With their beautiful glossy leaves, Philodendron serpens make for great houseplants. In addition, they are a perfect way to add a touch of pizzazz to your indoor garden with their elegant leaves and funky-looking petioles.
Plus, these beautiful plants come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and types of philodendron, so you are sure to find one that you can easily care for in your home or garden.
Let’s have a closer look at what it takes to care for these lovely beauties! This is the ultimate Philodendron serpens care guide that covers everything you will ever need to know to keep these plants thriving.
What Is Philodendron Serpens?
Philodendron serpens is a tropical plant that originated in South America. In the wild, it is naturally found in the area from Columbia to Ecuador. This plant belongs to the Araceae Juss plant family, and its genus is Philodendron Schott. But why is this particular plant called the Philodendron serpens?
“Serpens” roughly translates to a serpent. Perhaps, the Philodendron serpens got this name because when observed from afar, its leafstalk and leaf look like a serpent ready to strike!
Philodendron serpens is also often described as a funky-looking plant. It has large glossy leaves and leafstalk covered in tiny spiky hairs that give this plant an exciting and exotic look. So this is definitely a plant that will stand out in your garden.
The best thing is that Philodendron serpens does not require very intensive care. So even if you have an endless to-do list, you don’t need to worry about caring for this plant, because trust us, it requires very little time and energy. With minimum attention and care, you can have your very own happy and healthy Philodendron serpens blooming in your garden in no time.
Comprehensive Philodendron Serpens Care Guide
Caring for Philodendron serpens is relatively easier when compared to other plant species.
To make things even simpler for you, we have put together this detailed care guide that tells you how much water, sunlight, warmth, and fertilizer your Philodendron serpens need to thrive in your garden.
We have also provided full details on Philodendron serpens propagation so that you can grow your own baby serpens in no time!
So let’s dive straight into the ultimate Philodendron serpens care guide!
– Water Requirements
Like we have said earlier, this plant is not fussy and requires very little attention. You don’t even have to water it daily! Since these plants prefer slightly moist soil, just water them if you notice that the soil has dried. To check, push your finger into the soil, and if it is dry to the touch, then it’s time to water the plant.
Generally, in summers, you will need to water after every two or three days or as soon as the soil feels dry. Other indications that the plant needs water are droopy leaves, or the pot will feel lighter when you lift it. If you notice any of these signs, then it’s time to water your Philodendron Serpens.
This plant will require even less water during the winter, maybe just once or twice a week maximum. However, be careful not to overwater it as stagnant water can cause root rot. If the roots are damaged, you will have to say goodbye to your beloved plant, and we don’t want that. So lay off the watering can in the winters.
– Light Requirements
These plants thrive in lots of sunlight, but you need to be careful not to get them exposed to the harsh noonday sun. Keep them in a spot that receives lots of sunlight and put them under a green shade so that their leaves do not burn in the strong afternoon sunlight.
Periodically shift the position of the pot so that all sides of the plant receive their fair share of sunlight. Otherwise, some parts of the plant may not get an adequate amount of sunlight. When this happens, philodendron Serpens leaves tend to start turning yellow. So rotating the plant from time to time is important.
– Soil Requirements
Philodendron serpens need well-draining soil for optimal growth. To ensure proper drainage, use a pot with multiple small holes at the bottom. Also, remember to place a tray under the pot to collect all the excess water. Once you water the plant, wait for a few minutes for the extra water to drain, then immediately remove the tray and throw away the water.
If the extra water remains under the pot, there is a risk that the roots will rot due to a lack of oxygen. Bacteria in the water may also attack the roots and damage them.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you need to plant your Philodendron serpens in neutral or slightly acidic potting soil. So try to get potting soil that has a pH level in the range of 6.1 to 7.3.
Now, let’s talk about the potting mixture. As mentioned earlier, Philodendron serpens require well-draining soil that retains just the right amount of moisture for the plant to continue growing nicely.
A good potting mixture for these plants should have some perlite to stop the soil from clumping together. This will help maintain good air circulation as well as allow water to drain through the soil properly. Adding a bit of coconut coir is also a good idea to retain just the right amount of moisture in the soil.
– Fertilizer Requirements
Try to fertilize your Philodendron serpens at least once every 3-4 months. But if the plant is struggling to grow, feel free to fertilize it a little more often. Generally, an all-purpose NPK liquid fertilizer is used.
However, the trouble with liquid fertilizer is that you can end up overfertilizing your plant. This is dangerous because too much salt buildup can actually slowly kill the plant over time. To prevent this from happening, we suggest using fertilizer beads instead of liquid fertilizer. The beads slowly release small amounts of fertilizer over a longer period of time, so overfertilizing won’t be an issue.
– Temperature Requirements
Since Philodendron serpens originate from tropical rainforests, they prefer warmer climes. So always try to keep your plant in temperatures that range from 65 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Any temperature below 65 degrees Fahrenheit is too cold for these plants to grow happily.
Additionally, never let them be exposed to frosty weather. Once frost forms on the Philodendron serpens leaves, there is a high chance that the leaves will not be able to withstand the cold, and they may even die as a result.
– Humidity Requirements
Since these plants can adapt to varying levels of humidity, you don’t necessarily have to focus too much on this requirement. However, we suggest that you try to keep them in a spot with higher humidity because that’s what tropical plants usually like. After all, giving your plant some extra love is never a bad idea.
To keep things warm and humid, you can place a humidifier near the plant, especially if you are growing it indoors. A cheaper hack is to fill a tray full of small pebbles with some water and place it beneath the pot.
As the water slowly evaporates, the air around the plant becomes saturated with water vapor, and the humidity level goes up. Another simple hack to recreate humid conditions is to spray the leaves with some water lightly. Your plant will thrive with this extra care.
Now we will tell you about the propagation methods used to grow new Philodendron serpens. Each method has been broken down into steps so that it is easier for you to know exactly what to do.
– Propagation Using Stem Cutting
- For this process, you will need a stem cutting that is about four inches in length.
- Look for a leaf node on a Philodendron serpens stem. You need to make the cut exactly under this node.
- Use sanitized garden shears to make a straight cut under the leaf node.
- Once you have your cutting, place it in some rooting hormone.
- The rooting hormone will help the open cut on your stem cutting to close faster.
- The rooting hormone will also protect your cutting from infection.
- Once the stem cutting has calloused, you can place it in a small pot of soil.
- Use the same soil that you use for mature Philodendron serpens plants.
- Let it have adequate water and sunlight, and in a few weeks, your stem cutting should start having roots.
– Propagation by Air Layering Propagation
- You will need to select one stem on an already fully grown Philodendron serpens plant for this method.
- Use an alcohol swab to wipe your knife so that it is sanitized and germ-free.
- Then use this knife to make a nice deep cut on the stem.
- Put some string in the cut so that it remains open and easily visible.
- Next, take some sphagnum moss and soak it with water.
- Place the moist sphagnum moss in the cut.
- If you have trouble keeping the sphagnum moss in place, then you can hold the moss in place using some tape.
- But remember not to cover the moss with tape fully. Instead, just try to tape down the edges so that the moss remains in place.
- After a few weeks, roots will begin to emerge out of the moss.
- Once the roots are 2-3 inches long, you can take a sterilized knife and remove the moss and the roots from the stem.
- Gently push these delicate baby roots into a small pot with soil that is suitable for a Philodendron serpens plant.
- All you need to do now is follow the standard plant care guidelines for Philodendron serpens, and your baby plant should grow up in no time.
– Seed Propagation
- For this process, soak a few Philodendron serpens seeds in warm water for a couple of minutes.
- Then take a small tray and cover it with a layer of well-draining soil that is suitable for growing seeds.
- Gently push the seeds into the soil layer and spray the soil so that it is moist.
- Cover the tray with a plastic sheet that has tiny holes in it so that the humidity level around the tray stays high.
- Periodically spray the soil so that it stays moist.
- The seeds should germinate in about a month, after which the seedlings can be transplanted into small pots.
– Growth Rate
The philodendron serpens’ growth rate is quite fast, and these plants can grow up to one to two feet in height. Similarly, the leaves of Philodendron serpens have a high growth rate and can grow as wide as five feet.
– Varieties of Philodendron
There is an endless variety of Philodendrons on the market. Some of these varieties are so rare that they are sought after by tropical plant collectors!
Let’s have a quick look at some of the amazing varieties of Philodendrons.
1. Philodendron “Prince of Orange”
This is a hybrid Philodendron. The exciting thing about this variety is that whenever a new leaf grows, it displays beautiful shades of orange, which then turn into a bright green as the leaf matures.
2. Philodendron Glanduliferum
This philodendron is native to Central America. When it is young, its leaves display shades of coral and pink hues. If you can get your hands on this beauty, you will be adding a very rare species to your plant collection.
3. Philodendron Birkin
Just like a fabulous Birkin bag, the Philodendron birkin is known for its stylish pin-striped leaves. This philodendron will surely add a touch of sophistication to any home, office, or study table!
4. Silver Sword Philodendron
This philodendron is also known as the Philodendron hastatum. It is also sought after due to its attractive appearance. Its leaves are narrow and pointed with a slight blue tinge, hence the name Silver Sword.
5. Philodendron Xanadu
This is an eye-catching variety of philodendrons because of the uniquely curled shape of its leaves. It can grow up to four feet and looks excellent in a pot indoors. It is a good plant to keep at home.
Problems You May Encounter With Philodendron Serpens and How to Handle Them
Although Philodendron serpens are very robust plants that do not face many issues, they are still vulnerable to bacteria and pest infestations.
The usual bug enemies that attack Philodendron serpens are mealybugs and thrips. If you notice a white substance sticking to different parts of your Philodendron serpens, that is a sign of mealybugs. These bugs damage your plant by sucking out precious plant sap that your Philodendron serpens needs to survive. Immediate spot treatment with some strong pesticide should get rid of these bugs.
Thrips are also a huge issue because they multiply rapidly, and, just like mealybugs, they suck out all the plant sap. To get rid of them, mix some oil and water and wipe down the leaves with the mixture. It quickly kills thrips before they cause a full-blown infestation.
Another issue that philodendron serpens leaves face is necrotic spots. These are caused by a bacterial infection, and the only way to save the plant is to cut off all the infected leaves before the bacterial disease spreads to the whole plant.
Let’s go through the essential care guidelines once more:
- Philodendron serpens are attractive evergreen plants that can be kept as houseplants quite easily.
- These plants only require water once their soil is dry.
- They also enjoy plenty of sunlight, but it is best to keep them in the shade if they are planted outside.
- Philodendron serpens require a well-draining soil that is slightly acidic and which contains plenty of perlite for good air circulation.
- Slow-release bead fertilizers are the best for these plants.
- Never expose them to frosty weather because it can be fatal for them.
- Try to keep the humidity level high around these plants.
- You can propagate them using stem cuttings, air layering, or seed propagation.
- Philodendron serpens have a high growth rate, so they need plenty of space that can accommodate their large leaves.
- There are many different varieties of philodendron, and many of them can be planted indoors.
- Common problems faced by these plants are necrotic spots and bug infestations.
Now you have all the necessary information about these amazing plants. With these comprehensive guidelines, you should be able to care for your Philodendron serpens plant easily.
They do not require much of your attention. You just need to give them a little love and affection and make sure they receive plenty of warmth and sunshine, and they will thrive in your garden.
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