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Philodendron Domesticum Care – What you need to know

Philodendron Domesticum Care – What you need to know

In today’s article, we are discussing the Philodendron Domesticum.

The plant also goes by the names of Spadeleaf Philodendron or Burgundy Philodendron.  The Philodendron has about 450 species of stemmed and climbing herbs. This genus is native to tropical America.

To help your Philodendron Domesticum grow well, provide dim light and high humidity. It likes warm temperatures of 55 to 80 o F (12 to 26 degrees Celsius).

If you notice the stem and edges of the lead of Philodendron Domesticum, they will look slightly purple – thus the name Burgundy Philodendron. The leaves of the plant have a glossy texture, which makes it a perfect ornamental houseplant.

Many choose to keep them as a form of decoration as one does not need to simply grow them in a pot! You may also grow them in hanging baskets to add to the room’s aesthetics.

Given enough space, the plant loves to wrap around poles and walls, which adds a wonderful tropical accent to the rooms look, especially if its well-lit.

Apart from its decorative characteristics, the plant is known to be a great air purifier as it removes harmful chemicals from the environment.

Aside from the aforementioned benefit, the plant has a strong root system and is known to be healthy – thereby requiring less care.



Basic plant care for Philodendron Domesticum


Philodendrons enjoy thriving in rich and loose potting soil. The soil should be well-drained and high in organic matter.

The best-known soil is the sphagnum peat moss. The recommended pH for growing your Philodendron Domesticum is 5.0 – 6.0, a slightly acidic soil.

I personally recommend striking a balance between moist and wet soil.

While the plant does need a moderate amount of water, but if the soil is too wet, it can encourage root rotting – this can be fatal for your Philodendron Domesticum.



Giving the right amount of water is essential to Philodendron’s growth. I recommend watering the plants just enough that the water runs through the drainage hole. It keeps the soil moisturized.

Discard the run out water to prevent the plant from sitting in it for too long. You can touch the surface to feel if it’s dry enough for the next watering session.

By checking the top layer of the soil, you can ensure that root rot is avoided as well as overwatering.



Philodendron domesticum likes to thrive in dim light. At one point, I did try to acclimatize my Philodendron under bright light, but the conditions weren’t right. The plant grew faster, but I had to frequently fertilize to sustain its rapid growth.

Furthermore, under bright light, the plant would also require more moisture. However, I think Philodendron Domesticum enjoys having the best of both worlds, which is possible under a tropical canopy light.

I notice that whenever I grow my Philodendron Domesticum under direct light, the leaves turn yellow. Sometimes under very dim light, the leaves can start to become leggy.



Since the plant is a native to South America, it is not a surprise to see it being accustomed to temperate temperatures.

Such warm temperatures can be found in one’s home, which is why I prefer them as houseplants.

The best temperature range to grow your Philodendron Domesticum is 12 to 26 degrees Celsius (55-80 o F).

Some people like to keep the plant outside during the summers.

But it has to be brought back in during winters because the Philodendron Domesticum does not tolerate temperatures below 55 o F.

Similarly, when I place the plant inside the house, I keep the plant away from windows and entryways as it does not like cold draughts.

The plant also does not enjoy too hot conditions, so you have to keep it away from stoves and ovens.

A good rule of thumb is that as long as you are comfortable with the internal temperature of your house – your Domesticum will also feel the same.



Philodendron Domesticum enjoys a good amount of humidity. My house usually has an air conditioner or fan on which brings down the overall moisture.

Therefore, I use artificial methods to maintain the level of moisture.

You can keep the plant in a pebble tray of water. This causes the humidity around it to increase due to evaporation. This is the cheapest method to improve humidity levels.

Another method is to shower the plant lightly. During the growing season, you have to be more mindful of the water required by the Domesticum.

I mist the plant every two days. However, during winter, I extend the interval time by a day or two; and mist the Domesticum plant every three to four days.

Keeping the schedule in mind can be confusing, but you could do that by making a chart or setting a mobile alarm.

The third method is probably not the most economical but definitely the most effective. Use a humidifier which does an excellent job on days the temperature is a bit colder than normal, especially during winters.



Philodendron Domesticum has spade-like long leaves. To maintain their health and glossy texture, I fertilize the plant regularly.

During the beginning of the growing season, you can use slow-release pellets. However, on a more weekly basis, go for liquid fertilizer.

In winter, I would suggest fertilizing the Philodendron Domesticum plant once or twice a month.

Sometimes the new leaves are pale in color – this is because the plant is not getting enough calcium and magnesium.

Overfertilization can be detrimental to Philodendron’s growth. You can see stunted growth, burned leaf margins, and death of the plant.



Most Philodendron varieties are fast-growers, including the Domesticum. To manage the plant, I pinch off the new growth and then repot them.

Repotting of Philodendron Domesticum is usually done during the late winters or spring. You can follow the following steps to repot the Philodendron Domesticum:

  • Repot the plant in a space that is large enough for the roots to cramp slightly. The new planter should be about 2-3 inches wider than the previous one.
  • In case the pot does not have any drainage holes, fill the bottom with stones or broken crockery.
  • Make sure to consistently use a commercial potting soil that has the right mixture of loam, sand, and peat moss.
  • It would be even better if it contains charcoal, broken crocks, and gravel.
  • The newly potted Philodendron Domesticum needs to be water carefully, especially during the first month. This ensures that the roots are moist and not running dry.
  • While watering the Domesticum is important, ensure that the soil does not become soggy.
  • As the Philodendron Domesticum is a vining type of plant, I would recommend you to add a moss stake or a type of pole at the time of replanting.



Philodendron Domesticum does not need frequent pruning. However, you may optionally do so for a different look or to remove dead or damaged leaves.

From my personal experience, a pruning session is helpful. Not only do I have a collection for new plants, but I also gift some to my friends.

You can prune the Philodendron Domesticum to control the size of the plant or to give it a bushier look. Overtime if I see that the leaves are turning brown, I either snap them off or cut them as close as possible to the base.

As the Domesticum plant ages, the stems of the plant will start to resemble a trunk. To give it a more tree-like appearance, remove the lower leaves. You can use sharp scissors, but secateurs can be another option.

I would highly recommend wearing gloves at the time of pruning as the plant has a toxic sap that can cause irritation on the skin or possible health hazard if ingested.




Stem Cutting:

  • Philodendron Domesticum can be propagated by cuttings using the stem cutting method.
  • I use stem cutting on a leaf node that is intact. I choose to do it on the part of the plant from which roots emerge.
  • I then propagate the cut stem in soil or water for the next few weeks.
  • To propagate the Philodendron Domesticum’s stem in water, I simply place it in a jar of water.
  • I then place it in a warm spot and observe in the upcoming days for any root development.
  • To propagate in soil, I clip the ends of the stem of the Philodendron to dip it in a rooting hormone.
  • I then place it in moist soil and make sure that it is receiving support to stand tall by gently tucking it in. The propagated stem is then placed inside a moist soil and put in a warm spot.
  • To check for root growth, I gently pull on the stem to feel for any resistance. Resistance is a sign that the roots have formed. After this, I move the plant to a large pot.


Air Layering:

  • Air layering is an excellent method to use to encourage the growth of new plants while still being attached to the parent Philodendron Domesticum plant.
  • For air layering, I first identify one or two nodes on the Philodendron Domesticum. This can be identified by looking for a bumpy part in the stem.
  • Once I identify my choice of nodes, the next step is to wrap them with a moist moss with the help of a cling film.
  • It will take a few weeks for the roots to appear. However, you should not simply wait but also keep spraying the moss to keep it moist.



It is very rare for Philodendron Domesticum to have any flower growth on them, especially if they are being used as a houseplant.

It should be noted that the average blooming age for Philodendron Domesticum is about 20 years. Flowers appear on the mature plant, which can take several decades!

If they do have any blooms on them, I usually place them inside a spathe as a decoration. It adds to the decorative appeal of the plant.



If grown under the right conditions, the plant can grow up to 8 feet tall.

When the plant matures, its leaves grow up to 22 inches in length and 9 inches in width. They look like spades. That is why they are called Spadeleaf!



Common Problems for Philodendron domesticum

The Philodendron Domesticum is a tropical plant. Common issues related to them are root rotting and stunted growth due to insufficient fertilizer. However, some diseases and pests may also strike:

POWDERY MILDEW – Philodendron Domesticum is grown in moist and shady conditions. This makes the leaves of the plant susceptible to mildew fungus. To avoid powdery mildew from infecting your plant, move the Philodendron to a location that has better air circulation.

If you are going to place your Philodendron Domesticum plant outside, dig away a few plants to give it more space. Other plants should be at least 24 inches away from the Philodendron.

If the powdery mildew returns, do not cut the leaves again. I recommend spraying the leaves with a fungicide. I spray the leaves until they are coated and repeat the action every four days until the mildew clears.

ERWINIA BLIGHT – It is the most common Philodendron disease and very fatal. The stem of the Philodendron Domesticum gets covered with lesions filled with water. Sometimes instead of the stem, the infection can spread to the leaves as well.

Newer leaves are usually more yellow in color and appear to be smaller than normal Philodendron Domesticum’s. The dying plant emits an undesirable smell.

To control Erwinia blight, I recommend minimizing the watering of the Philodendron Domesticum. Do not fertilize beyond the recommended dose.

PSEUDOMONAS LEAF SPOT – Black-edged lesions form on the leaf, which contains brown and yellow spots. The bacterial growth occurs on the top of the leaf and causes death in the tissue of the Philodendron Domesticum. If not treated in time, the leaves turn papery and delicate – a slight touch breaks the leaves.

I avoid over-head watering when the disease occurs to prevent further spreading of bacteria. Additionally, I would also recommend the use of copper fungicide.

XANTHOMONAS LEAF SPOT – The Xanthomonas bacterium attacks Philodendron Domesticum through wounds, pores, and stomata under the leaf surface. This results in leaves slowly becoming yellow and then eventually falling off.

The threat of this disease arises during highly humid conditions of 70-90 degrees Fahrenheit. To prevent this bacterial disease from growing, mechanical injuries should be avoided so that fewer wounds are available for its growth.

I recommend watering your Philodendron Domesticum at mid-morning so that the plant dries faster. This way, the medium of transmission gets removed in which the bacterium thrives.

MEALY BUGS – If the Philodendron Domesticum plant is kept above optimum temperatures, it can become a home for the notorious plant-sucking pests – mealybugs. These are white soft-bodied, wingless insects which draw the sap out of the plant by sucking on its stems.

If mealybugs are too high in number, they can result in yellowing and curling of leaves. To prevent their growth, I dap the infested area with alcohol.

Do not overwater or over-fertilize the plant as moisture helps mealybugs to propagate further.

APHIDS – Aphid infestations develop quickly on indoor plants like Philodendron Domesticum. As these insects are highly mobile, it is recommended that an infested Philodendron Domesticum is immediately isolated from the rest of the plants to prevent their spread.

Aphids normally attack the newly grown parts of the Philodendron Domesticum. This results in the new foliage looking sickly and stunted. If the infestation gets any worse, leaves may start to fall.

To prevent the further growth of these insects, I use insecticidal soap, which is easily available in the market. Make one yourself by mixing one teaspoon of detergent in water and spraying it on the plant.

Neem oil is another effective treatment due to its fungicidal and insecticidal properties. According to the Environmental Protection Association, neem is safe for use on ornamental plants.


Tips for growing

Following are the tips you must keep in mind to grow your Philodendron Domesticum in a healthy manner:

  • Keep stress factors under control by avoiding over or under-watering.
  • Drain the water properly by placing the plant in a draining pot.
  • Water the Philodendron Domesticum from underneath.
  • Do annual repotting in appropriate sized containers.
  • Actively fertilize the plant during the summers and spring.
  • Isolate a sick Philodendron Domesticum at first sign or symptoms.


Frequently asked questions



The Philodendron Domesticum’s leaves contain calcium oxalate, which, if consumed, can be fatal to both humans as well as pets. It can harm your gastrointestinal tract as well as cause some irritation, which can often be confused with an allergy.



The Pothos variety is often confused with Philodendron Domesticum as they have similar leaf shapes. However, the Pothos has more variegated leaves and is smaller than the Philodendron in size.



The Philodendron Domesticum is native to the tropical jungles of South America. Therefore, they prefer medium light intensity.



The Philodendron Domesticum is an excellent choice for home and office due to its aesthetic-glossy leaves and a bare minimum requirement for light. It is an easy-to-grow plant that most beginners prefer to experiment with as their first-time plantation.

The Philodendron Domesticum plant easily adapts to the internal environment of a house. That is why learning how to care for it is incredibly simple!

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