Today’s plant is Philodendron Imbe, a vigorous, evergreen, climbing shrub that can grow up to 16 ft tall. The long, aerial rooting stems trail down towards the ground for this plant.
Philodendron Imbe needs watering only when the plant soil is dry. It likes well-draining rich soil combined with high humidity for maximum growth as an indoor plant.
Philodendrons are great plants for indoor locations or patio. The species we are discussing today also comes in the list of rare Philodendrons. Variegated Philodendron Imbe, aka the Mottled Imbe, is also a climbing plant capable of reaching 10 feet in a single growing season.
The main features of Philodendrons are the long aerial roots and the extremely big green leaves with veins. Almost all Philodendron species are famous as air correctors or purifiers. They act as a biofilter and remove harmful pollutants like formaldehyde.
The aerial roots and huge leaves collect the harmful pollutants, and for this reason, all Philodendron are toxic for consumption.
Based on its natural habitat, Philodendron Imbe likes an indoor environment conditions resembling the rainforest. This article presents the complete guide to help you create the necessary conditions for your houseplant.
- 1 Basic Plant Care for Philodendron Imbe
- 2 Common Problems for Philodendron Imbe
- 3 Tips for Growing Philodendron Imbe
- 4 Frequently Asked Questions about Philodendron Imbe
- 5 Conclusion
Basic Plant Care for Philodendron Imbe
This plant is easy to grow with minimal attention both indoor and outdoor, but you cannot compromise the type of soil required for it. This particular Philodendron prefers a moist, well-draining, and humus-rich soil.
Avoid using cheap garden soil because it tends to dry out more quickly. You can use any commercial potting mix but don’t forget to enrich it with compost or rotten leaves. Coconut fibers are another option.
An ideal potting soil for Philodendrons should fulfill the following criteria:
- Humus rich with plenty of nutrients.
- Lightweight consistency with sand or coconut fibers.
- Good permeability.
The outdoor growing zones are 9b -11, and the patio growing zones are 4a – 11. But only grow it outdoors in mild climates and maintain the soil pH between 5 to 7, meaning Philodendron Imbe likes acidic to neutral soil.
The Philodendron Imbe needs very little water as compared to other houseplants. From my experience, lukewarm water should be used for Philodendrons. Coldwater can cause temperature shocks. You should water the Philodendron Imbe so that the soil remains moist without any excess water.
You have to allow the soil to dry before watering the plant again. But remember that the plant does not like to dry out completely, and it really enjoys light spraying of the leaves.
In warm or dry weather, I spray my plants every two days, whereas, in winter, spraying after three or four days is great.
This plant can tolerate a maximum of 85% sun. A spot with partial shade is perfect for the Philodendron Imbe. As a successful Philodendron grower, I suggest that filtered sunlight is best. Therefore, either add sheer curtains or install window blinds to make sure your plant gets filtered light.
Outdoors this plant should be grown only under shade cloth; at least 20% shade cloth is compulsory.
You have to position the pot where direct sunlight cannot touch the foliage of the Imbe plant as excessive sunlight exposure can cause yellow leaves.
Direct light, especially the afternoon sun, will also cause the leaves to lose their color. Finding the right balance is important because inadequate light is also harmful; it causes the stems to become leggy.
If you are growing it indoors, the house temperature should be between 55 to 88 degrees Fahrenheit. This tropical plant is not winter or frost hardy. The minimum temperature should not drop below 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
I bring all my outdoor or patio planters inside whenever the temperature starts dropping below the minimum, especially at night time.
After light and temperature, humidity is the most important considerations for Philodendrons. Even though this plant can survive in low humidity levels, high humidity favors its growing conditions.
Make sure the air moisture level within your apartment or house is at least 60%. You can do this in several ways:
- Group your houseplants together.
- Install a pebble tray for your plant and fill it with water. As it evaporates, it creates humidity around the Philodendron Imbe.
- Mist the leaves to improve humidity. The frequency of misting will vary depending on the season and temperature.
- The most expensive method is to use a humidifier. But it is worth it if you have more than one plant that loves high humidity.
This species is a low feeder, but it will appreciate occasional feeding with plant food that is rich in magnesium. Between spring and summer, you should fertilize the Philodendron every week or every two weeks.
Plants with no fertilization tend to grow slower compared to those fertilized. But be wary of over-fertilization. It can not only damage the foliage but eventually kill the Philodendron.
During active growth months, the plant needs extra nutrients to grow and have prolific growth. You should use fertilizer based on the instructions on the label, or it’s best to dilute at half the strength of the recommended rate.
I use a 15-5-10 slow release for my Philodendron Imbe, and it works great.
In winter, the plant needs fewer nutrients because of its dormancy. So, you can either stop fertilizing in autumn and winter. Or, if you are concerned about your plant’s health, you can fertilize once a month at max in these two seasons.
The only thing you need to remember about repotting your houseplants is to repot them only when the roots grow out of the pot. The same goes for Philodendron Imbe.
Spring or early summer is the best season for repotting, as most plants are the strongest in these seasons. So they can easily handle root pruning or transplant shock. Do not fertilize for about two weeks after repotting.
If your plant has grown too big, you can prune few stems and leaves to bring it back to a manageable size. Try to remove the damaged or yellowing foliage first.
You can prune the plant any time between spring or late summer. Always wear protective gloves while pruning or trimming to avoid any allergies. Another consideration is to use sterilized and clean tools. You can do this by wiping your instruments with rubbing alcohol.
Philodendrons can be propagated in several ways; two well-known methods are discussed below with a detailed description of steps.
- Air layering is the most suited method for climbing Philodendrons, and the steps are straightforward. Select a healthy stem on your Philodendron plant with at least one leaf on it.
- Take sphagnum moss and wrap it around the leaf node that is located just below the leaf.
- You can secure it using a plastic wrap, and don’t forget to leave a small open area at the top.
- This is important for air circulation and disease prevention. You will moisturize the moss by spraying water via this opening.
- Before sealing the plastic wrap, thoroughly moisturize the sphagnum moss.
- Spray the moss every few days to maintain moisture content and humidity. After a few weeks, you will notice that small roots have grown at the leaf node.
- Now your plant is ready for a stem cutting. Remove the plastic wrap and, using sterilized cutting shears, make a cut below the point where roots have developed.
- Now you can plant this stem cutting in a potting mixture that is suitable for Philodendrons. You can prepare a custom mixture by following the instructions mentioned in the soil section of this article.
- In case you cutting did not root, there is nothing to lose because you did not waste any healthy part of your plant. For this reason, air layering is the safest and favorite method of many gardeners for propagation.
- Take a few cuttings by making cut just below the leaf node. Spring or summers are the perfect seasons for propagation.
- If you have more than one cutting, you can place them in separate pots or clear plastic cups. Prepare a mixture of sand and compost to plant the cutting.
- You have to keep the cutting well-watered and seal it with a plastic bag.
- The cutting needs normal room temperature and bright, indirect light for root growth.
- It is important to make sure the cutting is not situated in a too sunny location, this will cause sunburns, and the cutting may even die.
- You can allow for air circulation every two or three weeks to prevent any mold formation. Install small wooden sticks and tie your cuttings with them. This will help this climbing Philodendron grow upwards.
- Mostly under the right conditions, the cutting will start rooting in three to four weeks. But it can take longer, so be patient.
- If the cutting is green and growing slowly, it has probably rooted. But if it brown and dry, sadly, your cutting has not rooted.
- After the roots sprout, allow them to grow for a few weeks before the final transplant.
- It is better to wait for a few weeks before giving up on your cutting because often times cuttings take longer based on the environment, season or temperature. But do not overfeed or overwater your cutting during this period.
- After a few inches of root growth, your cutting is ready to be transplanted in a fresh potting mixture. You can continue the plant care discussed previously to help the young cutting grow healthy.
- Mostly the original leaves die; this is because the nutrients were consumed by the cutting for new leaf growth and root development. Remove the dying leaf from the cutting.
For propagation by leaf cuttings, you follow the same steps; except this time, you will use a single leaf from the Philodendron Imbe instead of a whole stem cutting.
This plant has hooded flowers with spadix. The interesting thing is that this plant has the ability to heat the flowering spadix as the pollen becomes ready for fertilization.
This heat increases the intensity of the fragrance produced by the plant, thereby attracting more pollinating insects and increasing the level of fertilization.
This is a fast-growing plant, and most mature Philodendron Imbe reach a height of 8 ft. The variegated version is a colorful climbing Philodendron with white spots and large blotches on the long narrow leaves.
The leaves on a mature plant are about 2 ft long and 2-6 inches wide. The vines are one inch or more diameter. Each leaf is uniquely different.
The special feature about the variegated versions is that it never returns back to all green. As the plant matures, most of the blotches disappear, but the white spots remain.
As this climbing Philodendron plant can get quite big, it needs vertical support or some climbing help. You can either buy a custom-made support from a store or use rough-barked branches, moss sticks. Bamboo is also suitable as climbing support; simply tie your plant with it using a thread or string.
Common Problems for Philodendron Imbe
Almost all Philodendrons are vulnerable to houseplant pest attacks. But there is nothing to worry about as long as the plant is not infested heavily. Common houseplant pests include spider mites, thrips, mealybugs, and scale insects. All of these are easy to control and treat.
Spider mites are located on axils and leaf borders. They will mostly appear whenever you mist or water the plant. You can use soapy water to treat them, dip a soft cloth in the solution, and wipe the leaves.
Mealybugs are the most common pests on Philodendron Imbe. If you notice any small, white cotton balls, you can wipe the foliage with rubbing alcohol or soapy water.
Thrips are a nightmare for Philodendrons because they can cause the plant to die. If the plant has slower growth and leaf shedding, you should inspect for thrips.
You may experience leaf burns if the Philodendron Imbe is grown in a very bright area with direct sun exposure. The leaves will start losing their color, but don’t worry, changing the plant’s position will resolve this issue.
Move your plant to a slightly shadier spot a few feet away from the window. A bathroom window sill with tinted glass is also a great spot as the light intensity is less there.
Tip curl or browning is a common issue for all Philodendron species, including Philodendron Imbe. This is caused by over-fertilizing your plant. Simply reduce the fertilization rate and spray the soil with water thoroughly to remove excess fertilizers. I would also suggest stopping overhead watering.
If you allow the potting soil to remain waterlogged for too long, the air circulation reduces. The roots do not get adequate oxygen. As a result, they fail to supply the necessary nutrients to the plant.
Your Philodendron will be wilted with a slow growth rate. Overwatering makes the Philodendron plant susceptible to other root issues also. That is why it is important to use a potting mixture with proper aeration, as discussed in the soil section.
Make sure the pot has at least one drainage hole and regularly inspect the hole for any blockages. Terracotta pots are best because of their absorption properties.
Tips for Growing Philodendron Imbe
- Allowing the Philodendron Imbe plant to dry out completely can kill it.
- In summer, you should flush the plant with water to remove any salt buildups.
- In winter, regulate the watering schedule carefully because your plant will take longer to dry out as compared to summer.
- Add sheer curtains or blinds to diffuse the sunlight for your Philodendron. This will protect your plant from direct sunlight damage.
Frequently Asked Questions about Philodendron Imbe
Does this plant hibernate in winter?
Like other Philodendrons, this plant also rests in winter. It will grow less during the resting phase so you can reduce the food and water supply.
What is the most important consideration in Philodendron Imbe’s care?
For maximum growth on your plant, you need two things. First is moist soil with high organic matter, and the second is to provide climbing support with a mossy post or burlap wrapped pole.
Should I repot the Imbe plant right after receiving it?
You don’t need to repot it immediately. For the first few days, you can place it in a bucket/container with about ½ inch water. Place it in a shady location instead of a bright one. This helps the plant recover from transportation stress and allows it to acclimatize to the new environment.
Is Philodendron Imbe toxic for pets?
Each part of Philodendron Imbe is toxic for pets as well as humans because of calcium oxalate crystals. Therefore, it is important to keep it away from not only pets but also children.
This Philodendron is a decorative bonus in your house, provided you have the right conditions to help it grow big. This fast-growing plant needs a shaded spot with no direct sun.
There are many reasons to have this plant, but the strong, well-established root system is the top reason. Because this drastically reduces the maintenance and attention required for the plant.