How to Care for Philodendrun Plants


Philodendron is one of the most common houseplants and an excellent choice for a beginning indoor gardener. There are more than 200 varieties. The most often seen philodendron are vining types which quickly grow up a support or pole and can be controlled by pruning. Some varieties are self-heading, meaning that they send out leaves from a clump at the base, and may become quite large. Philodendron leaves may be glossy green, variegated green or even deep red; some have a velvety texture.

Step 1

Plant philodendron in a hanging basket if you wish the vines to hang down; plant in a pot with a support if you wish it to climb.

Step 2

Provide philodendron with indirect light, such as from a window covered with a sheer curtain. Some varieties, like the common heartleaf philodendron, will tolerate very low light.

Step 3

Keep the soil moist, but not soggy. The plant will not require as much water in the winter as in warmer months. Philodendrons will grow best with high humidity, but will tolerate drier air.

Step 4

Fertilize monthly with a water-soluble houseplant fertilizer, or a time-released food.

Step 5

Repot philodendron when it becomes root-bound in an all-purpose potting medium that will provide good drainage. This can be done any time of the year. Limit the pot size to control its growth if you have a self-heading type.

Step 6

Propagate any time of the year by placing stem cuttings in water. Some of the large, self-heading types will produce offsets which can be replanted.

Step 7

Keep the leaves wiped clean and monitor the plant for insect problems. Philodendron is usually not bothered by pests, but be watchful for spider mites, aphids, mealybugs and scale.

Step 8

Place philodendron outdoors in a shady, sheltered spot for the summer months. A nighttime temperature of 60 degrees and daytime temperature between 70 and 75 degrees is ideal.

Tips and Warnings

  • Keep philodendron out of reach of children and pets as ingestion of the leaves can cause burning and irritation of the mucous membranes. According to Jennifer S. Boyle, M.D., PharmD, a study showed that philodendrons are among the most common toxic plants, and that those most often reported as having an exposure to a toxic plant are children under the age of 5.


  • Clemson University Extension
  • Colorado State University Extension
  • University of Arkansas Extension

Who Can Help

  • Plant Poisoning, Caladium, Dieffenbachia, and Philodendron
Keywords: philodendron care, pruning philodendron, philodendron as a toxic plant

About this Author

Gwen Bruno has 28 years of experience as a teacher and librarian, and is now a full-time freelance writer. She holds a bachelor's degree from Augustana College and master's degrees from North Park University and the University of Wisconsin. She writes articles about gardening for