Philodendrons, popular and versatile houseplants, are known for their lush, tropical foliage, making them an attractive choice for both indoor and outdoor spaces. But can they thrive outside? The answer largely depends on the climate in which you live.
These tropical plants can grow outdoors with success in warm weather climates where temperatures do not dip below 55 degrees F (13 C), although they prefer temperatures ranging from 70 to 80 degrees F (18 to 27 C)1. For gardeners living in USDA zones 9-11, growing philodendrons outdoors is a viable option, as long as they are placed in a partial sun location and given adequate shade during intense sunlight hours2.
However, if you live outside of these zones or experience temperatures below 50 degrees F (10 C), it is necessary to bring your philodendron indoors to protect it from potential damage3. By taking into account your specific climate and temperature conditions, you can determine whether growing a philodendron outside is suitable for your situation.
Outdoor Vs Indoor Growth
Philodendrons are popular houseplants, often grown indoors for their stunning foliage and easy care. However, these tropical plants can also be grown outdoors in the right conditions. The key to successfully growing philodendrons outside lies in providing them with a suitable environment that mimics their native habitat.
Indoor growth offers more control over factors such as temperature, humidity, and light levels, ensuring that the plants thrive. On the other hand, growing philodendrons outdoors presents a few challenges, like maintaining optimal temperature and protecting the plants from harsh sunlight.
Temperature plays a significant role in the health of philodendrons. They prefer warm temperatures and cannot withstand freezing conditions. In fact, philodendrons thrive outdoors in warm climates where nighttime temperatures don’t dip below 55 degrees Fahrenheit (13 degrees Celsius). Ideally, temperatures should be above 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18 degrees Celsius) for optimal growth.
If you live in USDA zones 9-11, you can grow philodendrons outdoors year-round, as the climate in these zones closely resembles their tropical native habitat. In other zones, you might consider moving philodendrons outdoors during the summer season when temperatures are above 55°F but bring them indoors when the weather cools down.
In addition to proper temperature, philodendrons need the right amount of sunlight. They will suffer from leaf burn due to direct sunlight. To avoid this, plant your philodendrons in an area that receives partial sun or full shade. This will ensure that they receive enough light without damaging their delicate leaves.
Here are some tips for successfully growing philodendrons outdoors:
- Choose a location that receives partial sun or full shade.
- Make sure the soil is well-draining.
- Provide some sort of support for your plant, like a trellis or fence.
With the right care and consideration, you can successfully grow philodendrons outdoors and enjoy their lush, tropical beauty in your garden.
How to Grow Philodendrons Outside
Selecting a Suitable Location
To successfully grow philodendrons outside, it’s essential to pick the right spot for them. You should choose a location in your yard that gets partial sun, as philodendrons thrive in dappled sunlight, and has well-drained soil to prevent water stagnation. Keep in mind that they can grow outdoors all year if you live in USDA zones 9 to 11; otherwise, you can only plant them outside during the summer when temperatures are above 55°F (source).
Planting the Philodendron
Before transferring your indoor philodendron to an outdoor location, acclimate it to the new environment by gradually exposing it to more sunlight each day. When planting, use a highly organic soil or a professional soil mix from your local greenhouse. This will provide the nutrients and good drainage that philodendrons need to thrive (source).
Watering and Fertilizing
Philodendrons require consistent moisture to grow well; however, it is crucial not to let them sit in water, as they don’t like soggy roots. Water your outdoor philodendron when the top 1-2 inches of soil feel dry to the touch. Fertilize them monthly during the growing season, using a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer to encourage lush growth and vibrant foliage (source).
Pruning and Pest Control
To maintain the shape and size of your outdoor philodendron, prune them regularly by removing dead or yellowing leaves and trimming back excessive growth. Pruning can also help improve air circulation around the plant, which can help prevent pest infestations.
Pest control is essential for maintaining the health of your outdoor philodendron. Inspect your plants regularly for signs of pests such as aphids, mealybugs, or spider mites. If you notice any infestations, use organic or chemical pest control methods to eliminate the pests and prevent further damage to your philodendron.
Types of Philodendrons Suitable for Outdoor Growth
There are several types of philodendrons that can be grown outdoors, exhibiting a good adaptation to varying conditions. Some popular examples include the Xanadu, Heart Leaf Philodendron, and Philodendron Brasil.
- Philodendron Xanadu: The Philodendron Xanadu is a large, attractive plant suited for both home and office settings. This low-maintenance philodendron is characterized by its deeply lobed leaves and compact growth habit. It thrives in well-drained soil and partial shade, making it an excellent choice for outdoor cultivation.
- Heart Leaf Philodendron: Also known as Philodendron hederaceum, this type of philodendron has heart-shaped leaves, perfect for adding a touch of warmth and love to your outdoor space. The Heart Leaf Philodendron can grow outdoors in zones 10-11, preferring plenty of shade and high humidity levels for optimal growth.
- Philodendron Brasil: This fast-growing philodendron is a beautiful species with variegated leaves, which can add a splash of color to your garden. Typically hung on walls or from roofs, these plants can thrive outside in suitable conditions. They prefer indirect sunlight, making them a great option for decorative purposes on patios, balconies, or exterior walls.
Some other philodendron types, such as the tree-like varieties, can also be grown outdoors but tend to perform better as indoor plants. For example, the upright variety of philodendron grows slowly and is limited in size by the pot, making it an ideal choice for an indoor plant.
When selecting a philodendron for outdoor growth, it’s crucial to consider the specific environmental conditions and characteristics to ensure that the plant thrives in its new habitat. As long as the right care and attention are provided, these beautiful plants can enhance your outdoor spaces and make a fantastic addition to your garden.
Potential Challenges and Solutions
One of the main challenges you may face when growing philodendron outside is adapting the plant to changing weather conditions. Philodendrons are native to tropical regions, making them more suitable for USDA zones 9 to 11. However, outside these regions, they may struggle to survive weather changes.
To overcome this, ensure you provide adequate shade at midday, especially in intense light conditions, as philodendrons prefer partial sun and can tolerate considerable shade. Additionally, avoid exposing them to cold or freezing temperatures, since they cannot survive in such conditions. Instead, place your philodendron indoors or provide adequate protection during winter months.
Disease and Pest Issues
Another challenge you might encounter when growing philodendron outdoors is the risk of diseases and pests. Common pests that affect philodendrons outside include aphids, mealybugs, scale insects, and whiteflies. These pests can cause significant damage to the plant’s leaves and may eventually lead to its death.
To prevent and control these pest issues, consider some of the following strategies:
- Inspect your plant regularly for signs of damage.
- Use preventive treatments such as insecticidal soaps or neem oil.
- Remove affected parts of the plant promptly and dispose of them properly.
Common diseases that affect philodendrons outdoors are usually caused by poor growing conditions or a lack of proper care. To reduce the risk of diseases, consider the following tips:
- Ensure proper drainage and avoid overwatering.
- Provide adequate airflow around the plant to minimize humidity.
- Keep the leaves clean to prevent the buildup of dust and debris.
When growing philodendron outdoors, it’s important to be aware of their toxicity. These plants are toxic to both people and pets, causing severe inflammation of the mouth and throat if ingested. Their sap can also cause skin irritation, making it crucial to take precautions. Remember to:
- Wear gloves when handling or trimming the plant.
- Disinfect pruning tools after use.
- Place the plant in an area where children and pets cannot easily access it.
By being mindful of these potential challenges and taking appropriate actions, you can successfully grow your philodendron outdoors with minimal issues.
In summary, philodendron plants can indeed be grown outside, especially in warm climates with temperatures consistently above 55 degrees F (13 C). It is important, however, to remember that these tropical plants prefer shady locations with indirect sunlight, as full sun exposure can cause the leaves to become sunburned.
If you plan to transition your philodendron from an indoor to an outdoor environment, make sure to acclimate them gradually over a 7-10 day period. This will give your plants the best chance of successfully adjusting to the new conditions.
When it comes to caring for outdoor philodendron plants, providing consistent moisture is crucial. In hot and humid environments like USDA Zones 9-11, philodendrons thrive and require less maintenance.
Finally, philodendron plants can be grown outside during the summer months in regions where winters are cold or freezing. However, it is essential to ensure that they receive adequate shade and protection from excessive sunlight.
By following these guidelines and understanding the specific needs of philodendron plants, you can successfully grow and enjoy these vibrant tropical plants in your outdoor space.
My name is Daniel Elrod, and I have been houseplant love ever since I was 17. I love how much joy they bring to any room in the home. I’ve always been amazed at how a few pots of flowing leaves can turn a drab and sterile office into an inviting place where people love to work at.