Philodendron Mamei vs Plowmanii: Key Differences Explained

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Philodendron plants are a popular choice among indoor plant enthusiasts due to their low maintenance requirements and unique foliage. Among the numerous varieties of Philodendrons, two specific species stand out – the Philodendron mamei and Philodendron plowmanii. Although they share some similarities, there are distinct differences between the two, making them perfect subjects for a comparative analysis.

Philodendron mamei is known for its heart-shaped, glossy leaves, which make it an eye-catching addition to any indoor garden. Reaching a modest size of up to three feet tall, this plant is suitable for small spaces and can be easily grown in vertical climbers. On the other hand, Philodendron plowmanii boasts larger, more pronounced leaves and can grow up to five feet tall, adding height and drama to an indoor plant collection. Its growth pattern differs from mamei as it tends to grow flat and parallel to the ground.

These two plants also have different water requirements, location preferences, and growth speeds, which make them unique in their own ways. Exploring the key differences and similarities between Philodendron mamei and plowmanii can help plant enthusiasts make the right choice when selecting the perfect Philodendron for their homes.

Philodendron Mamei Overview

Philodendron Mamei
Leaf of exotic ‘Philodendron Mamei’ houseplant with with silver pattern in pot on white background

Origin and Habitat

Philodendron Mamei is an impressive tropical plant originating from the cloud forests of Ecuador. It thrives in warm, humid environments and is typically found growing in the shady understory of the forest. This plant is well-adapted to subtropical regions, setting it apart from its close relative, Philodendron Plowmanii, which is more common in tropical areas.

Appearance and Features

The most striking feature of Philodendron Mamei is its large, uniquely patterned leaves, which are silvery-green in color and have a slightly corrugated texture. The leaves display a mix of solid green and mottled lighter green areas, as well as prominent veins on the surface. The plant’s petioles, or leaf stems, are smooth, without the ruffles observed in Philodendron Plowmanii.

Philodendron Mamei can grow up to 3 feet tall, making it a smaller and more compact plant compared to Plowmanii. Its leaves tend to be smaller in size but maintain a distinct, attractive appearance that adds an exotic touch to any indoor or outdoor space.

Growth and Care Requirements

Caring for a Philodendron Mamei requires some specific conditions in order to mimic its natural habitat. Key factors to consider when cultivating this plant include:

  • Light: Provide bright, indirect light, as the plant is used to growing in the shaded understory of the forest.
  • Temperature: Maintain a warm environment with temperatures between 65-85 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Humidity: Aim for a humidity level of 60% or higher, as this plant is native to humid forests.
  • Water: Keep the soil evenly moist but not waterlogged; over-watering can cause root rot.
  • Soil: Use a well-draining, loose potting mix. A combination of peat moss, perlite, and orchid bark is recommended.

By paying close attention to these requirements, you’ll be able to provide the perfect growing environment for your Philodendron Mamei, allowing it to flourish and showcase its stunning foliage. Remember that this plant is a slow to moderate grower, so be patient and give it time to adapt to its new surroundings. Overall, Philodendron Mamei makes an excellent, eye-catching addition to any plant collection.

Philodendron Plowmanii Overview

Philodendron Plowmanii

Origin and Habitat

Native to the tropical regions, Philodendron plowmanii is found in rainforests and other dense, humid environments. With their distinct features and ability to adapt, these plants have become increasingly popular among plant enthusiasts.

Appearance and Features

Philodendron plowmanii is known for its deep green leaves with prominent veins, creating a striking and unique pattern. The leaves can grow up to 12 inches in length, adding an impressive element to any space. The plant itself can reach heights of 4 to 5 feet, making it a larger variety compared to its relative, the Philodendron mamei, which only grows to about 3 feet tall.

Key features of Philodendron plowmanii include:

  • Large, deep green leaves
  • Prominent leaf veins
  • Growth up to 4 to 5 feet tall

Growth and Care Requirements

Caring for a Philodendron plowmanii requires moist soil and a well-draining pot to thrive properly. They prefer bright, indirect light, as direct exposure to the sun may scorch their delicate leaves. Maintain a consistent temperature between 65-75°F (18-24°C) and provide adequate humidity by placing the plant near a humidifier or a tray of water with pebbles.

Watering recommendations for Philodendron plowmanii:

  • Keep the soil consistently moist, but not soggy
  • Allow the top few inches of soil to dry out between waterings
  • Never let the plant sit in standing water, as that can lead to root rot

Fertilize your Philodendron plowmanii every 4-6 weeks using a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer at half the recommended strength. Prune the plant occasionally to maintain its shape and promote growth. Be patient, as this variety is a slow grower, taking several years to reach its full size.

To summarize, the care requirements for Philodendron plowmanii are:

  • Consistently moist soil (never soggy)
  • Bright, indirect light
  • Temperature range of 65-75°F (18-24°C)
  • Adequate humidity
  • Fertilize every 4-6 weeks
  • Occasional pruning

Comparing Mamei and Plowmanii

Visual Differences

When observing the appearance of Philodendron Mamei and Philodendron Plowmanii, noticeable differences can be seen. Mamei leaves display silver blotches while Plowmanii leaves have yellow spots. Additionally, Plowmanii leaves have more pronounced and textured veins.

Growth Habits

These two Philodendron plants have distinctive sizes and growth patterns. The Philodendron Plowmanii tends to grow larger, reaching up to 4 to 5 feet tall whereas Mamei remains smaller, only growing up to approximately 3 feet tall. The Philodendron Mamei grows vertically, while the Plowmanii expands parallel to the ground. When considering growth rates, Plowmanii is a slow grower compared to Mamei which grows relatively quickly.

Care and Maintenance

Both Philodendron Mamei and Plowmanii require similar care and maintenance, including moist soil conditions. However, the two plants have different environmental requirements; Plowmanii is native to tropical regions while Mamei thrives in subtropical areas.

In conclusion, understanding the differences between Philodendron Mamei and Plowmanii is essential for proper care and cultivation. From their distinct visual characteristics to differing growth habits and maintenance needs, these plants offer unique qualities for home gardeners and plant enthusiasts alike.

Common Pests and Diseases

Philodendron Mamei and Plowmanii, while being relatively low-maintenance plants, can still be susceptible to certain pests and diseases. Awareness of these threats can help you quickly address any issues and maintain the overall health of your plants.

Some of the most common pests affecting these two Philodendron varieties are spider mites, mealybugs, and scale insects. Spider mites are tiny, spider-like creatures that feed on plant leaves, causing a speckled and discolored appearance. Mealybugs, on the other hand, are small, segmented insects covered in a white, powdery substance. They typically reside on the undersides of leaves, where they feed on plant sap, causing leaves to yellow and curl. Scale insects, appearing as small, immovable bumps on plant surfaces, can also weaken your Philodendron by feeding on their sap.

To address these pests, you can:

  • Regularly inspect your plants for signs of infestation
  • Clean the leaves with a soft cloth or sponge to remove any pests present
  • Use a safe and organic insecticidal soap that targets these specific pests, as needed

Philodendron Mamei and Plowmanii can also experience diseases, primarily caused by improper watering and poor soil drainage. Root rot is a common issue, which occurs when the plant’s roots are in standing water for extended periods. Yellowing leaves and a wilted appearance are symptoms of root rot, which can lead to the decline of the plant’s health.

To prevent root rot and other diseases, make sure to:

  • Provide well-draining soil for your plants
  • Avoid over-watering, allowing the soil to partially dry out between watering sessions
  • Ensure proper air circulation around your plants, as stagnant air can contribute to the development of fungal diseases

By keeping an eye out for common pests and diseases and following proper care techniques, your Philodendron Mamei and Plowmanii will maintain their health and continue to thrive.

Propagation Techniques

Philodendron mamei and Philodendron plowmanii are popular houseplants known for their unique, attractive foliage. Although they differ in size and growth habits, they can both be propagated through some common techniques.

One popular method for propagating both Philodendron mamei and Philodendron plowmanii is stem cuttings. To propagate using this method, follow these steps:

  1. Choose a healthy stem section from the parent plant with one or more leaves.
  2. Cut a 4-6 inch piece with a clean, sharp tool just below a node, where leaves attach or aerial roots emerge.
  3. Remove the lower leaves to leave only a few at the top of the cutting.

Stem cuttings can either be rooted in water or soil:

  • Water propagation: Place the cutting in a glass or jar filled with water, ensuring the nodes are submerged. Change the water regularly to keep it fresh, and wait for roots to develop. Once roots are about 2-3 inches long, transfer the cutting to a well-draining potting mix.
  • Soil propagation: Dip the cut end of the stem in rooting hormone, then plant it in a well-draining potting mix, ensuring the nodes are buried. Keep the soil consistently moist, and the cutting should start developing roots within a few weeks.

It’s best to propagate your plants during their growing season, which is typically spring or early summer. This allows them to establish their root systems before the slower growth periods of late summer and fall.

To improve the chances of successful propagation, maintain optimal growing conditions for your cuttings:

  • Place them in bright, indirect sunlight.
  • Maintain temperatures between 65-80°F (18-27°C).
  • Ensure high humidity by using a humidifier, misting, or placing the cutting near a tray of water.

By following the above propagation techniques and providing a suitable environment, you can successfully propagate your Philodendron mamei and Philodendron plowmanii plants and enjoy their captivating foliage in your home.


In the world of philodendron plants, two popular variants are the Philodendron mamei and the Philodendron plowmanii. Both are unique and appealing, making it essential for enthusiasts to understand their differences. By acknowledging these distinctions, one can choose the perfect plant that suits their preferences and living conditions.

The most noticeable difference between the two lies in their appearance. Philodendron plowmanii exhibits larger, deep green leaves with striking vein patterns, reaching up to five feet in height. In contrast, the smaller Philodendron mamei boasts glossy, heart-shaped leaves, typically growing only three feet tall.

Growth patterns also set these plants apart. Mamei is a standard climber, thriving in a vertical environment, while plowmanii grows flat and parallel to the ground. This distinction plays a significant role in determining adequate support systems and the space required for each plant to flourish.

Temperature preferences further separate these two variants. Plowmanii thrives best at temperatures ranging from 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit, while mamei enjoys warmer conditions between 90-100 degrees Fahrenheit. Adequately catering to their respective temperature needs ensures a healthy and consistent growth rate.

Both plants have their own unique charm and appeal. Whether you prefer the larger, more pronounced leaves of the Philodendron plowmanii or the glossy, heart-shaped foliage of the Philodendron mamei, selecting the right plant is crucial. By considering factors such as appearance, growth patterns, and temperature preferences, you can create the perfect environment for these beautiful philodendron species to thrive in your home or garden.

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