(fill-o-den' dron)

Common name: Philodendron

Family: Araceae, Arum

Height x width: vine, length varies with species and environment

Foliage: varies widely, generally leathery, glossy; plants from seed have a juvenile phase with leaves unlike those of mature plants

Flowers: spathes and spadices seldom seen in cultivation

Light: bright to moderate

Temperature:average to warm

Watering: moderate

Fertility: high prefered

Humidity: humid

Soil: average

Pests and Problems: mosaic virus, leaf spots, root rot, mealybugs, scales, spider mites

Growth habit, uses: foliage, many species for hanging, totems

Other interest: native to tropical American rain forests; from the Greek phileo meaning to love and dendron meaning tree, referring to its love for climbing trees; sap may irritate skin or cause severe discomfort if ingested.   In 2018 researchers at Kew (UK) and in Brasil reclassified several species into the genus Thaumatophyllum, formerly only having one species (monotypic genus); as of 2020 there are now 21 accepted species in this genus (the former Meconostigma subgenus), including those below bipinnatifidum and xanadu; yet generally and in other resources as of 2020 you'll still find these species listed under Philodendron

Other culture: do not prune aerial roots, rather direct back into soil

Propagation: tip or stem cuttings, air layer, seed


These are merely a few of the many named.   Those marked * are most commonly seen as houseplants. The more common cultivars are listed, with others occasionally seen in commerce.

• andreanum:melanochrysum

• angustisectum (an-gus-ti-sec' tum)--ovate, reflexed leaves, pinnate with 16-32 slender finger-like lobes, 12-24" long, climber

• *bipennifolium (bi-pen-nee-fol' ee-um)-- Fiddle-leaf Plant, ovate, reflexed leaves with 5 broad lobes, the central one longest, 12-18" long, climber

• *bipinnatifidum (bi-pin-nat-i-fi' dum)-- Tree Philodendron, tree-like shrub with single, robust, erect stem; long-stalked reflexed ovate leaves to 3' long, deeply lobed with wavy margins (photo courtesy Clemson Univ.)

• cordatum (cor-daa' tum)-- Heartleaf Philodendron, ovate to triangular leaves 12-18" long with heart-shaped base, fast growing climber

• domesticum (do-mess' ti-cum)-- Elephant's ear, narrow triangular to arrow-shaped, reflexed leaves 18-24" long, wavy margins, climber

• elegans (ell' eh-gans)-- Narrow Finger leaf philodendron, climber with short internodes, leaves quite dissected/highly pinnate into narrow finger-like lobes for a spidery appearance; leaves 1-2ft long and 1ft wide; may be confused with other species such as radiatum, tortum, lancerum  

• *erubescens (ee-ru-bess' cens)-- Red-leaf Philodendron, red-purple stems when young, ovate to triangular glossy dark green leaves 10-16" long, coppery red-purple beneath, sturdy climber; 'Burgundy' has reddish leaves, burgundy veins, red stem; 'Red Emerald' has red stems, dark green leaves with red veins below

• hastatum (has-ta' tum)--climber with thick stem and short internodes, leaves becoming more arrowhead-shaped with age with two prominent back-facing lobes, bluish-green leaves except for silvery in 'Silver Sword'; may be confused with domesticum

•  *hederaceum (hed-er-A' cee-um) -- (formerly scandens) Heartleaf Philodendron, rounded leaves with heart-shaped bases, reflexed, to 12" on mature plants and half than on juvenile, slender pointed tips, fast-growing climber, probably the most common species; f. micans has bronze leaves, reddish below; f. oxycardium has young bronzed green leaves

• hybrids-- in recent years several hybrid cultivars have been introduced and become popular.  'Likety Split' has glossy green, deeply cut leaves on a clumping plant.  'Little Hope' has deeply serrated leaves with age, similar to 'Hope' only being a 1-2ft plant.  'Moonlight' is clump forming, good in medium to low light, leaves emerging bright green turning medium green with age.  'Pink Princess'   is a rare dark (blackish) leaved plant with pink variegation; leaves emerge dark olive and turn toward black with age; bright indirect light gives the best color.   'Prince of Orange' is quite popular and often found, the new leaves unfurling a vivid orange and turning pale green when mature, with dark red leaf stems; plants are upright to 2ft tall (self-heading/non-vining) (photo courtesy Clemson Univ.)  
• imbe
(im' bee)-- red-purple stems and long aerial roots, ovate to arrow-shaped leaves to 14" long, parchment-like texture, often flushed red below, climber with long aerial root.  'Variegata' with white spotting or large blotches on long, narrow leaves to 2ft long and 4-6in. wide; if allowed to climb leaves tend to more spot than blotches, with more white if plants are pruned to keep shorter

• laciniatum: pedatum

• melanochrysum (me-la-no-cry' sum)--Velour Philodendron, narrow ovate to lanceolate reflexed leaves to 3' long, velvety blackish with pale green veins; juvenile plants have smaller, coppery red leaves, climber

• micans:scandens f. micans

• oxycardium:hederaceum var. oxycardium

• panduriforme (pan-dure' e-form)-- leathery shiny elongated (violin-shaped) leaves, swollen near the tips with a couple small lobes near the base; may be confused with bipennifolium which has more lobing

• pedatum (pe-daa' tum)-- pinnate deep green leaves to 18" long, ovate to arrow-shaped, 5-7 narrow lobes, robust climber; 'Florida' is similar; 'Variegata' is white-streaked

• scandens:hederaceum

• selloum:bipinnatifidum

• sellowianum:imbe

•  xanadu (za-na-du')-- shiny leathery leaves with 15-20 lobes, leaves up to 18in. long and 14in. wide; plants are wider (3-5ft) than tall (2-4ft); upright habit, often used and seen in So. Florida landscapes. (photo courtesy Wikipedia, Piwaiwaka)

©Authored by Dr. Leonard Perry, Professor, University of Vermont as part of PSS121, Indoor Plants.

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