If you’re looking to turn your home into a jungle paradise, look no further than the amazing philodendron.
Stunning to look at, these houseplants are the perfect choice for two reasons. Firstly they are diverse in their style - there are over 400 varieties to choose from with each one delivering their own distinct vibe. Secondly, due to their natural habit of tropical America, they are perfectly suited to our homes. These ones are mostly found growing in the rainforests which makes them pretty tough with the ability to adapt incredibly well to most spaces, even low light levels.
Fancy picking some philodendrons and turning your home into a green oasis? In this guide, we look at everything this houseplant has to offer, from types to care tips.
Types of philodendron
When it comes to choosing your philodendron houseplant there are two common types. Firstly, there are those that like to climb (they grow long vines) and the ones that don’t (they stand up by themselves). You also need to think about height. Some of these houseplants can get big, while the climbers tend to keep a low covering with vines that can stretch a long way.
Whether you’re looking for a large plant to fill a corner of the room or need a compact variety that will grow up rather than out, there’s one out there perfect for you. Here are a few of our favourites.
This one will command your presence when you enter a room, largely down to the fact that it is so big! The beautiful dark green leaves grow on the end of long stems that combine to form a stunning dome shape. It’s a self-standing variety that is gorgeous to have in your home. Just make sure you leave plenty of space – it can grow up to 1m in height!
When you take a look at this one, you won’t be surprised to learn it is often called the Heartleaf Philodendron. One of the most popular varieties of philodendron, they are in big demand because of their stunning heart-shaped leaves. Don’t get confused if you also see it called Philodendron Scandens, this is an older name that is still commonly used. As one of the climbing varieties, it will prefer a vine to grow up making it perfect for small spaces. This one loves a humid spot (perfect for a bathroom) and can live happily in low-light spaces.
Philodendron Lemon Lime
If you fancy bringing a bit of zing into your room, then you would need to pick the Lemon Lime variety. This one is a zesty lime colour that will lighten up the darkest of corners. As a climber variety, it will happily scramble up a moss pole or you can pop it on a shelf and its mass of leaves will cascade down over the edge – perfect for brightening up your home office.
Bring a bit of interest to your houseplant with Philodendron Birkin. This is an upright variety that delivers large leaves streaked with white stripes. Don’t panic if the new leaves come through white, as they mature they develop green stripes before ageing to a dark green.
For a bit of impact, you have to go with Philodendron Melancochrysum. This is a slow-growing climber that will reach up to 3m or more once fully grown. What makes it so gorgeous are the large heart-shaped leaves that it delivers – they can get up to 75cm in length! The velvet-textured leaves are dark green (almost black) in colour with a coppery vein threading through each one.
Philodendron Pink Princess
Add a pop of pink to your plant with Philodendron Pink Princess. This is a climbing version of the plant that has dark green, pointed leaves with splashes of gorgeous bubblegum pink. As it gets bigger it will need the support of a moss pole to help keep it upright.
Interestingly the name philodendron comes from two Greek words - philo which means love or affection, while dendron is their word for tree. In other words, it loves trees. Aptly named for a plant loves to climb and the prescence of gorgeous heart-shaped leaves with some varieties.
This would be the perfect plant to give someone if you want to show them some affection. Maybe an ideal present for a best friend who has been your support through the good times and the bad, or as an anniversary gift - the leaves are heart-shaped and it’s a gift that keeps on giving!
Philodendrons also symbolise a love of nature – as the name suggests, they like stick close to all the other plants in the rainforest. This one would be a great birthday present if you know who wants their own indoor jungle.
Last, but not least, this plant stands for growth. Why not give one as a gift to wish someone luck when starting a new job? It would also be a great present if you know someone who is struggling at the moment – after all houseplants are known to improve your mood.
The great thing about philodendrons, apart from delivering those tropical rainforest vibes, is the fact they are so easy to look after. If you’re looking for low-maintenance, this is the one for you. Maybe consider this one as a gift for a houseplant beginner?
Here are a few tips on how to look after your philodendron:
As a plant that grows on the floor of tropical rainforests, this one is great at adapting to low light. Give it a bit of light throughout the day and it will be very happy. Just avoid direct sunlight because it will burn the plant’s leaves. Be careful though, if this one doesn’t get enough daylight it could result in leggy growth (where there is a lot of space between the leaves).
In general philodenrons tend to like a level amount of soil moisture. Too much water and it could lead to root rot – not good! Too little water and you will notice the leaves drooping. Don’t worry if you do forget, a good drink will normally perk up your plant in no time. As a general rule, the non-climbing varieties tend to be a bit more drought-tolerant than the climbers.
The temperature requirements of your philodendron will very much depend on the variety you’ve bought. Some require a spot slightly warmer, while others can cope very well in cooler environments.
Are philodendrons toxic to pets?
Although these are popular houseplants, you need to be careful. They can be poisonous to both people and pets because it contains a toxin called calcium oxalate. Eating any part of this plant can cause burning, swelling of the lips and throat and, in worst-case scenarios, vomiting and diarrhoea.
So, if you have a cat, dog or young children with curious hands, it might be best to keep out of reach.
Now you know all about the philodendron, all you need to decide is where to place it in your home. With so many different varieties available, you’ll easily find one to suit your space. Climbing versions are perfect for small spaces because they either trail down or happily grow up on a pole. However, if you’ve got a nice, open space, go for one of the self-supporting varieties - it will expand into the area. These plants are also a great choice for purifying the air in your home. So, if you need some help concentrating while you work at home, or relaxing in your living room, this is the one for you.
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