How to spread philodendron

Philodendron, tree lover: Exotic rainforest inhabitant

The Philodendron is a must in the urban jungle. With its huge leaves, it creates the right jungle feeling in the room.

The genus of philodendrons, also known as tree friend, belongs to the arum family and includes at least 275 different species. The appearance can vary greatly depending on the type and age of the plant. Some have large leaves that are pointed, others are heart-shaped or oval-shaped. Some are shiny green, others purple. Even experienced botanists often find it difficult to identify the species because the leaves can change extremely in the course of plant life.

Green giant from the rainforest

The philodendron actually comes from the tropical rainforests of America. The ornamental foliage plant has long been a popular houseplant with us. Thanks to its huge, exotic-looking leaves, a living room with the philodendron can be quickly transformed into a jungle. But not only its tropical appearance makes the tree lover so attractive. Similar to the efeutute or the green lily, the philodendron is also able to filter pollutants such as formaldehyde or benzene from the air.

The right location for philodendrons

Since philodendrons climb trees in their natural tropical location, they prefer a light to partially shaded location and a temperature between 20 and 25 degrees Celsius all year round. However, they like direct sunlight or a fully shaded location just as much as they don't like drafts or temperature fluctuations. If a tree friend is too bright, it can lead to unsightly brown, dry leaf spots. However, species or varieties whose leaves have a large proportion of white or yellow, like many other brightly variegated plants, need a lighter location, otherwise they will turn green.

Caring for the philodendron properly

Philodendrons are ideal houseplants for beginners. Due to the leathery leaves, very little moisture evaporates, which is why they use relatively little water for such large, imposing plants. You should use decalcified, room temperature water for watering. Pour in such a way that the substrate always remains slightly moist, but no waterlogging occurs in the planter or saucer.

During the growth phase from spring to summer, you can give particularly vigorous species and varieties once a week weakly dosed green plant fertilizer. For all other species and varieties, one application of fertilizer every 14 days is sufficient.

Since the humidity in the rainforests is relatively high, you can do something good for your tree friends by increasing the humidity at the location or spraying the leaves regularly. The climbing Philodendron species need a moss stick or something similar to hold on to. If philodendrons get too big, they can easily be cut back. However, you should never cut back the aerial roots. With them, the philodendron absorbs as much nutrients and moisture from the air as it does with the underground roots.

Philodendrons are actually quite robust to disease and pests. Occasionally, however, tree lovers in indoor culture are attacked by scale insects or red spider mites.

Popular philodendron species

For indoor culture, mainly the red-leaved philodendron (Philodendron erubescens), the tree philodendron (Philodendron bipinnatifidum), as well as Philodendron cannifolium and Philodendron melanochryson are offered in the trade. The climbing philodendron (Philodendron scandens) is one of the most popular philodendrons. The rather small tree friend looks especially great in hanging baskets. The leaves are still very small when they are young, but they get larger with age. So that the Philodendron scandens gets a dense growth pattern in the hanging basket, the shoot tips should be cut regularly. But be careful: The leaves of the philodendron contain substances that can irritate the skin and trigger allergies.

By the way: If you can't get enough of the philodendrons, you can simply multiply your tree friends by cuttings from the head or from the trunk. After about six to eight weeks, the cuttings will have developed roots.