Philodendron Care: 5 Best Tips for Success

Featured images by: TropicalplantsFL.

Philodendrons are common houseplants that are native to Brazillian rainforests. The foliage of Philodendrons is usually green but some varieties come in different colors. Many varieties also can be great climbers, happily wrapping around anything that they can grow on up towards the sun.

These plants can grow to be quite large and take up quite a bit of space.

Whether you want to buy a Philodendron or you have a garden full of them, in this article, I will go over 5 tips for successfully growing Philodendron plants!

Can I use cactus soil for Philodendron?

As a general rule, this plant likes rich, somewhat chunky soil that has a good dose of peat in it. You need to make sure that the roots don’t stay too wet. In nature, they will grow on the rainforest floor, so you want to mimic the mix of plant debris and soil that drains easily that they would have in their native environment.

Cactus soil can be used for Philodendrons. Make sure the potting mix that you are using is slightly adjusted to prove enhanced moisture and nutrients. Because cactus soil is well-draining and has good aeration, you can use it as a foundation for your Philodendron potting mix.

Many people use at least some cactus mix in their Philodendron pots because it drains very well. You might also want to add some compost to provide additional richness to the soil. A typical balance of homemade soil would include the following:

  • ½ potting soil
  • ½ coco coir or peat moss
  • A few handfuls succulent or cactus mix
  • A small layer of compose on top for richness

You can also make a mix that is ½ potting soil and a blend of coco fiber and peat moss or ½ potting soil and ½ orchid bark and coco chips. Some people even use pumice or perlite in the place of the other materials in these mixes.

You can buy premade potting soils, but you will not have as much luck growing your philodendron if you do not provide them with the other ingredients in the mixes above. Without the added drainage materials and richness from your homemade mix, your Philodendron will be much less likely to flourish.

Do Philodendrons like green tea?

Green tea can be a great additive to the watering plans for most houseplants. Most people use green tea as part of their watering strategy and coffee grounds to improve the nitrogen content of the soil.

Green tea can be great for your Philodendron so long as you make sure that you do not overwater when you add green tea to your watering schedule.

If you are worried about overwatering your Philodendron in an attempt to add green tea benefits to the soil, you can also place the leaves around the base of the plants and then water as usual. The loose tea leaves will get wet and give the soil the nutrients that you want to impart without the risk of overwatering.

Always make sure that you do not put too thick a layer of green tea around the roots of your plants of which might cause root mold or other issues related to keeping too much moisture near the base of the plant.

Always avoid using the actual tea bags, as most brands of teabags will not break down in the soil and can lead to major issues with mold or root rot.

You will want to add more tea leaves every few months and if you are watering with green tea, once a week should be more than enough to take care of getting the benefits of the green tea to your plants.

If you add too much green tea or too much coffee to the soil, you can throw off the pH of your plant’s soil.

Are Philodendrons poisonous to rabbits?

As a whole, Philodendrons are moderately toxic to rabbits. It is rare for rabbits to eat too much of a philodendron due to the taste, but it can happen. Most cases of accidental exposure to a philodendron lead to the following symptoms:

  • Mouth and throat irritation
  • Salivation
  • Stomach irritation
  • Diarrhea

There are 2,000 species of Philodendron and all of them should be considered potentially toxic, with young animals being more likely to suffer severe injury than adult animals. As with most houseplants, care should be taken for animals living in the home not to ingest any part of the plant.

Symptoms are usually visible within an hour of ingesting the plant, and animals should not require a visit to the vet unless symptoms escalate or they stop eating and drinking. Vomiting and diarrhea are signs of series exposure and do necessitate a visit to the vet.

Always make sure that your rabbits have enough hay and other food available to them so that they are not tempted by houseplants in your home. It is always good advice to keep rabbits away from plants in the home and not allow them to be loose in the home when they are not supervised.

It is a good rule of thumb to have all houseplants up on shelves if your rabbit lives loose in your home.

Why do elephant ears drip water?

Elephant ears come with a built-in gauge to tell if you have watered them too much. They require humidity and they like to have their leaves wiped once a week to keep the stomata (microscopic openings on the leaves, where gasses and water vapor can escape) open and keep the plant healthy.

In most cases, you will only need to water your elephant ear until the soil is moist but isn’t truly damp.

When you water an Elephant’s Ear too much, it will tell you that this has happened by “weeping” or dripping water from the tip of the leaf. The excess water in the plant will leave the plant through the leaves.

On average, healthy philodendrons need about 2-3 inches of water per week. They are also heavy eaters, so you will need to fertilize them monthly (only during the growing season) with a generic fertilizer for optimal health.

If the soul feels dry to the touch, then you will need to water your Elephant Ear again soon to prevent wilting.

Always verify that the pot your elephant ear is living in is not retaining too much water in the drainage saucer. These plants do not like to have their roots in standing water.

You can prevent these issues by adding pebbles to the saucer to keep the pot from sinking into the water in the saucer.

Why does my Philodendron have a mushy stem?

A mushy stem means that the stem of the Philodendron is rotting or is going to rot soon.

There are different reasons why your Philodendron has a mushy stem. The most common reason that this happens is that the plant has been overwatered. You will usually see yellow or brown pigment in the leaves and stem as well if this is the case.

The soil should always be a little moist in your Philodendron pot, but if there is standing water or you have not allowed the pot to drain properly, the stem might get mushy. This can also happen if you have added too much coffee or green tea to the soil near the base of the plant.

Both over and under watering can also lead to this issue, so you need to be careful to monitor your watering schedule carefully. If your Philodendron feels mushy, you can trim off any dead of mushy growth and make sure that your pot is draining properly.

In some cases, you can treat stem rot by removing the plant from the soil and washing off the soil clinging to the roots. Gently trim off the affected roots carefully and then use a sharp set of shears to remove any leaves that are wilted or interfering with the root system.

You should also make sure that your plant has not become infested with fungi, plant rot, or some kind of insect invader. Weakened plants can have more than one problem that is heralded by the arrival of mushy stems.