakened to such an extent that its leaves start falling off dangerously.

– Slow Growth

At times, an insect infestation goes on at a slow pace for a long time. The only symptom you might notice will be a sharp decline in the growth of your plant.

– How To Treat a Pest Attack

Treat pest attack by isolating the plant and using natural remedies first before your resort to using chemicals.

– Isolate the Plant

Quarantine the infected plant as soon as you find out that it is under pest attack. These pests jump from one plant to the next at an alarming pace. 

– Scrub off the Pests

Physically removing the pests from the affected plant should be your first step in this process. Move the pot to a sink and wash the whole plant with soap and water. Bonus point if the soap in question is insecticidal.

Some insects like mealybugs are often very strongly attached to the plant and will not wash off easily. You will have to take a toothbrush to them and scrub them off one by one.

– Vinegar and Water

Mix common household vinegar with water in a ratio of twenty to eighty. This mixture will kill off most of the common insects that attack the Philodendron plant. 

– Neem Oil

Neem oil is another effective natural remedy against pests. It is easily available and needs to be applied through a cotton roll or a Q-tip to the diseased leaves and the colonies of insects lurking under them.

– Insecticide 

Insecticides should be your last option when it comes to pests. They contain chemicals that can have adverse effects on the plant. Always use fertilizer according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Philodendron Elegans Leaves

  • Philodendron elegans is also called the skeleton key plant because of its foliage that looks like a skeleton of leaves.
  • The leaves have a prominent midvein with leaflets on either side. These leaves come in a variety of shades of green.
  • Like all other Philodendrons, the elegans plant too has large leaves. On average, each leaf grows up to become 21 inches long and 10 to 12 inches wide.
  • The other smaller veins on the leaf are more prominent and bulging on the lower side as compared to the upper side.
  • Philodendron elegans growth rate is quite slow as compared to other members of the Philodendron genus. Don’t be alarmed if your plant looks healthy but doesn’t seem to be making much headway in the size department.

Conclusion 

Phew! That was a handful of information. Let us recap all of it below.

  • Philodendron elegans is a rare but exotic plant that grows long and elegant foliage. Keep this plant illuminated by indirect sunlight or artificial grow lights. Direct sunlight can cause sunburn.
  • Water this plant every time the soil becomes 50 percent dry.
  • The best soil for this plant is sphagnum moss with perlite added to it. Make sure that both the soil and the pot have proper drainage and neither retain water in it.
  • As a heavy feeder, the Philodendron elegans plant should be fertilized every week during the growth period. When going for a slow-release fertilizer, you can fertilize every third month.
  • This plant can be propagated using both stem cuttings and root divisions. Root divisions can, ofcourse, only be obtained when the plant is being repotted.

The Philodendron elegans is a plant that literally needs no more than five minutes each day from your precious time to grow into its exuberant foliage. Just don’t overwater it nor put it under direct sunlight.

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