Philodendron Goeldii Care Infographic
Philodendron Goeldii Care Infographic

A member of the Araceae family, Philodendron Goeldii is a stunning tropical plant that is very easy to care for. It is relatively rare and also called the Tree Philodendron because of its trunk and leaf-shedding pattern at the bottom. The unique leaf structure is what makes it a hit among houseplant lovers.

Read all about its care requirements in our care guide. 

What Is Philodendron Goeldii?

Philodendron Goeldii or the Finger Leaf is a tropical plant native to French Guiana. Recently, it was named Thaumatophyllum Spruceanum and moved into the new genus Thaumatophyllum from the Philodendron genus. It is called Finger Leaf because of the growing pattern of its long, clustered leaves.   

Philodendron Goeldii Care

Philodendron Goeldii has growth requirements similar to those of most other Philodendron varieties. Follow our care tips to know how exactly to grow a Philodendron Goeldii.

– Water Requirements

Philodendron Goeldii - stunning tropical plantWater Philodendron Goeldii twice a week in the active growth period of spring and summer. There should be a slight break between two watering sessions for the soil to dry out and absorb water again. 

In the growing stage of summer, it prefers the soil to be moist at all times.

Water your plant until it is fully saturated and you can see water on the soil surface.

Make sure that the plant is never standing in water while watering. It should drain out within seconds of watering. 

Reduce watering during the winter months as the plant does not show any new growth and goes into dormancy. Overwatering in winters can cause root rot faster and kill your plant as the plant growth slows down. Let the soil dry out completely in winters before watering again. 

– Light Requirements

Philodendron Goeldii thrives in moderate to bright indirect light. You can grow it both indoors and outdoors depending on the weather conditions. Do not expose it to direct sunlight as it can cause the leaves to burn and the plant to die. 

Too little light can cause the plant to become left and stretched out with stunted growth. It also makes the plant susceptible to root rot and fungus growth due to overwatering. 

A north or east-facing window receiving light to moderate light works the best for its growth. If your plant is kept outdoors, make sure to move it inside to a bright, warm spot. In winters, make sure to keep your plant inside in a bright, warm spot to protect it from freezing temperatures and frost. 

If you are planning to keep your plant outside, make sure you choose a well-lit but partially shaded spot away from scorching sunlight at noon. The bright green leaves can develop burn marks if kept in harsh sunlight for too long. The plant does well in medium-bright sunlight. 

– Soil Mix

Philodendron Goeldii prefers a rich, well-draining soil mix that is adequately moist at most times. It also grows well in sphagnum moss and peat-based moss too. It grows healthy in the soil pH range of 5 to 8. 

The soil should contain some organic matter such as sphagnum peat moss for nutrition. The dead and decaying matter in it helps retain water and maintain soil pH.

If you are a beginner in the world of gardening, we would recommend you use clay or terracotta pots to grow your plants as they are much better at absorbing excess moisture than plastic or ceramic planters. 

Even if you overwater the plant at times, clay pots with drainage holes will help minimize the chances of root rot happening. However, if you are forgetful when it comes to watering, you can stick with the regular plastic pots

– Temperature Requirements

Philodendron Goeldii grows the best in the temperature range of 50 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. The tropical plant can tolerate temperatures slightly lower than 50 degrees Fahrenheit but do not expose it to very cold temperatures. 

Exposure to low temperatures causes wilting and leaf drops. In cooler temperatures with frost, bring your plant indoors to a bright, warm spot where it can stay protected until spring arrives. Frost-free conditions tend to work well for this tropical plant. 

– Humidity Requirements

Philodendron Goeldii needs a humidity level above 60 percent to grow well. Humidity levels between 60 and 80 percent work well for its growth. High humidity levels ensure bigger and greener leaf growth.  

If the weather in your area is dry and hot, you can increase it by keeping humidifiers or humidity trays around the plant. Additionally, keep your plant with other plants in an outdoor space. Grouped plants are better at absorbing moisture from the air. 

Prepare a humidity tray by filling a shallow tray with some pebbles and water. Keep your potted plant above the tray and as the water evaporates, the moisture level will increase.

While maintaining high humidity levels is important to keep the plant, it is equally crucial to keep the air around your plant moving. Lack of air circulation with high humidity makes the plant susceptible to root rot and other fungal diseases.

– Fertilizer Requirements

Use a balanced fertilizer such as a 10:10:10 NPK to fertilize Philodendron Goeldii. You can also use manure to add organic matter to the soil for extra nutrition.

Fertilizer the plant monthly in spring and summer for best growth results. But do not fertilize your plant in the winter months as the plant is dormant and hardly shows any new growth.

However, over-fertilizing or fertilizing during the winter months can cause problems such as salt build-up in the soil. Excessive salts in the soil cause stunted growth and branch dieback. If you notice a white salt crust on the soil, it is because of salt build-up. 

If the issue persists, the plant may die. To prevent such problems, use liquid fertilizers that are mild and do not fertilize in the dormant months. Remove the plant from the soil to treat the issue and plant it in a fresh soil mix. 

– Pruning

Philodendron Goeldii does not need frequent pruning since they are compact and take little space. However, if you want to prune it to make it bushier and denser, do it very lightly.

Cut the yellow or dead leaves to get rid of the unwanted parts and remove the infected leaves too while pruning. You can lightly prune the plant at any time of the year.

Propagation

Many air-layering and cutting techniques help in the propagation of Philodendron Goeldii. Let us look at them in detail.

– Stem Cuttings

Cut a two to three inches long stem with at least one node. A node is a point from where more growth occurs. Keep only the top two to three leaves attached and remove the rest. 

In a freshly prepared well-draining soil mixture, plant your cutting such that the leaves do not touch the soil. Keep it in a partially shaded spot near a window and water it regularly to enable root growth.

After a couple of weeks, the cutting will develop roots and will be ready to be transplanted to a bigger pot. 

– Layering

There are many different types of layering methods that you can use to propagate Philodendron Goeldii. Let us take a look at them.

– Air Layering

Philodendron Goeldii can be propagated by air-layering in the spring and summer months. Remove extra leaves from the stem and cut the bark. Cover the wound with a mix of organic matter and cover it with a plastic bag by wrapping both sides and tying it well.

Once you notice the roots growing, remove the plastic and not the stem. And lastly cut the organic covered stem from the end and transfer it into a separate pot.

– Tip Layering

If your Philodendron has slouching stems that are reaching the ground, you can use the tip layering method to propagate it. Pin down the tip of the shoot to about three inches into the soil. 

– Compound Layering

This method is employed by embedding several shoots into the soil. Ensure that the stem is buried between the node and the bud.

– French Layering

Cut the stem off the plant three inches above the soil in the winter months when the plant is dormant. In the next autumn, separate the best growing shoots and plant them around the plant using U-shaped pins.

As spring arrives, these stems would produce shoots. When these shoots are about three inches long, cover them with soil so that only the tips are visible and when autumn arrives, remove the soil to check the stems. Separate these horizontal stems and plant them separately.

– Stooling Layering

In the dormant months of winter, cut the plant close to an inch above the soil. When the active roots produce shoots, put soil over the new shoots. When the new shoots develop roots after some time, separate them and plant them in new planters. 

– Propagating from Seeds

Propagating Philodendron Goeldii from seeds is rarely done because seeds are difficult to source and it is a time-consuming process. If you want to try this method, remove the seeds from inside the fruits when they have grown fully. Plant the seeds in the soil mix at any time of the year and keep the soil moist. 

 

Problems

Philodendron Goeldii is an easy-to-care-for plant but sometimes can face certain problems related to overwatering, pests and diseases. Let us take a look at some of them.

– Root Rot

Philodendron Goeldii is sensitive to overwatering and often suffers from root rot if ignored. Soggy soil conditions for longer periods cause root rot. It reduces the oxygen in the soil and spreads the root rot to other parts of the plant.

Sometimes, the presence of fungus spreads root rot to the plant. Make sure that the soil is well-draining so that even if you overwater at times, water drains out fast from the bottom drainage holes. Use chemicals such as methyl bromide to prevent fungus and prune the infected parts to control the spread. 

– Leaf Drop

Leaf drop is quite common in Philodendron Goeldii and occurs because of various reasons. It could be due to the shock due to repotting or being transported to different places. Sometimes, dry weather conditions also cause leaf drops. 

Keep an eye on the basic care requirements of the plant to prevent the problem of leaf drop. Try to keep the humidity levels high in dry weather conditions and keep an eye out for pests and diseases. 

– Mealybugs

Mealybugs are soft-bodied, small insects that suck the sap of the plant and cause issues such as wilting of leaves and flower buds. Use insecticidal soap solutions and neem oil to get rid of them. If the infestation is not too severe, you can simply wash them off with water.

– Aphids

Aphids are small, sap-sucking insects like mealybugs. They also cause the growth of sooty mold fungus causing leaf drop, dead stems and flowers. Spray water on the affected parts and in severe cases, use chemical treatments such as insecticidal soap and rubbing alcohol.

– Scale Insects

Soft Scale insects are sap-sucking insects and are closely related to whiteflies and aphids. They cause yellowing and browning of leaves. The honeydew produced by scale also encourages sooty mold. 

Use alcohol-soaked cotton to apply to the affected regions or use an insecticidal soap solution to get rid of them. Prune the infected leaves to protect the plant from the scale.

– Spider Mites

Red spider mites are invisible to the naked eye and thrive in warm weather conditions. They cause leaf mottling and reduced photosynthesis in the plants. If you notice fine, dusty webs on the leaves, the plant is probably infected by spider mites. 

Keep your gardening tools clean to avoid such infestations and keep the humidity levels high as mites thrive in dry and warm weather. Insecticidal soap solutions such as those containing pyrethroids work well in removing spider mites.

Use the chemical treatments only in the early mornings or evenings. Spraying chemicals in the afternoon can cause leaf burns.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Let us take a look at some of the commonly asked questions about Philodendron Goeldii.

– How Are the Leaves and Flowers of Philodendron Goeldii Unique?

Philodendron Goeldii leaves are star-shaped giving the plant a very tropical and unique look. The long-fingered, glossy green leaves develop along the spiral stems and eventually grow upwards giving the plant a unique look. 

The glossy green leaves are dissected by a light green vein in the middle. The leaves are also bordered with the same light shade. The leaves are dark green in low light and turn light green in bright and direct sunlight. 

Philodendron Goeldii blooms rarely but it can flower at any time of the year and with the right care, you can witness the blooms two to three times in its life. 

– Does Philodendron Goeldii Climb?

Over time as Philodendron Goeldii matures, it develops long climbing vines. It grows epiphytically by attaching itself to fences, moss poles, trees, and building sides.

– What Is the Growth Rate of Philodendron Goeldii?

Philodendron Goeldii growth rate is moderate and can be fast if provided with the right care. A mature Philodendron Goeldii grows upwards vining on top of other plants. It can grow up to eight inches tall and four inches wide. 

It also has a new hybrid called Philodendron Goeldii Hawaiian Finger Leaf which has foliage similar to Schefflera. It develops long climbing vines as the plant matures. In their native environments, these plants grow epiphytically with the support of other large trees.

One key feature of this plant is the ring-like petiole that increases in size as the plant reaches maturity. As the thick woody stem matures, the petiole can develop up to 15 leaves on every branch. 

– Is Philodendron Goeldii Toxic?

Philodendron Goeldii is toxic to both humans and pets. Keep it away from the reach of children and pets as it can cause mild to severe irritation in the throat when ingested.

– How to Repot Philodendron Goeldii?

Philodendron Goeldii does not like to be repotted frequently. It likes to be root-bound for some time. You can repot it every two to three years when the plant has outgrown the pot and the soil has decomposed. Old, decomposed soil can cause problems such as rot and may even kill the plant.

Choose a pot one size bigger than the previous one, approximately two to three inches larger. Prepare a well-draining soil mix in the new pot so that the root ball can fit in properly.

Prepare a mix of coco coir, sphagnum moss, and some indoor potting soil. This soil mixture will make for an airy and draining medium to help the plant roots grow healthily.

Prepare a fresh, well-draining soil mix to ensure the plant settles in easily. Make sure that the new pot you are using is two to three inches bigger than the previous one. 

Conclusion

Philodendron Goeldii is French but not exactly French, it does belong to French Guiana and is one of the best houseplants to add to the home garden if you are a fan of glossy foliage. Let us sum up all the important points you must remember before growing this beauty. 

  • Philodendron Goeldii or Thaumatophyllum Spruceanum is a tropical, epiphytic houseplant with star-shaped leaves. It needs bright, dappled light to grow well and water only when the soil is slightly dry, ideally twice a week. 
  • It thrives in moist sphagnum moss and peat-based soil mixes. It thrives in temperatures between 50 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit but cannot tolerate freezing temperatures.
  • It needs humidity levels above 60 percent to grow comfortably. For extra nutrition and to make your plant lush green, fertilize it with a 10:10:10 NPK fertilizer during the active growing season.
  • It prefers to be root-bound for some time before being shifted to a bigger pot every two to three years. 
  • It can be propagated from stem cuttings and various layering methods such as air-layering and tip layering.

Now that you know all about this gorgeous plant, it is time for you to add one of these to your plant collection!

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