Philodendron mayoi is an easy-to-care-for, beginner-friendly indoor plant with an exotic appearance that adds a touch of the tropics to any room.
In this guide, we’ll take a close look at everything you need to know about how to keep it alive and thriving for many years and also how to propagate it.
What Is Philodendron Mayoi?
Philodendron mayoi is a tropical plant native to Brazil. It is a recently identified species of philodendron, first described in the year 2000. The plant is named in honor of Dr. Simon Mayo, a botanist working at the Kew Royal Botanic Garden in the UK.
The mayoi plant belongs to the Araceae family, a group of plants commonly known as aroids. These plants produce an inflorescence that consists of a spadix and an arrow-shaped spathe, which is where their name comes from.
Aroids come in a spectacular array of shapes and sizes, and they are one of the most coveted houseplants among collectors and beginner gardeners.
This plant is popular in indoor cultivation due to its stunning foliage. Philodendron mayoi leaves are deeply pinnated, with up to six lobes on each side, and look quite similar to those of a palm tree. They are dark green, with a glossy shine and leathery texture, and can grow up to 10 inches (25 cm) long.
When grown indoors, Philodendron mayoi can reach a height of up to 4 feet (1.2 meters). It can add a truly exotic touch to any room. To make the most of its spectacular leaves, we recommend growing it on a moss pole.
One of Philodendron mayoi’s distinctive features is the reddish coloration on the petiole and leaf veins. You can use the red petiole and red veins on the underside of the leaf to tell the difference between Philodendron mayoi and other similar species, such as Philodendron bipennifolium, P. xanadu, or P. radiatum.
Is Philodendron Mayoi Toxic?
The leaves and stems of Philodendron mayoi contain calcium oxalate crystals. This toxic substance can have several ill effects if ingested, such as nausea, excessive drooling, mouth pain, swelling, and difficulty breathing. If you have pets or small children, make sure you keep it in a room where they won’t have access to it.
Philodendron Mayoi Care Guide
Philodendron mayoi grows best in bright indirect light. You can keep it close to an east or west-facing window and use sheer curtains to filter out some of the sun.
In its native habitat, this plant receives dappled sunlight coming down through the canopy, so mimicking those conditions is a must. If you expose it to direct sun, especially in the middle of the day, the leaves can burn very easily.
The ideal temperature range for growing Philodendron mayoi is between 65 and 82 F (18 to 28 C). Luckily, most homes fall within this range, which means that your philodendron should sit comfortably in any room.
Avoid exposing it to cold or hot air drafts, such as those coming from a heating vent or air conditioner. This plant does not enjoy sudden changes in temperature, which can cause the leaves to turn yellow and fall off.
Like all tropical plants, Philodendron mayoi is not frost-hardy and will struggle to grow if temperatures drop below 55 F (13 C). Exposure to freezing temperatures will kill the plant. You can grow this philodendron outdoors if you live in USDA zone 10, but remember to bring it indoors if it gets too cold during the night.
Keep the soil of your Philodendron mayoi moist but not soaked. This tropical plant is not drought-tolerant, but at the same time, if the soil stays constantly wet, the roots will start to rot.
As a rule of thumb, you should water your philodendron when the top inch of the soil feels dry to the touch. Test the soil with your finger, then give the plant a good, thorough soak. On average, you will need to water your Philodendron mayoi once a week throughout the growing season.
During hot, dry periods, you may even have to water it twice a week. In winter, you can reduce the watering to once every 7 to 10 days. Remember to always check the soil moisture with your finger before watering, and allow the top inch to dry out.
Philodendron mayoi loves high humidity levels, and by high, we mean at least 60 percent. Our homes are nowhere near as humid as the tropical forests this plant hails from, which is why you will need to artificially increase the air moisture around your philodendron.
We recommend using a humidifier, especially if the room is very dry. As an alternative, you can also place the container on top of a pebble tray that’s half filled with water.
Another important aspect is air circulation. In a tropical forest, the air never stands still, unlike in most homes. Ventilation is essential in preventing fungal problems and even pests such as spider mites.
Also, if you’re misting the plant to help boost the humidity, air circulation will prevent the leaves from staying wet for too long, which will also protect the philodendron from stem or leaf rot.
The ideal soil mix for Philodendron mayoi should be well-draining, porous, aerated, and moisture-retentive. In its natural habitat, this Brazilian philodendron grows as both a terrestrial and hemi-epiphytic plant.
It starts life in the understory, then gradually climbs its way up using the trees around it. This means it’s not as pretentious when it comes to the soil as philodendron species that live their entire lives on trees, yet it can’t be planted in just universal potting soil.
We recommend making your own potting mixture for Philodendron mayoi by combining equal parts garden loam, perlite, and orchid bark. This will ensure the fast drainage needed to keep the roots aerated while also providing the plant with nutrients.
Philodendron mayoi is not a heavy feeder. To promote healthy foliage growth, we recommend using a nitrogen-rich fertilizer. Dilute it to half the strength and apply it once a month, from spring until mid-autumn. You don’t need to use fertilizers for this plant in winter.
Pruning and Maintenance
This plant needs very little pruning. As the Philodendron mayoi grows, it will start shedding some of its older leaves. You can either cut them using a sterilized blade or keep them on until they fall off naturally.
The old, yellowing leaves may not look pretty, but the plant still uses them to absorb nutrients. When your philodendron is done with them, they will simply dry out, and you can pluck them off with your fingers.
Philodendron mayoi leaves can attract dust, especially when they reach full size. Once a month, we recommend giving it a gentle shower with room temperature water, to keep them clean. This is also a great way to flush out any fertilizer salts that have built up in the soil.
Repotting Philodendron Mayoi
Philodendron mayoi has a slow to medium growth rate, so you don’t need to repot it too often. In fact, this plant enjoys being a bit pot-bound.
The easiest way to check if your plant needs repotting is by checking the underside of the container. Once you see roots coming out through the drainage hole, it’s time to give it a larger pot.
On average, you will need to repot your Philodendron mayoi once every two or three years. We recommend repotting it in spring when the plant enters its growing season. A container that’s one size larger than the previous one should give it plenty of space for new growth.
Philodendron Mayoi Propagation Guide
There are two methods you can use for propagating Philodendron mayoi: through stem cuttings or air layering. Both methods should be used in spring or summer when the plant is actively growing.
Here are our step-by-step guides for both propagation techniques.
– Propagating Philodendron Mayoi Through Stem Cuttings
- Start by locating the growth node. This is usually the point where the leaf petiole connects to the stem, and, in the case of Philodendron mayoi, it should also have some small, woody lumps, which are the aerial roots.
- Use a sharp, sterilized blade, and cut the stem half an inch below the node.
- Place the cutting in a glass of water. You can also use some rooting hormone if you want to speed things up.
- Keep the glass in a warm, humid room, away from direct sun. Change the water every week to prevent bacteria and algae growth.
- The cutting will start developing roots after a week or so. Wait until the roots are at least 2 inches (5 cm) long, then you can plant the cutting in a container filled with a well-draining potting mix.
– Propagating Philodendron Mayoi Through Air Layering
- Identify the aerial roots. They should be small lumps growing in a circle around the stem, where it connects to the leaf petiole.
- Soak one or two handfuls of sphagnum moss in water, then give it a light squeeze to drain out the excess water.
- Pack the moss around the stem, where the aerial roots are. You can use plastic wrap to keep it in place but leave a gap at the top and bottom. This will allow air circulation to the roots and also allow you to keep the moss damp.
- Check the moss regularly and pour water through the top gap if you notice that it’s becoming dry.
- After a month, you can remove the plastic wrap and the moss to inspect the roots. If they are at least 2 inches (5 cm) long, the stem is ready to be cut.
- Use a sharp, sterilized blade to cut the stem half an inch below the growth node. Then simply plant it in well-draining soil, and provide it with regular watering, plenty of humidity, and bright indirect light until the new plant becomes established.
Common Pests and Problems
Here are the main problems to watch out for when growing Philodendron mayoi.
– Yellowing Leaves
Although it’s normal for old leaves to turn yellow, if all the leaves on your Philodendron mayoi are changing color, this could indicate overwatering problems. Often, this will result in root rot, which can be fatal for the plant. To check for root rot, take the plant out of the pot and look for any roots that are soft and black. Trim them with a sterilized blade, then repot the plant in a well-draining soil mix.
– Drooping Leaves
There are several causes for this. Your Philodendron mayoi could simply be thirsty, but it could also indicate that it’s receiving too much water. Provide the plant with a regular soak, but remember to allow the top inch of the soil to dry out in between waterings.
– Spider Mites and Mealybugs
These pests live underneath the leaves, sucking the sap from the plant and causing wilting and discoloration. Simply spray your philodendron with a solution of water and isopropyl alcohol once a week until all signs of infestation are gone.
The exotic Philodendron mayoi makes a superb addition to any room. Best of all, it’s pretty beginner-friendly for such a coveted houseplant. Just remember the basics, and you can’t go wrong.
- Philodendron mayoi is a tropical plant from the Araceae family, native to Brazil.
- It has large, deeply pinnate leaves, with red petioles and leaf veins.
- To keep this plant healthy, provide it with very well-draining soil, bright indirect light, and high humidity levels.
- A moss pole can help Philodendron mayoi reach its full potential.
- Philodendron mayoi is easy to propagate using stem cuttings or air layering.
- Philodendron mayoi leaves and stems contain toxic calcium oxalate crystals, so keep the plant out of reach of pets and children.
So now that you know how to care for Philodendron mayoi, there’s nothing to stop you from adding this fantastic specimen to your collection.
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