Philodendron pastazanum is a rare and highly sought-after species native to Ecuador and Peru, where it grows as an indigenous endemic species. It was discovered in the province of Pastaza in Ecuador in the mid-70s, after which it got its name.
In its natural environment, this large-leaved philodendron crawls on the ground of moist rainforests and streams cliffs, reaching a height of 3 to 5 feet and a width of 4 to 6 feet.
Grown as a houseplant, this heart-shaped philodendron is much smaller in size, but it is still an immense plant that attracts attention with its dimensions and unusual leaves.
What Is Philodendron Pastazanum?
Philodendron pastazanum is a terrestrial, perennial aroid with a rhizome root from which develops the main stem that grows horizontally attached to the ground by aerial roots.
The elongated 15 to 50 inches long, firm cylindrical stalks grow vertically from the stream and carry two feet wide and equally long shiny dark green foliage in a precise shape of a rounded heart. Philodendron pastazanum leaves have a contrasting white rib that divides the leaf surface into pronounced lobes.
Mature specimens bloom in mid-summer with inconspicuous flowers with white spathes followed by seeds forming if pollinated. Yet, the main trump card of this evergreen plant is its gorgeous, sophisticated foliage.
Philodendron Pastazanum Care
Philodendron pastazanum, despite its exotic appearance, is not a demanding plant and can be successfully grown even by absolute beginners. If it might sound surprising, let us have a closer look at Philodendron pastazanum growing needs.
Like all other plants from the damp shade of rainforests, Philodendron pastazanum also does not tolerate positions where the direct sun can reach its delicate leaves. The ideal place is next to the east window, where Philodendron pastazanum will enjoy a few hours of mild morning sunlight.
Although it tolerates partially shaded positions, it will grow more slowly, and the leaves will not reach their maximum if the plant does not have the right amount of light. So the plant requires what the vast majority of other houseplants do, and that is a bright place with a lot of diffused lighting.
During the growing season from March to mid-September, water Philodendron Pastazum moderately, approximately once a week. The surface of the substrate should be lightly dried before watering the plant again.
Since Philodendron pastazanum is sensitive to excess water in the substrate, it is always better to do it less frequently or with smaller amounts of water. When watering the plant, use distilled or stagnant water at room temperature.
During the dormant season, reduce watering to once every 15 days, depending on other conditions such as room temperature or humidity levels.
Like most philodendrons, pastazanum does best in the neutral to slightly acidic (pH 5 to 7), well-draining soil mix, which will not retain moisture for too long. You can grow it in a ready-made substrate for aroid plants that you can get in better-equipped garden centers.
Alternatively, you can make a mixture of 60 percent all-purpose potting soil and 40 percent perlite, to which you could add one handful of orchid clips to gain airiness and provide faster water flow.
Due to its tropical origin, Philodendron pastazanum cannot cope with low temperatures and thrives only if it is protected from frost. Moreover, the lower maximum it can withstand without visible damage is 55 F.
It grows best at a temperature between 65 to 85 F. You should not keep it in the room without heating during the winter or expose it to cold airflow and drafts.
As a garden plant, it grows only in the US climate zone 11, where the winter temperature never drops below 40 F.
An increased moisture level of 65 percent is a significant factor in the cultivation of Philodendron pastazanum. However, the plant is quite adaptable and can tolerate much lower values than the above.
However, if you want to create the conditions in which it will thrive best, choose one of the simple ways to raise the moisture level in the plant’s immediate environment.
- Occasionally spraying the leaves with lukewarm stagnant water
- Wiping the leaves with a wet sponge or cloth
- Pebble tray near or below the plant
- Grouping plants in one part of the space
- Use of a humidifier
When it comes to fertilizing, Philodendron pastazanum, like most plants grown in containers with limited amounts of available nutrients, will benefit from additional feeding. You can use a balanced liquid fertilizer dissolved in water to be applied once a month.
Another option is a slow-release granular fertilizer that you could mix into the substrate at the beginning of the season. Thanks to its composition, such a fertilizer gradually decomposes and provides constant nutritional support for your plant.
You should avoid low-quality fertilizers. They contain salts, which can damage the roots and do more harm than good!
From the end of September until the following spring, there is no need for feeding. It is the period of dormancy, so the plant does not need additional nutrients.
Philodendron pastazanum is a naturally neat plant with leaves that grow orderly along the Philodendron pastazanum rhizome on the ground. Due to such growth, it does not need pruning or cutting other than regular removal of dried and withered or damaged leaves.
Still, if the leaves grow too thick and bother each other, you can cut a few of them together with the stalk they grow on. Cut them to the point where the petiole emerges from the rhizome using sharp, sterile scissors or a knife.
Densely ordered leaves slow down the air circulation between them, which can cause the development of fungal infections, so pruning is an appropriate preventative measure to keep the plant problem-free.
Philodendron pastazanum is seldom found on sale as a container plant. It is much easier to get it in online stores, where you can get it in the form of a cutting with a few leaves and a piece of stem with aerial roots.
In this case, proper planting is crucial for the plant’s survival and further development because the thickened part from which the leaves grow is not the root but the stem, and therefore do not cover it with soil.
If the leaves are large and heavy and the plant is unstable, you can temporarily wrap the substrate around the stem or even cover it with a thin layer of soil. As soon as the aerial roots grow into the soil mixture enough to hold the plant upright, remove the coat with which you covered the stem. Otherwise, it will rot quickly, and the plant will die.
Choosing the Appropriate Pot
Philodendron pastazanum crawls on the ground, so choosing the right pot makes the difference between a plant that thrives and one that only survives. Instead of a standard round pot, choose a rectangular planter. Fill it with soil mixture and place the plant along the narrower side to have as much space as possible to crawl on the surface as it grows.
The plant will, of course, grow in a round pot of large diameter, but such an installation will take up an unnecessary amount of space since the plant does not need a wide but a long pot. For such containers, you will need much more soil to fill them.
This excess soil, which will not be of much use to the plant, also means more watering and potential water retention, which increases the risk of root rot.
Whether growing in a round or rectangular pot, Philodendron pastazanum will fill the pot sooner or later, and it will need new placement. Although it grows relatively quickly, you still don’t have to transplant it often, especially if it grows in a rectangular pot.
Only when the stem starts to stand up along the edge of the container or the roots start to appear through the drainage holes is it time to transplant the plant. You could take a two or three inches wider or longer pot and place your pastazanum near the edge, taking care not to bury the stem but only the root.
After transplanting, water the plant and place it in a sheltered and warm spot. You should not be worried if your pastazanum stagnates for the next few weeks! The process itself is stressful for the plant, so it needs a little time to adapt to the new environment.
Therefore, it is best to transplant your pastazanum in the spring to be ready for growth in the upcoming season.
Philodendron pastazanum can be propagated in several ways: by seed, cuttings, and by dividing clumps. However, the seeds of this plant are difficult to obtain. Plants indoors rarely bloom, and pollination rarely occurs. Therefore, this method, although reliable, is still the rarest in practice.
The simplest method that is most commonly applied is propagation by stem cuttings. The horizontally placed stem has pronounced nodes and an already developed aerial root, which greatly facilitates the propagation process. If you want to try growing new plants, here is how to do it:
Take a sterilized pruning shear to make a clean and precise cut, as the stem can be quite hard, so it is difficult to cut it with scissors or a knife without being crushed.
Cut the stem between the two nodes so that the cut part has already developed aerial roots. It is not to say that cuttings without aerial roots are useless, but the formation of a new plant will take longer.
Cutting and the cut on the parent plant sprinkle with powdered charcoal or ground cinnamon to prevent open tissue infections and speed up wound healing.
You can root the cuttings in water or soil mixture of perlite and all-purpose substrate.
– Cutting in Water
If the cutting has at least one leaf, place it in a jar of water, making sure that the water level is at least one inch below the edge. Change the water periodically to keep it clean. When the cutting develops additional roots after a few weeks, transplant it into a pot with an airy substrate.
– Cutting in Soil
If you opt for soil as a medium, place the cutting in a prepared container filled with a combination of soil and perlite in equal proportions that is moist but not soggy.
Cover the pot with the seedling with a transparent plastic bag to increase humidity and place it in a bright corner with plenty of indirect lighting.
Occasionally remove the cover to aerate the cutting and water when the surface of the substrate is 70 percent dry.
In the next four to five weeks, the cuttings will take root, after which you can expect the growth of new leaves.
When grown under optimal conditions, Philodendron pastazanum is a healthy and resistant plant that is not prone to diseases or pests. Therefore, most of the issues that can occur are due to inadequate conditions or inadequate plant care. Here we will mention only the most common ones:
Yellowing of the leaves is most often the result of excessive watering or insufficiently permeable substrate due to which moisture accumulates around the root ball.
The brown tips of the leaves indicate too dry air or insufficient watering.
Root rot is recognizable by the mushy soft stem with an unpleasant odor. It is a consequence of the soaked substrate. Immediately remove the diseased plant from the pot, air dry for a few hours, and plant in a slightly moistened substrate.
Spotted leaves indicate a fungal infection showing that the plant grows in a room with high humidity or when air is difficult to circulate between the leaves. Remove infected leaves and treat the plant with a fungicide.
Common pests like mealybugs, spider mites, aphids, or thrips may attack your Philodendron pastazanum, just like almost any other plant.
If you regularly clean the leaves of your plant, you reduce the possibility of pests attacking. However, if some of these tiny, sap-soaking parasites survive the cleaning treatment, first isolate the plant to prevent them from spreading to other plants and treat it with insecticidal soap, neem oil solution, or ultimately some chemical insecticide for houseplants parasites.
Let’s go over what we have discussed about the Philodendron pastazanum.
- Place it in a warm room with a temperature of 65 to 85 F all year round.
- Give it monthly top-dressing with mild fertilizers during the growing season or slow-release fertilizers that you add to the substrate in the spring.
- Make sure to maintain the humidity level from 55 to 65 percent, which you will achieve with regular misting or polishing the leaves with a wet cloth.
- Grow it in a light and well-draining soil mixture of 60 percent substrate and 40 percent perlite.
- Do not overdo it with watering! Once a week is usually enough from spring to autumn and once every 10 days in winter when the plant is resting! The plant does not like moisture in the soil.
- The plant grows best in a narrower and longer rectangular pot in which there is enough space to crawl on the ground.
- This astonishing plant comes from the brighter ground layers of the tropical jungle, so don’t expose it to direct sunlight!
Attractive like all other philodendrons but specific in the way it grows, Philodendron pastazanum is a plant that always catches the eye. If you want to host this rare tropical plant in your home, try to provide it with comfortable growing conditions and watch it thrive for years to come.
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