The Philodendron lupinum is a fantastic plant, mainly for its “ever-changing” nature and the tropical accent that it adds to any place.
Despite the complications associated with the plant’s growth in its natural habitats, Philodendron lupinum is projected to be an “easy-care” plant. Let’s get into the details of how to take care of this plant.
Philodendron Lupinum: An Eagle’s View
Philodendron lupinum is classified under the Araceae family of plants. This plant is a hemiepiphyte because its early stages of life are spent in building the canopy before it then focuses on taking its roots to the ground.
This tropical plant has small leaves in its immature stages, with an average size of 2 inches. The underside of these leaves is maroon in color, while the top appears velveted.
As the Philodendron lupinum grows, the leaves transform and grow five to six times bigger than those of the juvenile plant. They adopt a corrugated design on top, while the underside retains the maroon color.
The climbing ability of Philodendron lupinum is a strategic adaptation for reaching out for light. This characteristic is why the plant always grows toward the light. The darker, maroon side of the plant is another light adaptation as it reflects light toward the upper cells responsible for carrying out photosynthesis.
Philodendron Lupinum Care Requirements
Whether indoors or outside, the Philodendron lupinum has very few care requirements that suit busy and minimalist lifestyles.
Light and Temperature
Philodendron lupinum adapts well in various light environments. However, avoid direct sunlight.
Most houseplants are preferably placed close to the window to match their bright light requirements. Meanwhile, Philodendron lupinum can be placed anywhere in your home because it can thrive in the absence of ample light requirements. It can even do so well in the bathroom, considering that its humidity requirements are high.
The plant thrives well in temperatures between 55 F and 80 F during the day. At night, temperatures above 55 F are conducive because Philodendron lupinum is a tropical plant. The better part is that these temperatures can be easily attained and maintained in home settings.
Philodendron lupinum is easily damaged by temperatures that are too low because it’s not frost-resistant. On the other hand, temperatures above 80 F may cause the plant to wilt.
Philodendron lupinum is a drought-resistant plant, so it can still survive without you having to follow strictly frequent timetables for watering the plant, which implies that even if you forget to water the plant for a while, it will still survive the stress.
If by any chance excessive dryness has affected the plant, it will bounce back when you water it. These are some of the reasons why this plant is suitable for decorating offices.
Although the plant requires moist conditions, soggy conditions make it unhappy. We, therefore, recommend that you skip watering to regulate the moisture. In winter, you should reduce your average watering frequency to the extent that the soil should be barely moist.
Each time you water the plant, do it thoroughly until water begins to drip through the pot’s drainage holes. You can even water the plant from beneath the pot, thereby enhancing the growth of healthy roots that can grow further down the pot. Remember, roots grow toward the water. Besides, you reduce the chances of fungal attacks on your topsoil by using this watering technique.
Philodendron lupinum grows well in moist soils that are rich in organic matter. The best way to achieve soil conditions appropriate for the plant is by avoiding two types of soils. First, steer clear of too wet soils that hold water, such as clay and mucky soils. Second, do not use loosely packed soils that drain excessively and leach nutrients, for example, sandy soils.
Prepare the soil for your plant by mixing orchid bark, regular growers mix, and perlite at an amount ratio of 1:1:1. The soil mix gives your plant a well-draining growth medium that retains moisture. The perlite enhances good aeration for proper root growth.
Mixing one part vermiculite and one part peat is another option that you can consider. Using a hundred percent moss works equally well for Philodendron lupinum.
The advantage of using moss is that it provides flexibility about where you can put your plant. For example, you can grow your plant in a boat-shaped piece of bark.
The plant thrives well under highly humid environments. However, it still grows well in humid conditions that are available in various households.
The velvet-feel on the surface of the leaves of Philodendron lupinum is responsible for absorbing and retaining moisture, among other functions. The young plants have hairs that serve as an adaptation to highly humid settings.
When large drops of water fall on the plant’s leaves, they will roll over the hairs to avoid direct contact with the plant tissue. This adaptation avoids concerns such as the formation of molds on plant leaves that may result from the accumulation of water.
The fact that Philodendron lupinum can adapt to a range of humidity conditions does not necessarily mean that the plant can abruptly switch between environments that differ in humidity conditions.
Suppose you are given the plant as a gift by a friend who has been growing it under 90 percent humidity. It will take some time for the plant to adjust to the 45 percent humidity in your home. The opposite is also true.
Fertilizers that provide magnesium and calcium are ideal for Philodendron lupinum. If these nutrients are absent, the plant leaves will lose their green vigor and become pale.
You can fertilize your plant in summer and spring but not in winter. In spring and summer, add moderate amounts of fertilizer to the plant once every month. Alternatively, you can dilute the fertilizer so that it reduces its strength by half. Be sure to place the fertilizer a distance from the plant’s stalk.
Curly leaves and brown tips are a sign that you might be adding too much fertilizer. Too much salt in the soil might burn the tips of the plant’s leaves. We also recommend that you water the plant before adding your fertilizer to reduce the probability of burning your plants.
Suppose you want your Philodendrons to multiply; no worries because you can propagate the plant with much ease. There are a few strategies that you can use for propagating your plants. We will explore some of them here.
Stem cuttings are the easiest way to reproduce your plants. One of the reasons for this is that the stem cuttings of Philodendron lupinum can easily adapt to the soil. As a result, they take less time to develop new growth, as compared to other houseplants.
Be sure to select a pest and disease-free plant before you create your cutting. Ideally, you would want to take less than 30 percent of the whole plant for your cutting. However, it should have at least one leaf and one node on it. For longer cuttings, reveal the nodes by removing the leaves at the bottom of the cutting.
Now, you can wrap the nodes of your cutting in sphagnum moss if you will not submerge them in water. Leave the cutting until it develops roots that are a few inches long. From this stage, you can transfer your plant to another pot that you prepared. Alternatively, you can leave it to grow in the sphagnum moss for its lifetime.
It is possible to grow your plants from seeds though this is a slow process. Buy your seeds and place them in well-fed soil, about a third inch deep. There is no need for you to soak them prior to planting them. You can use a box to grow your seeds.
Leave them for approximately 2 to 8 weeks for them to germinate. Meanwhile, regularly spray the soil to maintain a moist environment for the seeds. Ideally, the soil temperature should range between 68 F and 73 F.
Once your plants are sprouting, let them grow until they are sturdy. You can then transplant the seedlings to new pots that you would have prepared so that they can develop stronger roots without being overcrowded; adding moderate amounts of fertilizers once a month can expedite the seedlings’ growth.
Remember, you cannot use old plants for propagation through stem cuttings. However, if that’s all you have, you still have an option. You can air-layer your plant to reproduce more of them.
Cut halfway through a mature branch of your Philodendron at an angle of 45 degrees. Remove a small piece of plastic, say, from a bottle and insert it on the cut you have made. Wrap some moss onto the cut area of the plant before tying the moss onto the stem, using plastic wrap and string.
Roots will start appearing on the moss in about two weeks. When you notice a good root system growing on the moss, you can take the new plant on the moss from the cut area. Put the plant together with its moss in a new pot. Ensure that the pot is large enough to allow for proper root growth and drainage.
Philodendrons are beautiful plants to behold, but the story can be different if they are savaged by pests and diseases, among other problems. Their vigor and beauty are stolen. However, there are many things that you can do to protect your plants, as well as treat them if they are attacked. Let’s discuss some of these options in this section.
Be on the lookout for aphids on your plants by consistently checking the soft parts of your plant, like the leaves and areas of new growth. These pests depend on sucking the sap of your plants for survival, which is why they can have extremely devastating effects if not controlled. The preventative measure that we recommend is to wash your plants using a garden hose constantly.
If you are growing your plants outside, you might get rid of aphids by introducing natural predators such as ladybugs and green lacewings. Interestingly, the larvae of these predators are the ones that consume more aphids than their adult forms. Therefore, there should be enough aphids to feed them so that they keep reproducing and develop into more larvae.
Neem oil is commonly used to eradicate aphids by suffocating them. To dilute the oil properly, follow the instructions on the packaging. You can also prepare your essential oil spray mixture using thyme, clove, peppermint, and rosemary. Mix about five drops of each of these essential oils with water and spray your plants, especially on the leaves’ underside, where eggs and aphids are found in abundance.
Scales appear like small scales on the surface of your plant. These pests are hidey because behind that “scale” is a pest that is busy feasting on your plant while destroying it at the same time. They are usually found on the stems and nodes where they appear like aerial roots, which is why it can be difficult to identify them.
The best and maybe the only feasible way for addressing an attack on your plant by scale is by mechanically removing them. Sprays do not usually work against these pests. In the few cases where they might seem to work, the scale quickly develops resistance against the sprays and attacks even more.
Like aphids, mealybugs draw your plant’s sap. If you see something looking like “cotton balls” on your plant, mealybugs have attacked them.
When they are still in small numbers, you can use cotton wool dipped in isopropyl alcohol to dab them. Suppose it’s already late, and the infestations are high; they try washing them off using hose water. If nothing seems to work, insecticidal treatments such as Neem oil can do a better job.
– Bacterial Leaf Spot
Bacterial leaf spot is characterized by damp, black spots on the leaves of your plant. If, say, a few leaves have been affected, simply remove the attacked part to protect the rest of your plant. However, if the whole plant has spots, it is unfortunate that there is nothing much you can do other than destroying the whole plant and protecting the rest of your plants.
Now that you have gained enough knowledge to grow your Philodendron lupinum, let’s summarize the “must-knows” once again:
- Philodendron lupinum is a hemiepiphyte that belongs to the Araceae family.
- It is unique for transforming its appearance as it grows.
- It tolerates temperature ranges between 55 F and 80 F.
- The plant is drought resistant but requires moderate moisture for optimum growth.
- Philodendron lupinum tolerates high humidity.
- It grows well on moist soils that are rich in organic matter.
- Fertilizing the plant in summer and spring is ideal, but not in winter.
- The plant can be propagated through seeds, stem cuttings, and air-layering.
- The common pests to look out for are mealybugs, aphids, and scale.
- The plant can be affected by bacterial leaf spots.
With all the soft tools for growing and maintaining your Philodendron lupinum yourself, what is there to wait for? It’s time to practice, gain experience, and become an expert in taking care of the Philodendron lupinum!
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