Philodendron tortum is a rare beauty that is unique for its markedly lobed leaves that assume the shape of a lancet. If you need something that satisfies your craving for uniqueness in your home garden, this is the plant that you have been looking for.
This article presents the tried and tested tips that professional caretakers have to discover with regard to caring for and propagating this plant. Make an expert caretaker of Philodendron tortum out of yourself after reading this article.
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Philodendron Tortum Care
Caring for the Philodendron tortum is far from being difficult. All you need is the right information on how to parent this plant. Not to worry, the purpose of this section is to equip you with all you need to know as far as taking care of your Philodendron is concerned.
Philodendron tortum is happy when it is living in moist conditions. However, make it a point to avoid making your plant’s soil soggy, as this may cause root rot. This disease can kill your plant within days.
There are two main factors that can cause overwatering. First, the frequency at which you water your plant can determine how much moisture remains in the soil at each given time. Second, the type of soil that you use, whether it is well-draining or not. Contrary to what many people think, the volume of water that you use has not much to do with overwatering.
When you water your Philodendron tortum, do so just to keep the first inch of the topsoil moist. You can do this at most two times a week during the plant’s growing season. Reduce the watering frequency during the winter and autumn seasons. If you reside in a hot region, you should increase your watering frequency because of the higher rates of transpiration.
Environments that have bright, indirect sunlight are the best for the Philodendron tortum. Prolonged periods under direct sunlight will scorch the leaves of your plant. However, exposure to the direct morning or late afternoon sunlight for about three hours is actually good for your plant.
If you keep your plant in shade for periods between two to three months, the plant will lose a great deal of its beauty. The emerald green colors on the leaves of the plant will begin to fade.
The ideal Philodendron tortum soil should be well-draining, moist, and rich in nutrients. Organic matter is a must-have in the potting mix for Philodendron tortum.
Ideally, the growth medium that you should use for your plant must mimic the plant’s natural hemiepiphyte nature. Here is a viable soil recipe that you can use: 10 percent perlite, 10 percent coco coir, 10 percent sphagnum moss, 10 percent vermiculite, 20 percent peat moss, and 40 percent pine bark chips. Orchid bark can be used in place of pine bark chips. You can also add activated charcoal and worm castings to your soil mix.
Sphagnum moss and coco coir are responsible for the moisture-retaining properties of the potting mix, without promoting waterlogging. Perlite, orchid bark, and pine bark chips enhance the water-draining attributes of the potting mix. Orchid bark and pine bark chips also allow the roots of your plant to attach to them. The activated charcoal prevents pests and infection by microorganisms, while worm castings contribute to the nutritional value of the mix.
Philodendron tortum loves a temperature that resembles that of the Amazonian rainforest. This plant prefers warm temperatures that range between 60 F and 80 F, which is 16 to 29 degrees celsius, respectively. If the temperatures fall below 55 F (12.5 degrees celsius), your Philodendron tortum will experience stunted growth. It may even wither and die.
Philodendron tortum tolerates average levels of humidity, between 40 and 50 percent. Please note that increasing humidity levels to 70 percent and above promotes the development of aerial roots, a state which gives your Philodendron tortum a spindly look. The aerial roots also make propagation much easier.
To increase the humidity levels in your home for the sake of your Philodendron tortum, group your plants together. When you do this, you create a mini biome where plants will share their humidity resources.
Plants constantly lose water through transpiration, so this water vapor surrounds the plant as humidity. Grouping the plants together increases the rate of transpiration, thereby quickly increasing the humidity in the vicinity of the grouped plants.
You can also use a humidifier. Misting and the pebble tray are other interventions that help you keep your house humid enough. To prepare the pebble tray, simply get a shallow tray, add pebbles, and fill it with water. Place the pot of your Philodendron tortum on the pebble tray so that, as water evaporates from the tray, it saturates the air around your plant. In this case, you may want to use a hanging basket instead of a normal pot.
Potted houseplants can easily deplete their nutrient supply because they have the same soil mix over long periods of time. It is, therefore, a noble idea to provide your Philodendron tortum with extra nutrients in the form of fertilizers. Without adding fertilizers, your plant’s growth may become stunted in the long run.
There are various types of fertilizers that you can use for your plant. However, we recommend that you use the Dyna-Gro, which is a 7-9-5 NPK formula. This fertilizer provides your plant with all the 16 essential nutrients that it needs for it to flourish. The Dyna-Gro does not contain urea and it has low concentrations of nitrogen so it doesn’t alter the pH of your potting soil.
Most care guides for plants would recommend that you give your Philodendron tortum some fertilizers once in, say, a month. However, In this guide, we recommend that you provide your plant with a constant flow of nutrients. To do this, simply add fertilizer to your Philodendron each time you water it. For instance, you can add a quarter teaspoon of Dyna-Gro in a gallon of water and then use this to water your plant once a week during the summer and spring.
Considering that Philodendron tortum’s growth rate ranges from moderate to fast, leaving it without pruning might see it assuming untidy appearances and shapes. It is therefore important to occasionally trim the foliage of your plant to maintain its gorgeous outlook. Cut back leaves that are growing out of your desired range, or those that appear diseased and damaged.
Be sure to sterilize the equipment that you use for pruning your plant. You can use 70 percent isopropyl alcohol for the disinfection process. Sterilizing your equipment helps to protect your plant from infection by bacteria, fungi, or viruses. Wear protective clothing during the pruning procedure, especially gloves.
Philodendron tortum can be easily propagated using stem cuttings or air-layering. To increase your chances of growing Philodendron tortum correctly after propagation, enact the process at the beginning of the spring, the time when your plant starts its growing cycle.
Here are the steps on propagating the plant using stem cuttings:
- Select an undiseased stem and make sure that it has about three nodes. Use disinfected pruning shears to cut the stem just below the lowest node.
- Get a small pot and fill it with perlite and sphagnum moss at a ratio of 1:1. Make sure the sphagnum moss is wet but should not be drenched in water.
- Dip the cut end of the freshly cut stem into the rooting hormone powder or solution. This hormone helps to expedite the rooting process.
- ut the stem cutting into the potting mix that you prepared until it goes two to three inches deep. Also, make sure that the nodes on the stem cutting are under the potting mix because this is where the roots of your new plant will emerge from.
- Place the pot with your stem cutting in a warm environment that is exposed to bright, indirect sunlight. Water enough to keep the sphagnum moss moist.
This is how to do it via air-layering:
- Search for older aerial roots that are well-established and shoot out from a healthy node. Wrap some wet sphagnum moss on the node with the aerial roots.
- With the use of a transparent plastic bag, tie a node around the area that is covered with sphagnum moss to a pole. You can also use a press-and-seal food wrap. Make sure the wrap does not trap leaves inside it. Make sure the upper and lower sides of the wrap are open to allow for the roots to freely grow without bouncing up.
- Mist the sphagnum moss through the openings on the coveting plastic bag every day so that it doesn’t dry out. Leave the plant for about three weeks until the roots develop.
- Once the roots develop, remove the sphagnum moss and check to see if they are not diseased.
- Use clean scissors to cut the stem just below the new roots and plant it in a new pot with nutrient-rich, well-draining potting mix.
Philodendron tortum is one of the most resilient plants that you can ever keep in your home. However, you need to help the plant by taking proper care of it to reduce the chances of it being affected by pests and diseases. Let’s explore some of the problems that you should look out for as you care for this plant.
The sap of Philodendron tortum contains calcium oxalate crystals which make the plant toxic when ingested. These crystals also cause skin irritation when you come into contact with part of the plant. For this reason, make sure to put your plant where children and pets do not tamper with it. More restricted rooms such as bedrooms are more appropriate to ensure that there is monitored access to the plant.
Some of the most common symptoms that result from ingesting parts of the Philodendron tortum are swelling of the mouth, esophagus, and gastrointestinal tract. These calcium oxalate crystals prick the mouth and other parts, causing excruciating pain and inflammation. Adverse effects such as nausea, diarrhea, and breathing difficulties are rare but they can occur if large amounts of the plant are consumed.
The pain that results from eating Philodendron tortum usually prevents swallowing any of its parts, let alone the consumption of excess amounts of the plant. However, if a child happens to consume large amounts of the plant, quickly go to the nearest hospital. If the amounts are little, simply wipe the residues to alleviate the pricking pain. Give them a snack like yogurt to set off the bitter taste of the Philodendron tortum.
– Leaf Concerns
The leaves are the part that is most affected by mishaps occurring in the environment or care procedures. If the leaves of your Philodendron tortum are turning yellow, this could be a sign that magnesium is lacking. It could also be because of overwatering. If the plant is in early stages of stress, you might note yellowing on the edges of leaves.
Is your Philodendron tortum getting pale and struggling to maintain the dark green color? If yes, this might be due to too low light conditions. If the light conditions are fine, then some nutrients are missing, and getting a complete fertilizer can rectify the situation.
If the tips of the leaves of your plant are turning brown, the main possible reasons are underwatering and too much bright, direct sunlight. Underwatering the plant can also cause the leaves to become wrinkled or curly.
Patchy leaves distort the dazzling outlook of your Philodendron. Black patches are usually due to exposure to cold temperatures while brown ones are a result of prolonged exposure to bright, direct sunlight. Revise your watering patterns or change the potting mix to a well-draining one to salvage your plant.
– Erwinia Blight
When your plant is affected by Erwinia blight, its stems and leaves will have mushy lesions that are wet. This disease is caused by bacteria that find it easy to attack the Philodendron tortum in high humidity conditions. Preventing this situation is the best way to deal with Erwinia blight, since curing the disease can be a challenge.
There are no compounds that have been reported to completely cure Erwinia blight. However, bactericides that contain copper can reduce the spread of the bacteria. In cases where antibiotics are used to treat the diseased plant, the bacteria adapt and become resistant within a few weeks.
Mealybugs, aphids, scales and spider mites are some of the pests that you should constantly check your plant for. All of these pests are sap-sucking bugs that weaken your Philodendron tortum over time. The damage by these pests is negligible when they are still in low numbers so let’s describe these pests further so that you can easily identify them.
Aphids appear so tiny and they are usually found in clusters but you can get rid of aphids with the proper method. Mealybugs are round-shaped, white, cottony bugs. Spider mites are small spiders that are red or orange in color, whose presence is usually characterized by thick webbings, especially under the leaves. Scales can be yellow, white, or orange and just as their name suggests, they appear like scales on the leaf or steam surfaces. It is also possible to cure your plants from scales.
Neem oil is one of the best insecticides that have guaranteed efficacy against aphids, spider mites, scale, and mealybugs. If you don’t have it, 70 percent isopropyl alcohol also does a great job in destroying these pests when the infestations are still low.
You can also use insecticidal soaps, whether commercial or homemade. Please remember that, before you apply any of the interventions that we mentioned here, first isolate the affected Philodendron in a bid to prevent the pests from spreading to other healthy plants. You can also try adding some plants that are known to repel aphids.