Fancy giving your room a tropical flair? Then the Philodendron atom care will not disappoint. Dark green leaves that have a shiny and waxy look will make you think of a tropical rainforest.
Pair this with other tropical plants in your living room and you will feel like you are on vacation. On top of that the Philodendron atom is a pretty easy plant to care for.
It’s a great starter plant for those looking to begin a plant collection. Let’s check out how to care for the Philodendron atom plant together.
Philodendron atom care
Keep the soil moist but well-drained for your Philodendron atom. Fertilize in the summer months and ease off on the water in the winter. Avoid direct sunlight as this can burn the leaves. Rather, you should keep your plant in indirect light. Watch out for insect attacks by checking regularly.
A subtropical plant, the Philodendron atom prefers a soil that is rich with nutrients. It should be well-draining but able to retain enough water. Lean towards an alkaline pH and ensure you add a draining material such as perlite or peat moss.
This tropical plant would – in the wild – be sitting in a nutrient-dense moist soil. The tree canopy above would prevent sunlight directly hitting on the soil and as a result it would retain moisture well.
Create a mix of soil that will help the Philodendron atom thrive by mixing one part standard potting soil to one part perlite and one part peat moss. You can also source soil specifically made for philodendrons online.
The Philodendron atom is a low light plant. It will be happiest in a room with bright but indirect sunlight. Be careful not to expose it to direct sun rays – this will burn the leaves. If you are in a very low light environment the leaves will turn much darker. Best to put it in a bright corner away from the window.
Hidden in the wild from the sun’s burning rays by the rainforest canopy above it, the philodendron atom is not used to direct sunlight. Exposure will damage its leaves, even though they look pretty sturdy.
It loves bright but indirect light. This makes it ideal for apartments, halls, atriums or areas with frosted glass. Place yours in a bright room but away from the window sill. For sure, never sit it in full sun even if you feel it is not very strong.
Water around once a week in the growing season, but hold off if the soil is still very wet. In fact, it does the plant well if it has started to dry off on the top inch of soil in between waterings. Watch out for yellow leaves as this is a sign that your Philodendron atom is receiving too much water.
Carefully monitor both your watering regime and soil water content. That way you can adjust if your plant begins to show signs of stress.
Yellow leaves are often a sign that the plant is receiving too much water. On the flip side, brown leaves usually mean that it is getting too little.
If you experience these symptoms then play around with your watering habits accordingly. If the plant looks a little “wilty” this too can be evidence that it needs a drink. Just be sure to not water the plant until the liquid pools in the soil.
The absolute minimum temperature to which you should expose your Philodendron atom is 55 degrees Fahrenheit. It prefers a range above this, up to a maximum of 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure you do not expose your Philodendron atom to frost or draughts in the winter months.
As a tropical plant, it is no surprise that the Philodendron atom loves a bit of warmth and is not as happy with cold. That does not mean however that you can let it sweat – temperatures above 85 degrees will also cause damage.
Do not keep your plant near radiators or fires. Likewise, of course very cold stone floors in winter or cool air conditioning vents in the summer should be avoided.
The Philodendron atom loves a humid atmosphere of at least 55%. 60% and it will really be happy. Encourage humidity by misting the leaves, purchasing a humidifying tray (or make your own with pebbles and water) or keep you plant in high water areas such as kitchens and bathrooms.
It is no surprise that this plant is happiest in a humid environment. It will likely do OK in the average home, but it will really begin to shine when you have humidity levels of over 60%.
Be careful in the winter months – radiators and other heating systems can really dry out the air. During this time you may find a plant that is happy enough in the summer beginning to suffer.
In the early stages, the tips of the leaves may begin to turn brown, then begin to yellow. In later stages, they can crisp up altogether.
Mist the leaves daily and encourage humidity by grouping other plants together. You can also purchase humidity trays or humidifiers.
If you would rather try a DIY version, place pebbles into a tray of water, then set the plant pot on top.
Finally, areas like bathrooms and kitchens will have higher humidity levels than rooms that do not have running taps. Move your plant in there for a while if you suspect humidity levels are low.
Fertilizer can be used to create full and lush leaves. Ensure you apply per the instructions on the pack and do not over-fertilize. Every four weeks in the summer – at a maximum, and only a couple of times during the winter should suffice.
A standard, all-purpose fertilizer will be fine for your Philodendron atom. Potassium, nitrogen and phosphorous content should be equal. You can use a liquid base or small slow-release pellets.
Flush out the soil in the summer to clear off any pent up minerals that are stuck in the soil. Too many and the plant can begin to suffer – brown leaf tips would be one sign of too much fertilizer.
The soil can also begin to grow a white covering. This is a buildup of extra salts. Flush the salt out by rinsing water through the soil until it is running through the drainage holes.
Propagate your philodendron atom from cuttings. Take a cutting with at least 2 nodules using a clean and sterile knife. Use potting soil or even water to root your cuttings, and replant to a pot when new growth has started.
Propagating your Philodendron atom is relatively easy. You can of course propagate from store bought seeds but that is just not as fun!
Use cuttings from your own plants for an extra level of satisfaction – it is so fun to watch them grow – plus it saves money.
A couple of days before you will take the cutting make sure you give the plant a good drink of water. This will help it absorb nutrients and prepare it for the transplant. It can also help the plant get over any initial transplant shock, or at least minimize the effects.
You do not need to remove the plant from the pot as you will take a stem and a couple of nodules with leaves on them for cutting. Use a clean knife to make the cut and remove some of the leaves. Make sure the stem comes with leaves – you will need them to absorb energy to product regrowth.
Place your cutting in potting soil or – our favorite – in a tall glass of water. Keep soil moist and place either your pot or glass in a bright location but away from direct sunlight.
If the cutting has taken successfully you will see new growth in around 2 weeks. Once the roots have reached around 3 or 4 inches – of course this is easier to see if you grow it in a glass – you can move to a regular pot.
Keep the soil watering schedule at this point the same as the mother plant.
Philodendron atoms are little shrub like plants. Their growth will usually end up at around 20 to 30 centimeters and not much more. As the plant ages it will begin to turn waxier in feel which will contribute to its tropical vibe.
Promote growth in your Philodendron atom by ensuring the light, soil, nutrient and water conditions are optimal.
Do not worry in the winter if it looks like the plant has slowed growing altogether – this is the traditional dormancy period and is very normal, especially if light levels have been reduced.
In fact, the plant is usually seen as a slow grower anyway, but you can try to make it grow faster by ensuring warmth and light throughout the year.
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Problems with Philodendron Atom
Ensure that watering is not too aggressive in order to avoid root rot and that humidity levels are above 50%. Temperature should be on the higher side – 55% or above. Make sure that you monitor the plant also for insect attack.
This is probably the most difficult problem to manage, especially as the plant does like the soil to be moist. Drainage holes will of course help, as will the right soil mix.
But if you overwater the plant or if the soil seems to have water pooled in it then you need to be careful. Prolonged exposure to high water levels can put this easy-going plant at risk of root rot.
This can quickly become fatal as the roots are exposed to a fungal infection and cannot absorb any nutrients from the soil.
The tricky thing however is that it is hard to spot, especially as the worst of the damage is usually done below the surface.
The plant may wobble at the base, look unsteady, become mushy or even topple over. At this point it will generally be difficult to save your Philodendron Atom.
Keep your watering regime consistent but monitor for the soil becoming too wet. Let the top of it start to dry out before you water in between doses.
Leaves dropping off
A range of factors can contribute to the leaves dropping off and it may be trial and error before you can work out exactly what has been going on.
Generally it is usually related to low humidity or reduced temperatures. Even too much sun light can cause the leaves to weaken and fall off. Follow the tips in this guide to ensure you don’t lose any growth.
If your Philodendron atom is vulnerable due to not getting enough nutrients or insufficient light, it can be prone to insect attack.
Aphids and mealy bugs can be a nuisance at best, but they can also introduce infections. Rinse the plant out with water and try to wash the leaves.
You will probably however have to use an insecticidal soap to remove them. In the meantime, separate your plant from any others in the vicinity in case it spreads.
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.