Plant Life Balance

The one plant every beginner plant parent should own

It Phils our rooms, it Phils our hearts, and it Phils its pot, too.

It’s one of the first plants every beginner plant parent should own, it’s the plant that gives us confidence as it grows and grows and grows. It’s… the philodendron!

The philodendron is a classic go-to genus that many plant lovers are instinctively drawn to due to its easy-grow nature, its adaptability, and its gorgeous foliage. One of the perks of choosing from the philodendron family is that there’s just so many varieties to choose from – over 480 in total – so play it like Pokémon, and be sure to catch ’em all!

Whether you’re more for a larger variety (like a lacy tree or xanadu), a vine-y climber (such as the heartleaf or velvet leaf) or even a fancy feature plant (look no further than the pink princess), there’s a philodendron for every type of garden and level of green thumb.

Where

The philodendron is natively found in the South American rainforests, where – true to its name (from the Greek words ‘love’, philo, and ‘tree’, dendron) – it loves to embrace the trees that it’s surrounded by. This tendency to clinginess makes it the perfect plant to bring a bit of green to the vertical surfaces of your home.

Being tropical, the philodendron loves a good balance of light, moisture and water. As long as you get this mix right, philodendrons are extremely adaptable and can be grown just about anywhere.

Be aware that some varieties can grow to dizzying heights of up to 3 metres, so be sure to chat with the experts at your local nursery to ensure that you choose one that best suits your indoor or outdoor space.

Care

Philodendrons are popular for many reasons, and a big one is that they’re easy-as to grow. As a guide, think about what the conditions in the philodrendron’s native rainforest would be like, and replicate that: keep out of strong direct sun (dappled light is perfect), sheltered from strong winds, and a moist – but well-draining – soil.

A good indicator that they need to be watered is if the top inch of soil dries out. Use the typical stick-your-finger-in-the-soil trick, and if that feels dry, give it a drink.

Be careful of not positioning the philodendron in hot, direct sunlight – this can alter the colour of its lush green foliage to yellow. No thank you!

Care tips for climbers

Remember we mentioned earlier that there’s over 480 varieties in the philodendron genus? To make life easier in figuring out what’s what, the varieties are generally divided into two categories: ‘climbers’, and ‘upright’.

Climbers, as the name suggests, will climb up any kind of nearby surface. Try planting these babies next to a pole for a bit of support. Otherwise, they make a great accessory for a bookshelf, as the leaves will trail down beautifully.

Care tips for upright

Upright philodendrons are the more sturdy-looking varieties with flashy green leaves that you’re probably used to seeing out in public parks and gardens. Don’t be fooled if they seem to grow a little slower that their climbing counterparts: these guys can grow into giants over 3 metres tall.

If you want them to be smaller, don’t be afraid to give them a snip – and gift your cuttings to a friend to propagate!

Anything else I should know?

A common mistake that people make is thinking that the philodendron is the same plant as the monstera deliciosa or pothos vine. It’s easy to confuse them, but don’t stress – if you’re unsure, ask at your local Plant Life Balance accredited nursery and they’ll be able to help you figure out which plant you’re actually after, and which will best suit your home.

As lovely as they are, be mindful, too, that philodendrons are toxic to both humans and pets, so if you have small people or furry friends in the house, keep them well separated.

Finally, because of their speedy growth, potted philodendrons will tend to outgrow their homes over time. Take care to check their roots regularly – when they are starting to grow out of the pot, carefully repot them into a new and more spacious home.

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"Sometimes I like to wear this little sock over me ghostly tail…" 😂🌿 Named this philodendron brasil The Flying Dutchman because of that little tail and I LOVE him 💕 he's gotten a bit big for his pot the past few weeks so it looks like some repotting is in order! (Also one of my all time favorite tattoos by @noodles_tattooer !) . I've spent the past couple weeks entirely engulfed in painting and working on my ceramics, and I definitely haven't been the best plant mom. Giving the jungle a hearty watering and TLC today to make sure they remember I love them and don't die on me 😂 . . . #theflyingdutchman #spongebob #philodendronbrasil #philodendron #houseplantclub #houseplantcommunity #plantypeople #decoratingwithplants #variegatedplants #house_plant_community #UrbanJungleBlog #urbanjungle #plantmama #plantlovers #plantdaddy #plantstagram

A post shared by Danielle Lucier ☀️ (@thepainted_lady) on

Keen to Phil your house up (more) with these reliable favourites? Give your closest Plant Life Balance accredited nursery a buzz and find out which varieties they have in stock.

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