Philodendron Joepii of the Araceae family is nearly extinct in the South American jungles today, but it is available in select online stores and garden centers at high prices. What’s more, its bizarre leaves are an attraction among houseplant enthusiasts.
If you have been thinking about investing in this exotic plant, our detailed guide on how to grow and care for this rare and unique philodendron genus plant is precisely what you need!
JUMP TO TOPIC
- What Is Philodendron Joepii?
- Philodendron Joepii Care
- Light Requirements
- Water Requirements
- Soil Mix
- Humidity Requirements
What Is Philodendron Joepii?
Philodendron Joepii is an exotic Philodendron variety native to the South American continent. It has tri-lobed leaves that look like they have been damaged and chewed upon. The plant is rare and difficult to source in the wild, making it one of the most expensive Philodendrons.
Notably, a dutch naturalist, Joep Moonen discovered it in 1991 in eastern French Guiana.
Looking at the unusual shape of the leaves, he thought that some insects chewed on them before he realized that it was just their nature.
Finally, an interesting point to note about this plant is that it is still under scientific observation and not yet scientifically identified.
– Size and Growth
Philodendron Joepii is a slow-grower indoors, but if kept outdoors in a humid environment, it can be a prolific grower. It produces 12 inches long inflorescence with a spathe and a spadix in colors ranging from purple to white. It usually blooms in the summer months, and the petioles supporting its leaves can grow to be 10 to 40 inches long.
Pruning plays a very important role in the growth of Philodendron Joepii. The ideal time to prune is in spring and summer, which are the main growing seasons. However, it can still be performed at any time of the year if you notice any dead parts. Cut the dead leaves, stems, and diseased parts of the plant, if any.
Philodendron Joepii leaves are oddly-shaped. They are tri-lobed and look like they have been chewed upon. The leaves can grow up to 27 inches long with proper care. When it starts growing, the wide lower lobe of the foliage tapers upwards into a narrow upper body followed by outward-pointing lobes.
Philodendron Joepii has a deep root structure. The roots are such that they are built to collect water in rainy seasons.
You should choose a pot that is spacious enough to accommodate the roots, as they grow deep into the soil. Moreover, the roots become dark and black when the plant gets root rot. So you will recognize that the healthy roots are white to light green in color and have a glossy touch.
Philodendron Joepii Care
When we buy an expensive plant, we fear that it may die, but in the case of Philodendron Joepii, you need not worry that much as it is an easy-to-care-for plant. Look for the signals that your plant is trying to give you and act accordingly. In order to do that successfully, you should read all its basic care and growth requirements below.
Philodendron Joepii thrives in medium to bright, indirect light but it is tolerant of lower light conditions also. In the wild, it grows as a climber in low-light conditions and climbs up on larger trees in search of light.
If you are growing your Philodendron indoors, keep it near an east or west-facing window where it receives indirect light throughout the day. However, if you are keeping it near a south-facing window, provide only curtain-filtered light as it is prone to leaf burn.
Avoid keeping the plant in very bright light as it is naturally not made to grow in direct sunlight. That said, it does not mean the plant can survive in very low light conditions. Dull or no light conditions cause yellowing of leaves.
If you have no fixed watering schedule, lack of light can also cause problems like root rot and fungus growth around the roots. Once the problem spreads, it becomes difficult to control it.
Watering Philodendron Joepii should be something you do once in one to two weeks in summers to keep it healthy. This is not a strict rule though. The higher the light intensity, the higher will be the watering frequency and vice versa.
So, the watering frequency for Philodendron Joepii will depend on other factors in your areas such as temperature, humidity, climatic zone, and soil mix.
As a general rule, always check the soil by touching it and then determine whether the plant needs water or not. To do that, you should insert a finger in the soil till the second knuckle. If the soil feels dry to touch, then you should water the plant thoroughly.
The Philodendron Joepii watering should be frequent in the active growing season of summer but should be reduced in the winter months.
Philodendron Joepii soil should be moist most of the time. The soil must be uniformly damp to allow the roots to breathe. Keep the soil mix airy and porous so that even if you overwater the plant, it does not get root rot. Essentially, you should try to keep the soil moist and not soggy.
Moreover, do not use the traditional soil mix to grow this Philodendron as it is not airy enough. When the plant roots are deprived of oxygen, they suffocate and eventually die.
So to make a well-ventilated soil mix, add sand, perlite, and bark chunks to the potting soil, as this low-maintenance plant needs well-draining and not rich, heavy soil. You can also add charcoal and gravel to the soil mix to make it porous.
Don’t forget to also check that the soil pH is between 4.5 and 7.5 is ideal for its growth.
Furthermore, use terracotta pots instead of plastic ones if you are a new gardener. We often tend to overwater the plant without realizing that it is causing more harm than good to the plant. So, terracotta and clay pots are great at absorbing extra moisture from the soil, thus keeping control of overwatering.
Being a tropical plant, Philodendron Joepii does not like cold temperatures so, temperatures between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit work well for its growth. Moreover, the temperature should not fall below 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Therefore, in winters, shift your plant indoors to a warmer spot where it gets indirect light during the day.
In any case, you should also try to keep the plant in temperatures below 90 degrees Fahrenheit, since very high temperatures can cause the soil to dry out fast and lack of enough moisture around the tropical plant leads to smaller and paler leaves.
If your plant is outside in frost, bring it inside immediately to a warm place as it is so sensitive to the cold. Cooler temperatures will first make the leaves pale, and then the leaves will start falling off. Eventually, if the plant is kept in frost for longer periods, the plant will die.
Philodendron Joepii loves high humidity conditions, as it belongs to the South-American rainforests where it grows in high humidity levels. We would recommend you to grow it against a wet, moss-covered wall where it can get support and appropriate humidity. Keep the humidity level above 60 percent, especially during the dry summer months.
If you live in a dry area where humidity levels are naturally lower, put humidifiers and humidity trays around the plant. To prepare a pebble tray yourself, fill a tray with some pebbles in the center and water, and place the pot filled with everything on top of this tray.
As the water evaporates in the environment, the plant will absorb the required moisture. You can also group and keep many plants together to regulate the humidity levels, instead of creating a humidity tray for each one of them.
Philodendron Joepii prefers dead, organic matter around its roots to grow well. Moreover, do not remove the rotting vegetation around the plant, as this way, you will deprive the plant of the organic matter it needs to thrive.
So, we recommend using organic fertilizers over chemical ones. This is because even if you over-fertilize the plant with organic fertilizers, it would not damage the plant. Whereas if you are using chemical fertilizers and you over-fertilize the plant, the plant roots will burn.
Organic fertilizers contain healthy bacteria and other microorganisms that help in improving the soil texture. The organic matter also allows the soil to retain water for long periods. Synthetic fertilizers wear the soil resources down and in the longer run, cause more harm than good.
Philodendron Joepii needs to be repotted once every two years or so. Its roots need proper space and nutrients to be healthy. To repot, first choose a pot that is one size larger than the previous one. Do not pick a very deep pot as you will face watering problems later, so the pot must have enough drainage holes at the bottom.
Before planting it, check for dead roots. If you notice any dead roots and old leaves, cut them off.
Next, remove the plant from the old soil mix without disturbing its root system, since the root ball must stick together. If the roots are disturbed, the plant will go into shock and will take a lot of time for it to recover and adjust to its new environment.
Do not pull the plant out of the soil. Instead, turn over the pot and hold it in an upside-down position. This will help the plant to come out on its own.
Prepare a loose and fast-draining soil mix with 40 percent garden soil, 20 percent organic compost, 20 percent sand, and 20 percent perlite. This combination will make a porous and rich mix that is suited to the root system of Philodendron Joepii.
Then, put some gravel and pebbles at the bottom covering the drainage holes. This will prevent soil loss while watering the plant. After that, you should add some soil mix at the bottom and place your plant in the middle to cover its roots with the soil, firming it around the roots.
Water the newly repotted plant thoroughly and keep it in a shaded spot for a few days before it adjusts to the new soil mix.
Propagate Philodendron Joepii by taking stem cutting and placing them either in water or in soil mix directly. The cuttings must be five to six inches long with at least one to two nodes (roots come out of nodes). Moreover, you should remove the leaves from the base of the stem and let only the top one to two leaves stay attached to the plant.
If you are planting your cuttings directly in the soil, you can dip the cuttings in a rooting hormone to speed up the process of root formation, but this step is entirely optional. You can also dip them in a mix of cinnamon powder and honey, as cinnamon helps in preventing fungal diseases.
Furthermore, plant the cutting in a well-draining soil mix and firm the soil around it. Keep the soil mix moist at all times at this stage, since the cuttings need more water to form roots.
The roots may take several weeks to develop. So be patient and wait for the plant to show new growth.
Philodendron Joepii is not a fussy plant, but if its basic growth requirements are ignored for long periods, it can suffer from pest attacks and diseases like fungal infections. These problems are explained in detail below.
Mealybugs can be the most annoying problem of all. They are soft, wingless insects that look like small cotton balls. They suck the sap of the plant tissue and thrive in warm and damp environments. These insects also secrete a sticky substance called honeydew that promotes the growth of sooty mold.
The first symptom of mealybugs is discoloration and yellowing of leaves. If you spot the infestation early, it can be controlled.
First, separate the plant from other plants to prevent the spread of mealybugs. Then rub a damp cotton ball dipped in alcohol on the infected leaves. You should do this because alcohol will get rid of mealybugs to a large extent if they are not widespread.
Finally, try to avoid the chemical treatment for as long as possible as they have significant side effects on PHilodendron Joepii growth.
Trialeurodes vaporariorum or whiteflies also target and suck the sap from indoor plants. You can find them on the undersides of the leaves and they have the potential to injure the plant, cause stunted growth, and reduce plant productivity. Like mealybugs, they secrete honeydew.
To get rid of the whiteflies use organic treatments like applying neem oil on the affected area. You can also use insecticidal soaps if the spread is severe. To prevent whitefly attacks, keep an eye on watering and fertilizing.
– Spider Mites
The quick-spreading spider mites target the undersides of the plant’s leaves, and especially the leaf tissue to suck the plant nutrients. As a result, the leaves dry up and fall off the plant. Try to spot the problem as early as possible, as it makes the treatment less cumbersome.
To treat the plant, quarantine it and keep it away from other houseplants. Then, you should prune the infected parts if the damage is not much. Discard the pruned leaves and stems outside your home so that the spider mites are not able to come back.
After you are done, apply neem oil mixed with water on the affected parts every 10 days to keep the spread in control. You can also use alcohol swabs on the affected parts of the plant.
Aphids are the other insects that can cause severe damage to your plant, so if you notice the leaves getting yellow, curled, and wilted, there might be an aphid infestation. Actually, aphids can greatly hinder the growth of your plant.
To permanently remove aphids, prune off the heavily infected leaves and use organic chemicals like Diatomaceous Earth, which is a natural fungus that can help you get rid of these unnecessary pests and insects.
You can also use neem oil mixed with potassium soap to make a spray of it. Whichever solution you use, you should spray the mixture on the affected areas.
Thrips target the juices and fruits of the plant, and they are quite commonly found in Philodendron Joepii. When affected, the leaves turn pale and silvery first and then die. Furthermore, thrips also cause bends, discoloration, and scars.
To prevent the growth of thrips, remove the plant debris from the soil when it is still green. Moreover, thrips lay eggs in the slits of stems, so keep a check on the stems. Then, also check the plant for damaged leaves and stems. If you regularly use neem oil, you will be able to keep the thrips at bay.
Is Philodendron Joepii a hybrid?
Yes, Philodendron Joepii is a hybrid plant, resulting from the crossbreeding of different Philodendron species.
Does Philodendron Joepii like small pots?
Philodendron Joepii generally prefers smaller pots for optimal growth and development.
Is Philodendron Joepii slow growing?
Yes, Philodendron Joepii is generally considered to have a slow growth rate, requiring time and patience to reach its full maturity.
Philodendron Joepii might be expensive but the odd-looking leaves will make people admire it. If you are aware of the basic Philodendron care and growth requirements, you will not have a major issue caring for this one too.
We have summarized below all the points you need to keep in mind before growing this strangely beautiful Philodendron:
- Philodendron Joepii is a climbing Philodendron native to different parts of South America. The plant has bizarre-looking, tri-lobed leaves that make them seem like they have been damaged due to insect attacks
- It thrives in medium bright, indirect light. It can tolerate low-light conditions but not direct sunlight
- Follow a regular watering schedule, especially in summers, and keep the soil moist at all times without letting it go completely dry.
- Prepare a well-draining soil mix composed of garden soil, sand, organic compost, and perlite
- The warm-growing Philodendron grows well in the temperature range of 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, avoid extremely hot and cold temperatures as it leads to stunted growth
- Maintain the humidity levels above 60 percent to keep the plant healthy. Cover the plant with plastic to retain moisture in hot and dry areas
- Fertilize your plant monthly with a slow-release, organic fertilizer in spring and summer. Reduce or eliminate it in the winter months
- Repot the plant every two years in spring when the plant roots have taken over the entire pot. Choose a new pot only one size bigger than the previous one
- Propagate Philodendrop Joepii by taking stem cuttings with one to two nodes and planting them in a rich, organic soil mix.
- It is prone to various pest and insect attacks such as aphids, whiteflies, mealybugs, spider mites, and thrips. Treat the infestations by using organic methods like neem oil first. If organic solutions do not work, move on to the chemical treatments.
After reading our guide, we hope you find this rare and expensive plant and add it to your houseplant collection, taking care of it well along the way.