How to Care for Philodendron Plants


You might know this plant as the "split leaf" philodendron. It's a very common and popular houseplant because it lives for years with practically no care, aside from occasional watering. The many species in the philodendron genus are native to jungles in Central and South America, where they climb trees and thrive on the humidity, low light and rich humus that makes up the soil. If you provide a support stake or small trellis, many species of philodendron will climb and fill a corner or unattractive wall in your home with lush, tropical foliage.

Caring for Philodendrons

Step 1

Transplant your philodendron into a large, decorative pot 2 to 3 times the size of the nursery pot. Use any potting soil designed for houseplants. Be sure to place the pot on a plant saucer.

Step 2

Water your newly transplanted philodendron at least once a week until you see signs of new growth, then allow the soil to dry out before you water it again. Usually, watering a philodendron every two weeks is sufficient. Water even less during the winter.

Step 3

Philodendrons can easily become sunburned, so keep yours in an spot that receives filtered or indirect sunlight.

Step 4

Provide a temperature between 60 and 85 F. Philodendrons can withstand lower temperatures---as low as 36 F---for short periods of time.

Step 5

Fertilize your plant twice each year---in spring and mid summer---with an all-purpose liquid houseplant fertilizer. Dilute it according to instructions on the label.

Tips and Warnings

  • If your philodendron's leaves begin to turn yellow, this indicates that you are over-watering. Cut back on water and the new foliage that soon emerges should be a healthy green color. Do not cut off the air roots as they are necessary for the plant's survival.

Things You'll Need

  • Large pot with drainage hole
  • Standard potting soil
  • Plant saucer
  • All-purpose liquid houseplant fertilizer
  • Plant stake


  • Care and Cultivation of Philodendrons
  • Philodendron
Keywords: philodendron care, care of houseplants, tropical foliage plants

About this Author

Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hi'iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Fahs wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens" and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to "Big Island Weekly," "Ke Ola" magazine and various websites. She earned her Bachelor of Arts at University of California, Santa Barbara and her Master of Arts from San Jose State University.