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Philodendron Bipennifolium – #1 Care Gudie

Philodendron Bipennifolium – #1 Care Gudie

The Philodendron bipennifolium plant is also known as the Horsehead Philodendron or the Fiddleleaf Philodendron.

The Philodendron bipennifolium has basic care needs. It requires indirect sunlight, an average watering schedule, and well-draining loamy soil.

The interesting nicknames come from the unique shape of the shiny leaves.

Some Philodendron bipennifolium leaves are in the shape of a horse head. Others grow into the shape of a violin.

This fun Philodendron plant is a vine climber. It wraps itself mossy plant poles or anything it can reach.

The plant originates from rainforests in Brazil and Argentina. In the Philodendron bipennifolium’s natural habitat, it wraps itself around trees.

This plant is a hemi-epiphyte. This means it has a long skinny stem and aerial roots. Both the stem and roots help the Philodendron bipennifolium plant grow and vine.

You can put the plant in a hanging basket or you can grow it in a normal plant pot. But if you choose to grow this Philodendron in a plant pot, you’ll need a moss pole.

Caring for one of these plants is easy. You don’t need extensive knowledge of tropical plants or even houseplants.

We’re going to go through all the aspects of caring for a Philodendron bipennifolium plant. You’ll learn what soil to use and even how to propagate it.

This is our Philodendron bipennifolium plant care guide. It’s time to bring this plant into your home and give it the care it deserves.

Philodendron Bipennifolium Plant Care



You must use well-draining soil for your Philodendron bipennifolium. This soil doesn’t drain too much water and it doesn’t retain too much water.

First, it makes sure any extra water drains right on through. This is so the soil doesn’t become saturated.

An over-watered Philodendron can come across several issues. One of those issues is scary root rot (also known as wet feet).

When soil is holding onto too much moisture, oxygen can’t get through to the roots. If the roots go without oxygen for too long, they start to rot.

Once rot has taken over all the roots, your Philodendron bipennifolium plant will die.

But well-draining soil doesn’t only drain water. It also retains the right amount of moisture. You don’t want all the water draining through the soil right away.

Without water, your plant will become dehydrated. This can lead to a shriveled plant. If the Philodendron isn’t watered for a long time, it will die.

Your Philodendron bipennifolium plant will thrive in a loamy soil. Loamy soil is a great well-draining soil that many plants adore.

According to Purdue University, loamy soil mixes all the normal soil types. This creates a well-draining soil.

The types of soil included in loamy soil are clay, sand, and silt.

To create perfect loamy soil, the sand type you use needs to make up a little over half the soil.

The silt type of soil used should take up around 40% of the loamy soil. And the clay type of soil should make up the rest of the soil mixture.

This is the perfect balance for loamy soil. This balance makes sure excess water drains but still holds onto the needed moisture.

The soil for this plant needs to be a little acidic. The pH should range from 5 pH to 6 pH.


The Philodendron bipennifolium plant needs sunlight. But the plant’s leaves can’t take direct sunlight shining down on them.

Direct sunlight on the plant can turn the leaves yellow. If the plant sits in direct sunlight for a long time, the leaves can even get scorch marks.

So, your Philodendron bipennifolium needs indirect sunlight to thrive and go through photosynthesis.

Indirect sunlight is how this Philodendron gets sunlight in the rainforest.

The sun is shining down on it so it can absorb the light it needs. But there are trees and taller plants that keep the plant partially shaded.

Creating indirect sunlight for your Philodendron bipennifolium plant is simple. Set the plant in either a north or east-facing window.

Your plant will get the sunlight it needs but the sun’s rays won’t damage it.


When watering your Philodendron bipennifolium, you want the soil moist. But you don’t want the soil saturated.

When soil is saturated with water, your plant is at risk for several serious problems.

As we discussed earlier, soaked soil blocks oxygen from getting to the roots. So, your plant develops root rot.

This isn’t the only problem with over-watering a plant. It can cause discoloration of the leaves or even slow (or stop) the plant’s growth.

Because this happens easily to this Philodendron, you need to pay attention to the soil.

Wait for the soil to dry out before you go ahead and water your plant again. Of course, don’t leave the soil dry for long either.

If you’re not sure of the moisture, stick your finger through the soil. This lets you feel how wet or dry the soil is.

You don’t have to water your plant as often in the winter. The soil holds onto moisture longer during this time of year.


For your Philodendron bipennifolium, the temperature range should be between 75F (24C) and 85F (29C).

At night, the temperature should range between 65F (18C) and 70F (21C).

This Philodendron plant can’t take freezing temperatures.


Since the Philodendron bipennifolium comes from the rainforest, it needs humidity. Most homes aren’t able to create high humidity on their own.

You can create the high humidity your plant craves in your home. All these techniques are quite easy.

If you have a humidifier laying around, use it in the same room as your Philodendron. This is the most convenient method to create high humidity.

You can also spritz the leaves of your Philodendron plant using a water bottle full of water.

The only problem with this method is that you don’t know when you need to spray the leaves.

You have no way to gauge how much humidity is being created. Or if your plant is getting enough humidity in the first place.

The best way to create humidity is through the pebble tray method.

You can’t do this method if you’re using a hanging basket for your Philodendron bipennifolium.

Take a tray and fill it to the top with pebbles. Then fill the tray with tap water. You want the tray pretty full of water but you don’t want it to cover the pebbles.

Place the plant pot on the pebble tray. As the water evaporates, it’s creating moisture in the air. It’s creating that important high humidity.

When all the water is gone, refill it. Keep up the cycle. You won’t have to worry about dry air harming your Philodendron bipennifolium plant.


You don’t need to fertilize your Philodendron bipennifolium plant as often as others.

You only need to fertilize the plant about three times a year, depending on its’ health.

Try a slow-release fertilizer. A slow-release fertilizer does what its name suggests. It releases the fertilizer throughout the plant’s soil slowly.

This is one reason you don’t need to fertilize your Philodendron bipennifolium all the time.

When you go to fertilize your plant, make sure you’re spraying around five or six inches from the base.

Water the plant before you fertilize it. It needs moisture. Otherwise, the fertilizer can burn and damage your plant’s roots.

Beware of fertilizer that’s high in salt. If the salt builds up in your soil, it can harm your Philodendron bipennifolium.


The main method of propagating a Philodendron bipennifolium is through stem cuttings. Air layering is another great method for propagating this Philodendron.

We’ll walk you through the steps for both propagation methods down below.


Philodendron bipennifolium plants grow between three feet and seven feet in height.

The structure or mossy pole you use helps determine the height your plant will grow to be.

The leaves on this Philodendron grow anywhere from 10 inches to 18 inches in length.


Once a Philodendron bipennifolium plant matures, re-pot it every two to three years.

This includes moving the plant into a new hanging basket if that’s your plant’s home.

Two to three years is about how long it takes for the plant’s roots to outgrow a plant pot. You don’t want the roots to become compacted.

Compacted roots stress your plant out. A stressed plant is more susceptible to disease and even plant pests.

When you go to re-pot your Philodendron bipennifolium plant, the new pot needs to be only an inch bigger.

Too much space for the roots can also stress them out. So, you don’t want to re-pot into a much bigger plant pot.

How not to kill your Philodendron Bipennifolium

How not to kill your Philodendron Bipennifolium

Philodendron Bipennifolium Propagation Steps

Propagating a Philodendron bipennifolium plant is a fun process. It doesn’t matter if you want to duplicate your plant or if you want to give one as a gift.

There are different methods for the plant’s propagation process. The two most popular methods include stem cuttings and air layering.

March is the perfect month to propagate this Philodendron or any Philodendron plant.

Using Stem Cuttings

  1. Before you can start, you need to get your Philodendron bipennifolium stem cutting. It’s important to know the requirements for a perfect stem cutting. For this perfect stem cutting, you need to cut right below a leaf node. The cutting needs to be between two and four inches in length. It should also have at least two leaves still attached. You should use a pair of sterilized pruning shears. To sterilize your pruning shears, use 70% isopropyl alcohol. Once the shears are ready to go, you can make your cut.
  1. You want to cure your new stem cutting. Curing means you let your cutting sit out in a warm room for a week or two. This allows the cut end of your stem cutting to callous over. This calloused end goes into the soil. It helps the stem cutting root.
  1. While you’re waiting for the stem cutting to cure, go ahead and get your plant pot (or hanging basket) ready. You want to use a plant pot with drainage holes to help the excess water drain through. Use the loamy soil you created. If you’re using a plant pot, make sure you stick a mossy pole into the soil. This is the structure that your Philodendron bipennifolium plant can vine on. You won’t need it right away but it helps to have it ready.
  1. After your stem cutting has developed a calloused end, you can plant it. Start by sticking your finger into the soil a few inches. Place the stem cutting into the hole your finger created. Make sure you pack the soil around the cutting. This should hold the stem cutting up.
  1. Sometimes stem cuttings won’t stay up alone. To fix this, tie it to the mossy pole. If you don’t have your mossy pole ready, you can use a straw to do this.
  1. Now all you have to do is care for the stem cutting as you do the original plant. Make sure it’s getting indirect sunlight. Water it once the soil dries out. Treat the stem cutting like it’s an already rooted Philodendron.

Using Air Layering

  1. The very first step involves wounding your Philodendron bipennifolium plant. When you go to wound the stem, you need a sterilized knife. You can sterilize the knife with 70% isopropyl alcohol. Once your sterilized knife is ready, cut a wound that’s two inches deep and two inches in length.
  1. You want to make sure the wound stays open. You can do this by sticking a toothpick through it, positioning it so it’s open.
  1. Now you need moist sphagnum peat-moss. It needs to be moist so it sticks to the wound easier. Take a handful of the peat-moss and spread it all over the wound you created. You might want to spread peat-moss around the stem too. Some people like to add hormone rooting compound to speed up the rooting process. It’s up to you whether you want to use the compound.
  1. Take a piece of string and wrap it around the wound and stem. Tie the string at the back. This is another step to make sure the peat-moss stays stuck to the stem. However, if the sphagnum peat-moss is still sticking, you can skip this step.
  1. Take plastic wrap and wrap it around the wound and the stem. Make sure it’s wrapped tightly enough to hold the peat-moss onto the wound. But don’t wrap it too tight because it needs to breathe. If the plastic wrap doesn’t stay, you can use duct tape to hold it to the stem.
  1. You have to wait for the wound to root. In the meantime, you can get the plant pot (or hanging basket) ready. Make sure the plant pot has drainage holes. When the excess water drains through, the drainage holes let it escape through the bottom. Otherwise, the water only sits there.
  1. It takes about a month for the results of your hard work to show. Roots will start poking through the sphagnum peat-moss. You should wait until these roots have grown to be three or four inches in length before you cut the stem. When it’s time, use a sterilized knife to cut the wound from the stem. You want to cut a few inches above the peat-moss and a few inches below the peat-moss.
  1. Once you remove the wound from the original plant, you can remove the plastic wrap. Be very careful during this process. You don’t want to hurt the roots.
  1. Now you can plant the roots from the stem’s wound. Make sure the roots are under the soil so they can expand as they grow. Again, be careful when handling the roots.
  1. It’s time to care for the new plant. You’ll treat it as you treat the original plant. Make sure it’s getting the appropriate amount of light and water. Don’t forget to fertilize it when needed.


Common Problems with the Philodendron Bipennifolium

For the most part, Philodendron bipennifolium plants don’t attract plant pests. But there’s always a possibility you might find yourself with a pest infestation.

If there’s an infestation, there are only a few pests that you might find yourself dealing with.

Aphids are one of those plant pests. Aphids are teeny tiny soft-bodied insects.

When an infestation grows, there can be serious consequences for your Philodendron bipennifolium.

Aphids can do great harm to your plant or kill your plant. It’s important to treat the Philodendron for the pests right away if you find an infestation.

Aphids feed on the sap inside of your plant. They pierce through the outside with their mouths and suck the sap out.

The problem with this is that the sap inside your plant is super important. The sap carries the cells that carry water and nutrients throughout your plant.

Your Philodendron needs both water and nutrients to thrive. It also needs these things to go through photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is your plant’s way of feeding.

Another common pest that likes this Philodendron are scales, most often brown scales.

Brown scales are soft-bodied. This means they have no armor or protection around their bodies.

This is dangerous for them because it makes them easier to kill. But this is a good factor for plant owners who come across a brown scale infestation.

Like aphids, brown scales feed on the sap from a plant. They steal all those nutrients your plant needs as well as the hydration it drinks.

Neem oil is a great natural way to rid your Philodendron bipennifolium plant of pests. The heavy oil suffocates them.

Fill a clean spray bottle with the neem oil and spray away at your plant. Even though the oil is natural, you might want to test it on your plant to see its’ reaction.

Tips for an Unhappy Philodendron Bipennifolium

Caring for the Philodendron bipennifolium plant doesn’t take much energy. So, it doesn’t take much to keep this plant happy.

But that doesn’t mean you won’t come across some issues.

We’re here to help you understand what’s going on if your Philodendron is unhappy. And how to fix it.

Your Philodendron Bipennifolium’s Leaves are Wilting

There are several causes of wilting leaves in a Philodendron bipennifolium plant.

But if wilting leaves are the only real problem your plant is having, you’re under-watering it.

Under-watering a plant can cause it to become dehydrated. This is why the leaves are wilting. They’re shriveling from lack of hydration.

If a plant goes too long without water, it will die.

You need to start watering your Philodendron more. Check the soil every single day so you know if it needs water.

Under-watering a plant is an easy problem to turn around.

Your Philodendron Bipennifolium Has Weird Water-Soaked Lesions

Water-soaked lesions on your Philodendron bipennifolium plant isn’t a good sign. This is a common sign of Erwinia blight.

Erwinia blight is a horrible plant disease that can kill a plant fast. It’s caused by a nasty bacteria that takes over.

Other symptoms of Erwinia blight include black leaves, wilting leaves, and dying leaves.

If you’re able to catch the plant disease early enough, you should treat it right away.

The first step you need to take for an infected plant is to remove all infected areas.

Once you’re finished with that, you need to invest in a strong fungicide. The fungicide needs to be copper-based.

You have to spray down your plant with this fungicide. But before you do, make sure you test a small area of your plant to see how it will react to the chemicals.

Other Varieties of Philodendrons

The Philodendron bipennifolium plant isn’t the only Philodendron to decorate with.

Here are some more awesome Philodendron plants you can care for.

Philodendron domesticum

The Philodendron domesticum has long glossy arrow-shaped leaves. They have a variegated version with white or yellow mixed in with the glossy green.

Philodendron imbe

This plant looks a lot like the Philodendron domesticum. It has arrow-shaped leaves too. But the Philodendron imbe’s leaves grow to be rather large.

Philodendron scandens x oxycardium

This is a hybrid Philodendron. We all know the Philodendron scandens and its’ heart-shaped leaves. This plant not only has the heart-shaped leaves but grows like ivy.

Philodendron xanadu

This plant also has interesting leaves, in the shape of fingers. They can get large if grown in the right environment.

Philodendron melanochrysum

The Philodendron melanochrysum plant has velvety heart-shaped leaves. They’re soft to the touch and can grow to be three feet in length.

Philodendron Bipennifolium FAQ

Does the Philodendron bipennifolium grow fruits?

The Philodendron bipennifolium plant does grow fruits. These fruits don’t grow to be very big. Keep in mind, these fruits aren’t like the fruits we eat. They’re as toxic as the rest of the plant.

Is there a variegated version of the Philodendron bipennifolium?

Yes, there is a variegated version of the Philodendron bipennifolium plant. Unique yellow patterns form on the leaves, alongside the green foliage.

How can I prevent plant diseases from attacking my Philodendron bipennifolium?

To prevent your Philodendron bipennifolium from getting diseases is easy. But it doesn’t mean you can avoid them all. Just make sure excess water isn’t sitting in the soil of your plant. Too much moisture is one of the biggest causes of plant diseases and fungi.

Does the Philodendron bipennifolium grow fruits?

The Philodendron bipennifolium plant does grow fruits. These fruits don’t grow to be very big. Keep in mind, these fruits aren’t like the fruits we eat. They’re as toxic as the rest of the plant.

Is there a variegated version of the Philodendron bipennifolium?

Yes, there is a variegated version of the Philodendron bipennifolium plant. Unique yellow patterns form on the leaves, alongside the green foliage.

How can I prevent plant diseases from attacking my Philodendron bipennifolium?

To prevent your Philodendron bipennifolium from getting diseases is easy. But it doesn’t mean you can avoid them all. Just make sure excess water isn’t sitting in the soil of your plant. Too much moisture is one of the biggest causes of plant diseases and fungi.



The Philodendron bipennifolium plant is unique. You won’t find very many plants with leaves shaped like this Philodendron’s leaves.

This plant is a tropical plant that you won’t regret displaying in your home.

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