In our eyes, plant care is a two-way street. You take care of your plants by giving them nutrients, light and water; they take care of you by reducing stress levels, boosting your mood and creating a relaxing home environment.
Philodendrons are a great family of plants to become familiar with! There’s a lot of variety within the genus, but they tend to have lush foliage in some kind of arrow or spear shape with notable cuttings (or veins).
Almost all Philodendrons spend at least part of their lifecycle as epiphytes, which means they grow on the trunks of trees, and draw their nutrients from the host plant, debris and from the air. This is important to bear in mind when you’re watering and fertilising your Philodendrons: approximately half its moisture and nutrients should be administered via misting.
The name Philodendron comes directly from the Greek words for love (philo) and tree (dendron), so we clearly weren’t the first to fall for this pleasing array of plants. Even if you don’t know the name Philodendron, you probably know some of the more common varieties, such as the Green Sweetheart Plant.
As is often the case with older plant groups, there is disagreement over how many plants fit within the genus classification, but the World Checklist of Selected Plant families names 489 individual species.
This guide is only written with some of our favourites in mind: Philodendron scandens, Philodendron squamiferum, Silver Sword Philodendron, Velvet-Leaf Philodendron and the Philodendron Green Wonder. However, it will apply to most other varieties.
How to Care for Philodendrons
As outlined above, because Philodendrons are almost all epiphytes, in the wild they draw nutrients from the air and not via soil. As potted plants, you should moisten their soil but try and supplement some of this with weekly misting.
Philodendrons like their soil to be very slightly moist for most of the year, but don’t overdo it or the roots will rot away. We recommend testing the soil with your finger, and to wait until the top inch of soil is dry before administering.
We advise lifting your plants from their ceramic pots and watering until you see liquid come out of the drainage holes. Do not put your plant back in its ceramic pot until you’re sure no water will come.
Extra watering care tips: when watering a batch of plants, place them in a bathtub for minimal mess and maximum ease. Water your plants with rainwater, or tap water that has been left out overnight for best results.
Philodendrons tend not to like direct sunlight, preferring partial shade to direct sunlight. We advise popping yours in a shaded spot of a sunny room or in a shadier room, where it gets a full view of the sky.
These plants are native to the rain forests of Central and South America. They like it warm and moist! On the face of it this sounds tricky, but it’s actually quite easy to replicate this most of the year indoors. Just make sure that you keep your Philodendrons away from draughts, so they’re kept in a consistently warm environment, and mist yours in the morning so the water evaporates around the plant and its leaves don’t get soggy.
How Philodendrons take care of you
Living with houseplants, practicing active plant care and building a relationship with nature has been shown to benefit our health in a variety of ways. All plants have the potential to do this, but some are more adept than others, depending on their formal or chemical characteristics.
Benefits of Philodendrons include improving the quality of the air you breathe, inducing feelings of calm, trapping dust and helping you feel alert.
The colour green in natural forms has been linked to feelings of buoyancy and is strongly associated with health. Thus, if you’re looking for plants that make your home feel fresh and vital, the Green Wonder and the Green Sweetheart Plants are good ways to go about it.
How does this work?
It’s been well-reported that nature is beneficial to our mental health. Though the connection between nature and wellbeing is strong, the reasons for this are purely theoretical: it’s generally accepted that we respond well to particular forms due to the way we’ve adapted on an evolutionary level.
Overarching benefits to building a relationship with plants, such as greater capacity for stress and greater compassion for oneself, are heightened when we interact with our plants. Because Philodendrons like to be misted regularly, you’re more likely to build a nurturing relationship with them, and access the secondary benefits outlined above.
Philodendrons are also known for being speedy growers. It doesn’t take much to see new leaves growing on these plants or an extension in their vines. Seeing the impact of our nurturing efforts tends to make us feel good about ourselves and helps us feel capable of tackling life’s bigger challenges!
Philodendrons are also great at improving the quality of air in your home, covering all three of Bloombox Club’s Breathe characteristics, as outlined below:
- Known for being foliage kings, Philodendron’s big, textured leaves aren’t just good to look at - they’re great at absorbing toxins too. Philodendron leaves are covered in tiny pores which take in carbon dioxide and expel oxygen. All plants produce oxygen as they photosynthesise, but the large surface area of this group of plants means they’re especially efficient at doing so.
- Large, waxy leaves like this are also mean dust trappers. Debris that would otherwise fall on surfaces and remain airborne will sit on Philodendron leaves, where it can be easily wiped away, so both you and your plant can breathe easily!
- If you keep your Philodendron lightly misted, once every 5-7 days, it will add humidity to the air, warding off ailments such as dry skin conditions and respiratory problems that are aggravated by dryness.
You can read more about this, and other benefits of plants here.
Take a look at our individual Philodendron guides, and see what we have in stock here.