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All About Philodendrons
There are two basic types of philodendrons, climbers, and non climbers. All are native to tropical forests and as such prefer the same type of conditions in your home-bright, yet not direct sunlight and warm moist air. The climbing group is very well suited to indoor growing, although it does need a firm support to grow on, such as a moss covered stick. The most popular of the climbers is Philodendron scandens, or Heart Shaped Philodendron. This plant gets its name from its leaves, which are deep green, glossy, and heart shaped. P. scandens is a tough plant, able to withstand neglect and less than optimal lighting conditions. Another popular climber is P. Micans, also known as Velvet Philodendron. This beauty has the same heart shaped leaves as. P. scandens, but they have a rich, velvety appearance and the undersides have a touch of burgundy. A third variety, called Philodendron Brasil or Lemon Lime Philo, is variegated. The leaves are a deep green with splashes of lime.
The non-climbers are plants that grow to immense proportions and aren't really suited to indoor growing unless you have huge amounts of space. For example, Philodendron selloum, or Lacy Tree Philodendron, grows to 8 feet or more with leaves that are up to 2 feet long! Such varieties are better suited to public gardens and arboretums.
The climbing varieties of Philodendron are easy to care for. They will thrive in lower light situations and tolerate some neglect. They do need warm air (nothing below 55 degrees F or so) and appreciate being misted regularly. Philos don't have too many pest problems aside from spider mites (if not given enough humidity) and occasionally, scale.
Dry air will also cause the leaf tips to turn brown and crispy. While unsightly, it won't hurt the plant.
Philos look lovely in hanging baskets, but you are likely to find mature plants sold with a moss covered board or stick. Such supports can also be purchased by themselves at most garden centers and nurseries. Keep them moist and push any aerial roots into them as this will help bring moisture to the upper leaves of the plant. Philos are easy to propagate, just take cuttings and place them in a glass of water and they'll root in no time.
If you don't yet own a philo, I hope this article will inspire you to give these tropical beauties a try!
Content copyright © 2014 by Sue Walsh. All rights reserved.
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