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How to Care for and Grow Tree Philodendrons

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The tree philodendron (Philodendron Bipinnatifidum), is a large, tropical plant that is native to South America’s tropical regions, including Brazil, Bolivia and Argentina. This tropical aroid is also a popular houseplant. It can be found naturally on the East and Gulf coasts in the United States. The tree philodendron is a popular houseplant because of its unique and large leaves. It can also add a tropical touch to any space.

Tree Philodendron Care

The Philodendron bipinnatifidum, as its common name suggests, can grow to very large sizes depending on its environment. This tropical plant can reach 15 feet in height with leaves up to five foot long. It can grow indoors to reach heights between five and six feet with leaves up to two- to three feet in length.

The tree philodendron can be grown indoors like many other varieties of philodendron. It will thrive if it is given bright indirect sunlight and regular watering.

Tip

The large leaves of the tree Philodendron, when grown indoors, can easily accumulate dust, which can slow down photosynthesis. To keep dust from building up, wipe the leaves regularly with a damp cloth or paper towel.

Light

The best places for the tree philodendron are those that have dappled sun or moderate to bright indirect lighting. A tree philodendron is at its best indoors in sunny windows that are filtered by a thin curtain or blinds. The tree philodendron is not able to thrive in low light conditions, as with other varieties of philodendron. Low light can cause stunted and leggy growth. Tree philodendron leaves reach for the nearest light source so it is important to rotate the plant regularly to ensure symmetrical growth.

Soil

This member of the aroid family likes soil that is well-drained and rich in organic matter. The tree philodendron won’t tolerate salty or acidic soil. You can make your own growing medium by mixing one part compost, one part perlite to increase soil alkalinity, and one portion of coco coir or orchid bark. Too acidic is peat moss.

Water

Your tree philodendron should be watered when the soil is dry to the top. The soil should remain moist, but not waterlogged. The tree philodendron is not tolerant to drought and thrives on consistent watering. Avoid overwatering as the tree philodendron can be susceptible to root rot if it is in too wet soil.

Temperature and humidity

The tree philodendron thrives in humid, warm environments. If the plant is kept indoors, it will thrive in a home with a moderate temperature and humidity level. You may notice your plant’s leaves turning yellow or becoming crispy. This could indicate that it needs more humidity. A humidifier or pebble tray with water could help. The tree philodendron can be grown outdoors in USDA cold hardiness zones 9a to 11b.

Fertilizer

To encourage healthy, strong growth, use a balanced fertilizer one month during the growing season. Avoid fertilizer burn by avoiding fertilizer application in winter and fall.

Propagating Tree Philodendron

Stem cuttings can be used to propagate the tree philodendron. These plants can grow to large sizes so trimming the stems may be necessary in order to control the size. These cuttings can be used to propagate new plants instead of being thrown away.

Make a cut just below the stem’s nodes to take a cutting. Every cutting should have at least two leaves and several nodes. Place the cut in water. To keep the water fresh, change it every other week. Within a few weeks, you will begin to notice small roots starting to form. Once the roots reach a length of one to two inches, you can transfer the cutting water to potting medium.

Common Diseases and Pests

These tropical plants are vulnerable to several common pests like mealybugs, fungusgnats, spider mites, and fungus gnats. It is important to inspect the leaves regularly for signs of pests in order to detect them early and eliminate them as quickly as possible.

Root rot can also affect tree philodendrons. This is caused by poor watering and compacted soil. Root rot can quickly kill plants by causing browning and dying stems. Root rot can be prevented if caught early enough.

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