How to Support Philodendron: Expert Care Tips Explained

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Philodendrons are popular houseplants known for their vibrant foliage and easygoing nature. These plants come in a variety of shapes and sizes, including vining and upright varieties, making them a versatile addition to any indoor space. As a philodendron grows, it may require some support to maintain its shape and prevent it from becoming unruly or damaged.

Supporting your philodendron can be achieved through various methods, such as using a moss pole, staking, or even hanging pots. Moss poles are a popular choice for those who want to encourage the plant to grow upwards, providing extra support and mimicking its natural growth pattern in the wild. On the other hand, staking using heavy-gauge wire or other materials helps keep the plant’s vines in place without obstructing its aesthetic appeal.

Hanging pots are another great way to showcase your philodendron’s cascading vines, creating a natural and eye-catching display. Regardless of the support method chosen, understanding how to properly care for and support your philodendron ensures a thriving and visually appealing indoor plant.

Understanding Philodendron


Philodendrons are tropical plants with a diverse range of growth patterns and foliage types. They are known for their easy-care nature, making them a popular choice for both beginner and experienced plant enthusiasts. These plants are generally unfussy and can tolerate neglect like low light, poor soil, and inconsistent watering. Most philodendrons are not particular about humidity levels, but they tend to grow better in higher humidity environments 1.

Types of Philodendron

There are two main types of philodendrons: vining and non-vining. Vining philodendrons are climbers that can be trained to grow on supports like poles or trellises. Some examples of vining philodendrons include the popular heartleaf philodendron and the velvet-leaf philodendron. Vining philodendrons are often grown as trailing plants that can add a touch of lush greenery to any indoor space 2.

Non-vining philodendrons, on the other hand, are more compact and bushy in their growth habits. These types are often chosen for their stunning foliage and their ability to add a bold, tropical statement to a space. Examples of non-vining philodendrons include the elephant ear philodendron and the philodendron “Birkin.” Both types of philodendron are well-suited for indoor growth and can be incorporated into a variety of interior design styles 3.

In conclusion, understanding the characteristics and types of philodendrons can help gardeners choose the right plant for their needs and provide proper care to ensure a thriving, beautiful addition to their indoor spaces.

Fundamentals of Philodendron Care

Watering Requirements

Although philodendrons are low-maintenance plants, they require specific watering practices. It is important to let the soil’s top layer dry out before watering again. Overwatering can cause root rot and other problems, so it is essential to maintain a balance for the plant’s well-being. Check the soil’s moisture level regularly to determine when it is time to water your philodendron.

Lighting Conditions

Philodendrons thrive in bright, indirect light, making them suitable for most indoor locations. However, they can also tolerate low light conditions. Keep them away from direct sunlight, as it may damage their delicate leaves. For optimal growth, provide filtered light through sheer curtains or place the plant near a window that receives ample natural light.

Temperature and Humidity

These plants prefer warm temperatures, ideally between 65°F and 85°F. Avoid exposing them to sudden temperature fluctuations or drafts, as it might stress the plant. Philodendrons also enjoy high humidity levels. To maintain adequate humidity, you can:

  • Mist the leaves regularly with a spray bottle.
  • Place the plant on a tray filled with pebbles and water.
  • Use a humidifier near the plant.

Soil Type

Philodendrons require well-draining soil that retains enough moisture to support the plant but doesn’t become soggy. A mix of peat moss, perlite, and potting soil works well for these plants. You can also purchase a potting mix specifically designed for philodendrons or aroid plants to ensure proper drainage and moisture retention. Regularly check the soil quality and replace it as needed to support your philodendron’s growth and health.

Fertilizing Philodendron

Philodendrons are popular houseplants that require regular fertilizing to support their growth and overall health. One important aspect of caring for these plants is choosing a balanced fertilizer specifically formulated for houseplants. Monthly fertilization is recommended during the spring and summer months, as this is the period when the plant experiences the most growth 1.

To fertilize a philodendron, follow these simple steps:

  1. Water your plant thoroughly before fertilizing to help ensure that the nutrients are evenly distributed throughout the soil.
  2. Choose a balanced fertilizer suitable for philodendron, such as one that is high in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
  3. Apply the fertilizer according to the package instructions, considering the size and age of your plant.

In addition to store-bought fertilizers, organic options like compost can also be used. Compost provides a rich selection of nutrients from natural waste and organic material, making it an ideal choice for nourishing philodendrons. Simply add a handful of compost to the soil and water thoroughly, allowing the nutrients to spread evenly 2.

For those looking for a more sustainable option, aquarium water can be used to fertilize the philodendron. Replace your regular water choice with fish tank water, keeping in mind that additional supplements may be necessary to provide all the required nutrients 3.

During the fall and winter months, it is suggested to reduce the frequency of fertilizing to every 6 to 8 weeks, as the plant’s growth rate slows down 4. Monitoring your philodendron’s growth and adjusting the fertilization based on its needs will result in a healthier, thriving plant.

Potting and Repotting

Philodendrons are popular houseplants that thrive with some care and attention. One important aspect of caring for these plants is potting and repotting when necessary. This ensures the plant has ample space to grow and maintains its overall health.

When repotting a philodendron, choose a new pot that is 2 to 3 inches larger than its current pot. This gives the plant enough room to grow without overwhelming it Houseplant Authority. Make sure the new pot has ample drainage holes, as philodendrons require well-draining soil to prevent root rot.

Before repotting, prepare the plant to minimize stress during the transition. Gently remove it from its current pot, taking care not to damage the roots. Examine the roots for any signs of damage or disease, and trim away any unhealthy sections.

The best time to repot philodendrons is in late spring or early summer The Spruce. This is when the plants are actively growing and can better handle the stress of being moved. Some indicators that your philodendron needs repotting include:

  • Roots poking through the soil or drainage holes
  • Yellowing leaves or excessive leaf drop
  • Slow growth or lack of new growth

When you’re ready to repot, follow these steps:

  1. Fill the new pot with fresh, well-draining potting soil mix, leaving some space for the root ball.
  2. Gently place the philodendron in the new pot, centering it and ensuring the root ball is slightly below the pot’s rim.
  3. Add more potting soil around the root ball, tamping it down lightly to secure the plant and eliminate air pockets.
  4. Water the plant thoroughly, allowing the water to drain out of the pot’s drainage holes.

After repotting, place the philodendron in a location with indirect light and avoid direct sunlight to allow the plant to adjust to its new pot. Continue to monitor its growth and repot as needed, typically every two years Better Homes & Gardens.

Common Issues and Solutions


Philodendrons can be affected by various pests, including mealybugs, spider mites, and aphids. To prevent and control these pests, it is essential to regularly check your plant for any signs of infestation. If you spot pests, you could:

  • Wipe the leaves with a damp cloth to physically remove the pests.
  • Use insecticidal soap or neem oil to treat the infestation.
  • Introduce beneficial insects, like ladybugs, which feed on many common pests.
  • Ensure proper plant care to keep your philodendron healthy and more resistant to pests.


Diseases can also affect philodendrons, with root rot being a common issue. Overwatering and poor drainage can cause root rot. To avoid and treat root rot, you should:

  • Allow the top inch of soil to dry out between waterings1.
  • Ensure your pot has drainage holes and use well-draining soil.
  • Remove any affected roots and tissue, then repot the plant in fresh soil2.
  • Maintain good air circulation around the plant and in the soil3.

Other Problems

In addition to pests and diseases, philodendrons may experience other problems, such as:

  1. Yellowing leaves: This could be a sign of overwatering or underwatering. Adjust your watering schedule to keep the soil constantly moist but not soggy.
  2. Drooping leaves: Known as shoulder leaf drop, it can be caused by low humidity, overwatering, or underwatering4. To address this issue, you can:
    • Mist the leaves regularly or place the plant on a pebble tray1.
    • Ensure consistent watering and allow the top inch of soil to dry out between waterings1.
  3. Leaves curling and browning: This might indicate a lack of humidity or exposure to extreme temperatures. To remedy this, maintain a consistent temperature for your plant and increase humidity by misting or using a pebble tray5.

By addressing these common issues, you can ensure that your philodendron remains healthy and grows well.

Propagation Techniques

Philodendron plants are popular houseplants and can be easily propagated using a few methods. In this section, we will discuss stem cuttings in water, stem cuttings in soil, and air layering as techniques for successful propagation.

Stem Cuttings in Water

One of the simplest ways to propagate a philodendron is by taking a stem cutting and placing it in water. To do this:

  1. Choose a healthy stem with several leaves on the mother plant.
  2. Using clean, sharp pruners or scissors, cut a six-inch section of the stem just below a leaf node.
  3. Remove leaves from the bottom half of the stem.
  4. Place the cuttings in a jar of water, ensuring the nodes are fully submerged.

As the cuttings grow in water, roots will emerge from the nodes, and you can transfer the new plant to a pot with soil once the roots are a couple of inches long.

Stem Cuttings in Soil

Another method of propagating philodendron plants is by planting stem cuttings directly in soil. Follow these steps:

  1. Select a healthy stem with leaves and nodes.
  2. Cut a 3 to 6-inch section of the stem using a clean, sharp knife or garden snips just above a leaf on the stem.
  3. Remove any leaves from the lower half of the cutting.
  4. Plant the stem cutting in a small container filled with moist potting soil, ensuring the nodes are covered.

Keep the soil consistently moist during the rooting process, usually around two to four weeks, at which point the new plant will begin to grow.

Air Layering

Another way to propagate philodendron plants is through air layering. This method entails stimulating root growth on a stem while it is still connected to the parent plant. Here’s how to air layer a philodendron:

  1. Select a robust stem with a minimum of one node and multiple leaves.

  2. Create a small upward incision on the stem, approximately one-third of the way through, just beneath a node.

  3. Apply rooting hormone to the cut.
  4. Surround the cut area, including the node, with damp sphagnum moss.

  5. Fasten the moss with plastic wrap and secure it in position using ties.

  6. Wait for roots to emerge within the moss (usually a few weeks).
  7. Trim the stem beneath the recently developed root ball and plant the new philodendron.

Using these propagation techniques, you can create new philodendron plants to enjoy in your home or share with friends and family.

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