The Philodendron squamicaule is a tropical beauty whose native habitat is the rainforest of South and Central America.
The transition of the Philodendron squamicaule pink leaves to green as the plant matures is an attribute that makes this Philodendron fascinating throughout its existence in your home.
The Philodendron squamicaule red stalks also give your home a unique touch that cannot go unnoticed. This article will provide you with care tips that will help you parent this plant properly.
What Is Philodendron Squamicaule?
The Philodendron squamicaule is a heart-leaved beauty that belongs to the Araceae family. Preferred for its gorgeous foliage and air-purifying attributes, this stunning plant can grow up to 9.8 feet. The Philodendron squamicaule dark leaves resemble those of the Philodendron sepens, but the former has scaled stalks.
Philodendron Squamicaule Care
Caring for any plant is only tricky when you are not sure of what is expected of you. To curb mishaps that might affect your Philodendron due to improper plant care procedures, we will share expert care nuggets in this section.
– Water Requirements
The Philodendron squamicaule loves water but does not do well when exposed to soggy environments. To cater to the plant’s water-loving characteristics, give it a drink once you realize that the first inch of the topsoil is dry. You can check the dryness of the soil by sticking your finger into the soil up to the first knuckle. Using the moisture meter is another viable and more scientific alternative.
Be careful not to underwater your Philodendron as this might kill it. During your plant’s growing season, we recommend that you water it once in about seven days.
Consider stretching this watering schedule during the winter so that you give your plant a drink once in approximately ten days. This is because evaporation and transpiration rates are quite lower in winter. Besides, the plant will be dormant at that time.
When you water your Philodendron squamicaule, do so thoroughly until the water starts to escape through the pot’s drainage holes. You can do this by holding the pot of your plant under running water.
Be sure to water directly on the soil, not on the foliage of your Philodendron as this may make way for fungal, bacterial, and viral infections. If water accidentally spills onto the surface of the foliage, wipe it off with a paper towel and place the plant under the sun to expedite evaporation of any water droplets that you would have missed.
– Light Requirements
Bright, indirect light is best for the growth of the Philodendron squamicaule. If it is provided with too little light, the leaves of this plant will turn dull and pale.
Such changes interfere with the vigorous growth of your plant, considering that photosynthesis processes will be hampered. Remember, photosynthesis requires chlorophyll for it to take place and this pigment is little in plants that are affected by low light levels.
Excessive direct light will also scorch the leaves of your plant, thereby distorting the beauty of your plant. This could also happen if you expose your plant to light for extended periods of time. If you decide to place your plant outdoors for any reason, be sure to cover it with a shade cloth.
There is no harm in allowing your plant to enjoy the direct morning sun for a few hours. The leaves won’t get scorched because the light intensity is not harsh in the morning and later in the evenings.
Nonetheless, if you are growing your plant indoors, consider regularly turning so that all sides receive adequate sunlight. This helps to make sure that your plant does not grow leggy as it searches for sunlight.
– Soil Requirements
The Philodendron squamicaule will thrive well in a growth medium that is well-aerated and relatively moisture retaining. Good aeration in the soil is crucial because it aids proper breathing by the roots of your plant. Once the roots of your plant are unable to obtain the oxygen that the plant needs, respiration is also negatively affected.
A well-draining soil mix is vital for avoiding waterlogging conditions. When the roots of your Philodendron sit in water, they become more susceptible to root rot and other microbial attacks. To improve the water-draining capacity of your plant’s soil mix, adding perlite can help as this component loosens the soil structure.
We also recommend that you consider peat-based soil mixes for the Philodendron squamicaule. Peat has moisture-retaining abilities that assist in proving your water-loving Philodendron with the constant moisture that it needs.
Peat-based mediums also encourage good aeration. The potting mix that you choose for your plant should have pH ranges between 6.0 and 7.0, which align with the growth requirements of your Philodendron squamicaule.
– Temperature Requirements
Warmer temperatures are the best for growing your Philodendron squamicaule, considering that it is a tropical plant. Interestingly, the temperature needs of this plant are similar to those that naturally exist in your indoor environment.
This makes it possible for you to imitate the tropical temperatures with elevated ease. The ideal temperature ranges for growing your Philodendron squamicaule are between 77 and 80.6 degrees Fahrenheit.
It is important to note that this Philodendron is not frost resistant. Therefore, be sure to place it on spots that are warmer, especially during the winter seasons. In colder climates, growing your plant indoors is a better option, compared to outdoors. You can also consider growing your Philodendron squamicaule in terrariums or greenhouses, where temperatures are warmer.
Please, avoid exposing your Philodendron beauty to temperature fluctuations as this takes a toll on the healthy growth of the plant. Avoid turning on heaters in the rooms where your plant is. Also, do away with cold drafts from windows and other openings, especially during winters.
– Humidity Requirements
High humidity is essential for maintaining the fresh and vivid outlook of your plant. We recommend that you maintain humidity levels of around 70 percent to keep your Philodendron jovial.
Considering that its native growth environment is the rainforest, the Philodendron squamicaule will undoubtedly do well when it is provided with high humidity levels.
Misting is a great way of increasing the humidity levels around your plant. However, be sure to wipe the leaves of your Philodendron after misting to reduce vulnerability to pest and microbial attacks. Grouping your houseplants together additionally helps to elevate the humidity in your plant’s surroundings.
Furthermore, you may consider using the pebble tray to raise the atmospheric moisture around your plant. Simply add water to a tray with pebbles, and place the pot of your plant on top of it.
Just make sure that the bottom of the pot is not in direct contact with the water, as this might enhance waterlogging conditions. The water evaporating from the pebble tray will saturate the plant surroundings, making them more humid.
– Fertilizing Requirements
Like any other plant, the Philodendron squamicaule requires nutrients for it to grow and get nourished. While some of these nutrients can be provided by the soil medium, they deplete with time as the plant progressively uses them. This is where fertilizers come in, as they provide the plant with a constant nutrient supply.
A liquid fertilizer that contains equal proportions of phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium is the best pick for this Philodendron. Feed your plant every month during its growing season, which is summer. As you approach winters and falls, reduce your fertilizer supply and limit it to once every six to eight weeks.
While adding fertilizers can increase the vibrancy of your plant, excessive supply can do more harm than good. Excess fertilizer is not used up by the plant so it accumulates in the soil, making it more compacted and less aerated.
This tampers with your plant’s ability to absorb water and nutrients, a scenario that might lead to the death of your plant. Mind you, fertilizer residues that accumulate in the soil can also alter its pH.
You can prune your Philodendron squamicaule for two significant reasons. First, you can do it to control the size of the plant according to your preferences. Second, you can prune your plant to do away with parts that might have been affected by pests and diseases.
In some cases, your Philodendron squamicaule may drop older leaves without your input, but if it doesn’t, you can prune them off to maintain the gorgeous appearance of your plant.
Pruning your plant also encourages better growth. This probably explains why pruning is best done at the beginning of your plant’s growing season. Remember to wear your gloves when you handle your plant. Also, ensure that the pruning shears you use are well sterilized using 70 percent isopropyl alcohol.
Propagating the Philodendron squamicaule is best done from mid-spring to early summer. You can reproduce the plant using seeds or stem cuttings.
– Using Stem Cuttings
Using sterilized equipment, get a stem cutting that is about two to three inches long from the parent plant. Dip the cut end in a rooting hormone to increase the chances of healthy root development. The rooting process can either be done in water or soil, depending on your preferences.
To root your plant in water, get a glass jar and fill it with water. Dip your stem cutting into the water, making sure that its leaves are on top of the water surface.
After every two to three days, change the water to minimize the probability of microbial infections. Once you see the roots developing, you can then transfer your cutting to a soil medium.
If you want to use the soil as the soil medium for rooting your plant, simply dip the cut end of the cutting into a potting mix in a pot. Fertilize the cutting and water it the same you would for the parent plant.
– Using Seeds
This method is tedious and time-consuming. However, it is more appropriate if you intend to propagate many Philodendron squamicaule plants at the same time. To start the process, get healthy seeds from the plant’s fruits and allow them to dry. Sow these seeds into a well-aerated potting mix that is rich in nutrients.
Water the seeds and place the pot on a spot that receives bright, indirect light. Add some liquid fertilizer to these seeds once every month to ensure their nourishment.
Despite being an easy-care plant, the Philodendron squamicaule is not resistant to attack by pests and diseases. Some of the issues that you should be on the lookout for are highlighted in the section below.
The Philodendron squamicaule is toxic to humans and pets so we recommend that you place it out of your children’s and pets’ reach. The toxicity is due to the fact that the leaves of the Philodendron contain oxalate crystals.
If the leaves of the plant are consumed in large amounts, some of the signs that you should be on the lookout for are irritation and possible swelling of the esophagus, mouth, and gastrointestinal tract.
Upon consumption of the leaves of the Philodendron squamicaule, quickly contact health professionals for assistance. If it’s a pet that ingested the plant’s foliage, seek help from the veterinary.
You are unlikely to encounter many problems with diseases as you take care of your Philodendron. However, you need to be careful of root rot and fungal infections. Root rot is usually due to overwatering. Make sure that the topsoil of your potting mix is dry before you give your plant the next drink.
The first port of call when your plant has been affected by fungi is to isolate the plant from other houseplants. You can then prune the affected parts of the fungi that have not yet spread throughout the plant.
Spraying your plant with commercially available fungicides is a great idea. You can also prepare your own homemade fungicide by mixing Epsom salt and water together. Spray your plant with this mixture to deal with fungi. As a prevention measure, ensure the potting mix is free from infections. Consider repotting your plant to a blend that is sprayed with a fungicide.
Fungus gnats and spider mites are the pests that mainly affect the Philodendron squamicaule.
When your plant is infected by spider mites, you will see some white webbing on its foliage. Spider mites are sucking pests, so they drain the vitality of your plant, making it appear weak and tired. When the infestation is still low, dabbing the pests with 70 percent isopropyl alcohol will significantly reduce the number of problems in numbers. You can also forcefully wash your plant with lukewarm water.
Insecticides that contain pyrethrin or permethrin are effective against spider mites. You can also buy insecticidal soap or make your own. For a homemade insecticidal soap, simply mix 2.5 tablespoons of liquid soap, the same amount of vegetable oil, and a gallon of distilled water. Mix well and spray your Philodendron squamicaule.
Organic pesticides such as Neem oil are relatively safe for use. Neem oil closes the breathing pores on the surface of the mites, ultimately leading to death. Another advantage of using Neem oil is that the insecticide is effective for all stages in the life cycle of the spider mites. Therefore, using it regularly significantly deals with these pests.
Additionally, fungus gnats are more likely to affect your plant when then humidity levels are too high. These insects are the tiny black insects that you might see flying and buzzing around your Philodendron. Getting rid of these annoying bugs is not so easy, but we will give you some helpful tips here.
Mixing hydrogen peroxide at a ratio of 1:4 creates a solution that is effective at dealing with fungal gnats. Be sure to use the hydrogen peroxide solution when the topsoil of your potting mix is dry. While using this solution once is still effective, repeating the treatment yields better results. Repotting your plant also helps to get rid of the infected potting soil.
You can also use yellow sticky cards for dealing with fungus gnats. These are effective when bug infestations are high. The cards are yellow because adult fungus gnats are attracted to that color. Once they get into contact with the cards, they get stuck. Insecticides such as Neem oil and dish soap can also kill fungus gnats.
With all the information that you obtained from this article, taking good care of the Philodendron squamicaule can never be more straightforward. Here are some points that you should keep at the tips of your fingers:
- The Philodendron squamicaule prefers environments with high humidity levels that are above 70 percent.
- This plant thrives best in temperature ranges between 77 and 80.6 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Soils that are nutrient-rich, well-draining, and moisture-retaining are best for growing the Philodendron squamicaule.
- Though the latter is relatively time-consuming, you can propagate the plant through stem cuttings or seeds.
- Be on the lookout for pests like spider mites and fungus gnats.
You have just been fully equipped for the exciting journey of caring for the dazzling Philodendron squamicaule. Enjoy the escapade!