(image credits, IG: the.greenbubble)
Have you heard of a garden ornamental being grown for its petioles more than anything else? Well, Philodendron nangaritense is that plant.
It is a very rare neotropical perennial species that is native to a valley near the Rio Nangaritza in southern Ecuador.
Philodendron nangaritense has green heart-shaped leaves that are almost round. The surface is glossy and the underside is matte. They are medium-sized and tear quite easily due to being thin and delicate compared to other philos which have a more leathery texture.
To care for Philodendron nangaritense use a chunky potting mix using orchid bark, perlite, charcoal as well as some potting mix. Grow it in temperatures between 12.75°C – 26°C (55°- 80°F) and avoid temperature fluctuations. This Philodendron grows best in bright indirect light and high humidity above 60%. To fertilize use a fertilizer high in nitrogen every 4-6 weeks in spring and summer.
But the most remarkable part about the species is the extraordinary petiole. The petioles are a deep red and are covered with small tubercles that make them look fuzzy.
The new leaves have a deep pink color with a red petiole as they unfurl. All the round green leaves with fuzzy red stems are quite a delight to watch when this terrestrial runner has managed to cover some ground.
This detailed care guide will tell you all about how to get more of those trippy petioles and baby leaves.
Table of Contents
PHILODENDRON NANGARITENSE CARE INSTRUCTIONS
If you want to grow Philodendron nangaritense in a pot, you get the best results by using rich, loose potting soil high in organic matter.
A combination of garden soil, compost, mulch, and sand is good. If you don’t have access to sand for drainage you can use perlite instead.
The roots love to wrap themselves around anything chunky and organic, so use your imagination (think coconut shells, husk, charcoal, etc.).
For perfect Philodendron nangaritense care conditions, grow them outdoors straight in the ground.
Choose a raised spot like the mound of a tree or along a garden wall to grow Philodendron nangaritense – this way the landscape will allow for natural draining of excess water.
Again, the soil just needs to be very loose and airy. If your garden soil is loamy you’re going to have to fix the texture with loads of sand, compost, and mulch.
The species occurs in the understory of primary rainforests in Equador, occurring along stream banks in full shade.
That is another reason to love it because Philodendron nangaritense care is easy even in low light conditions making it perfect for those dark spots in your garden.
However Philodendron nangaritense requires 70-85% filtered sunlight which means prolonged exposure to light but not direct rays. In your home put it in a spot with bright indirect light in a east or west-facing window.
The large size and color of its leaves is evidence that it is used to conditions where light is sparse. So if you don’t have a shaded spot go for a 50% shade cloth.
If you live in non-equatorial zones, it is best to grow Philodendron nangaritense indoors in a pot under fluorescent lights in the winter months.
One important aspect of Philodendron nangaritense care is watering. The plants are susceptible to root rot like most philodendrons and are the most common cause of death.
In my own experience, these plants love moisture because in the natural habitat they grow by the bank of a river.
But you can’t grow Philodendron nangaritense with the roots “sitting” in water. This isn’t just a function of water but also soil which you can read up about in the above section.
I water just enough to keep the soil moist and that’s about once a week of deep drenching. Then I let the topsoil dry out about a couple of inches.
That said, the optimal Philodendron nangaritense care changes according to time of the year, climatic zone, and your specific growing conditions.
– If you live in the tropics and grow Philodendron nangaritense outdoors in the ground, you can water it every other day.
– If you grow Philodendron nangaritense in a pot that’s well draining as explained above in the section on soil, let the top couple of inches dry out before you drench again. This is during the growing months i.e. spring and summer. In the fall and winter, you can cut back on watering but don’t let the plant fall short of moisture as a general rule.
– If you live in colder zones, growing it indoors in a pot is the safest way. Light watering about twice a week in summers and very minimal watering in winters is the way to go.
Philodendron nangaritense care is dictated by its Ecuadorean origins. It loves warmth and the best growth can be seen near the equator.
You can attempt to grow Philodendron nangaritense outside, if the temperatures in your area are around 15°C in the night and around 30°C in the day. This is sort of the ideal range to grow Philodendron nangaritense.
However, if you want to grow Philodendron nangaritense them in northern zones, summer months are fine, but come autumn the temperature must never fall under 12.75°C (55°F). In winters, you should promptly move the plant indoors always, as they are very chill sensitive.
Once it is away from frost, you can grow Philodendron nangaritense at comfortable room temperatures between 12.75°C – 26°C (55°- 80°F).
Just don’t expose it to radiators or AC exhausts because the leaves are delicate and tear up quite easily. The plant easily stresses under strong temperature fluctuations.
A humid environment is very desirable to grow Philodendron nangaritense. If you grow Philodendron nangaritense outdoors then, you can bathe the leaves with a sprinkling can on watering days. But do it in the mornings only.
The indoor plants love being misted and it helps them stay fresh and clean. You can even give the leaves a sponge wipe to make them look fresh and shiny.
Mist them as often as 3 or 4 times a week in winters if your indoor humidity is very low. You can use humidifiers for the right Philodendron nangaritense care conditions through dry months.
The optimal humidity range for these plants is >60%.
The main aim when you grow Philodendron nangaritense is to get more leaves and therefore more of those red fuzzy petioles. So foliage boosters are the way to go.
Decomposed leaf and bark matter mixed with the soil acts as organic food for the plant, but a little extra feeding won’t come amiss here.
A nitrogen fertilizer will increase leaf size and produces a larger, healthier plant, which is very desirable particularly if you grow Philodendron nangaritense for ground cover outdoors.
For potted Philodendron nangaritense care, you can schedule a routine dose of good quality nitrogen fertilizer administered every 4 to 6 weeks gives a real boost to the growth. This is to be used only in the growing months. Remember to cut back on feeding the plant in winters.
Thin down the fertilizer to a third of the prescribed level. This is an important Philodendron nangaritense care tip to avoid salt build-ups and overfertilization disasters. I prefer liquid fertilizers because can dilute the concentration easily.
If you’re propagating, your juvenile Philodendron nangaritense care will need fertilization. Use a highly diluted solution for young plants once the roots are well established.
Philodendron nangaritense are aroids i.e. plants that reproduce through monocotyledonous inflorescence (that come with a spathe and spadix) that give seeds eventually.
Philodendron nangaritense propagation is easy, because the stem takes root readily. Tip/stem cutting, basal branches or plantlets and layering are the usual methods for home growers.
Don’t let a few unsuccessful attempts deter you from persisting. Read on for a step-by-step guide on how to propagate and grow Philodendron nangaritense.
At one time Philodendron nangaritense was both rare and expensive but due to the use of “tissue culture” in propagation of Philodendron nangaritense used by nurseries, it has become common.
Tissue cultured plants don’t often achieve the size nor beauty of a wild collected specimen due to the chemical processes used in their cloning.
This is a plant where you want more leaves because that way you get more petioles. So, if you want to grow Philodendron nangaritense in a hanging basket for your patio or in a small pot for your window-sill then that is probably not a good choice.
This plant is a die-hard runner! For proper Philodendron nangaritense care conditions, it has a desperate need to be planted straight in the ground so that the stems can run along the surface. A terrestrial epiphyte more like.
The best way to grow Philodendron nangaritense indoors is in a wide pot because these plants are natural runners.
The leaves will remain a moderate size but you’ll get more shoots. Tip pruning will encourage bushiness, and also give you pieces to propagate.
I grow Philodendron nangaritense in the ground under the shade of a tree. I’ve observed, it is not a particularly fast grower but it does get larger leaves and a more dense appearance this way.
The leaves get as big as 30cm (12 inches). It is easily pruned and kept under control to a limited area too.
As explained before growing them in the ground is perfect for Philodendron nangaritense care and you won’t need to worry about potting.
For patio and indoors you can grow Philodendron nangaritense in fairly large wide pots or perhaps grow bags.
If the roots get to breathe you can grow Philodendron nangaritense more reliably. These plants are not necessarily rooted bound and don’t prefer cramped potting. Repot about once a year or when the plant gets bigger.
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PHILODENDRON NANGARITENSE PROPAGATION METHODS – STEP BY STEP
Nurseries propagate philodendrons from seeds or through tissue culture. Both of these techniques are not feasible for home-growers.
I share some methods that have work for me below. The first rule of Philodendron nangaritense care during propagation is that you should do it ONLY in the growing season when the weather is relatively warm and humidity is moderate to high. Spring is the ideal time.
Propagate Philodendron nangaritense from cuttings
- Choose a stem tip with two to three leaves and aerial roots and cut is right below the roots.
- Keep it aside overnight to callous the stem – about 6 hours should do.
- Wrap the stem with aerial root in a fistful of sphagnum moss that’s evenly very moist but not wringing wet.
- Place this in a pot with a 50-50 moist mix of peat and perlite
- Keep the pot in a fairly bright spot with high humidity but away from direct sun.
- Keep the soil moist until the cutting is established. This should take 1 – 2 weeks.
Propagate Philodendron nangaritense from basal branches
The mother plant will branch out at the base and the new branch will throw root towards the soil. Once the roots are established you can carefully cut the branch off the main plant. You’ll know if the roots are established if they are firmly fixed in the soil when you tug at them.
How to air-layer your Philodendron nangaritense
You’ll need a 6” transparent plastic bag, sphagnum moss, and a few twisty ties.
- Look for small aerial root projections in your older leaf nodes.
- Punch a few small holes at the bottom of your plastic bag and put a fistful of evenly moist sphagnum moss at the bottom. Cut the top end of the plastic bag such that you get flaps to roll around a stem.
- Now let’s get to the plant. With one palm hold the water-soaked moss in the plastic bag, against the aerial root on the stem. With the free hand wrap the plastic flaps around the stem. Secure this bag of moss to the stem with twisty ties making a nice wet moss cocoon for the roots to grow into.
- Make sure your peat moss cocoon doesn’t slip off the root node.
- Keep the moss moist by watering through the holes on the plastic.
- After a couple of weeks, you’ll notice that roots have grown into the moss.
- Remove the plastic and the moss carefully without breaking your new roots.
- With sharp garden scissors cut the stem below the new roots and separate the cutting from the mother
- Pot the cutting using the guidelines given in the section on ideal soil for Philodendron nangaritense care and keep the soil moist until the new plant is well-established.
COMMON PROBLEM WITH PHILODENDRON NANGARITENSE
Sudden wilting of leaves or yellowing: This typically happens due to a root rot caused due to overwatering or due to a fungal infection of the roots.
Root rot usually results from a soil mix that does not drain quickly or overly frequent watering. Check the base of the plant immediately.
I would salvage a few cuttings and try to propagate them separately in a fresh pot with sterile well-draining soil.
Irregular tan patches on the leaves: This could be due to bacterial infections like sometimes seen in Philodendron nangaritense such as Erwinia blight or Pseudomonas leaf spot.
You can tell if the infection is bacterial from the typical disagreeable smell the plant emanates. The disease normally affects smaller plants and appears to be less severe on large plants grown in the ground. This bacterial infection needs moisture to spread.
First of all, isolate the plant from all other plants in your garden, cut away the affected leaves, minimizing watering and stop misting the plant, keep the leaves dry or allow them to dry very quickly in order to control spreading. Bactericides are typically not needed.
Dark patches on the leaf: This could be due to cold draft exposure. Cut off the damaged leaves and move your plant to a warmer location.
Yellow leaves / brown leaves: If you notice the edges getting brown and dry then you’re underwatering. If the leaves turn yellow and the soil feels soggy it could be a sign of overwatering.
Pale color: Leaves lacking the characteristic dark green color is typically a straightforward indicator of poor lighting. You should move your plant to a brighter spot
Common pests: When you grow Philodendron nangaritense, pests and insects are not something to worry about. The common pests of this plant species include aphids, moths (worms), fungus gnats, mealybugs, scales, shore flies, and thrips.
The best control measure is a routine application of insecticidal soap and neem oil once a month or as prescribed on the package.
My Philodendron nangaritense care routine for pest control includes washing down the leaves with a water jet once a week when I water the plant and wiping them dry. Severe infestations require more detailed treatment typically involving chemicals.
University of Florida has a detailed report on the various infections and pests and the control measures for Philos.
TIPS TO KEEP PHILODENDRON NANGARITENSE PROBLEM-FREE
- The ideal temperature range is between 12.75°C 26°C (55°80°F)
- Indirect sunlight is the best to grow Philodendron nangaritense.
- Avoid temperature shocks, strong wind, radiator and AC exhaust exposures.
- Use a diluted nitrogen fertilizer for increased leaf size and a larger plant.
- Heavy salts in cheaper fertilizers will damage the roots and possibly kill the plant.
- Excessive fertilization curls the tip of the leaves and even kills the plant.
- Keep the soil evenly moist during growing months but never water logged.
- Frequent watering in winters will kill the plant.
- Wash the leaves regularly to prevent pests But make sure to dry out the leaves after washing.
- High humidity for indoor plants through regular misting or a humidifier.
- Grow Philodendron nangaritense in a big and wide planter.
- Ideal for outdoor planting if you’re looking for ground cover.
- Pruning is recommended as a general practice.
- Remove the dead leaves and branches to avoid spreading infections.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION FOR PHILODENDRON NANGARITENSE
Is Philodendron nangaritense pet-friendly?
ASPCA reports that philodendron is toxic to dogs and cats. The plant contains insoluble calcium oxalate crystals similar to other plants in the Araceae family. Chewing or biting into this plant will release these crystals causing tissue penetration and irritation the mouth and GI tract. Pets that consume any part of the plant may exhibit vomiting, pawing at the mouth, lack of appetite, and drooling.
Does Philodendron nangaritense purify air?
You can grow Philodendron nangaritense for their air purifying properties. These plants help in removing common household toxins from the air, like formaldehyde making it a healthy addition for your space. The NASA studies on indoor pollution done in 1989 recommends 15 to 18 plants in 6 to 8-inch- diameter containers to clean the air in an average 1,800 square foot house.
Can you grow Philodendron nangaritense from seeds?
Technically, yes. But this needs the plant to flower and when grown indoors in pots they rarely flower. The seeds have limited longevity unless it is properly processed and vacuum packed. This is usually the method adopted by professional nursery growers and not by home garden enthusiasts.
How do I make Philodendron nangaritense look fuller?
The best grow Philodendron nangaritense care hack to give it a fuller look is to let it run laterally along the soil surface. You can also prune the runner stems to induce branching. You can try giving it foliage inducing fertilizers.
Does misting Philodendron nangaritense help?
Periodically showering the plant with water and applying insecticidal soap will help keep pests at bay. Besides, philodendrons are tropical plants, so higher humidity will promote lush growth and shiny foliage. Just watch out for bacterial infections which spread due to moisture.
With these Philodendron nangaritense care tips you can now grow a nice patch of this plant and enjoy the fuzzy spiky red petioles taking advantage of its scrambling growth habit.
Philodendron nangaritense putting out a new leaf and it’s simply gorgeous! The leaves start out pink and then mature to green.
If you’re a beginner in home gardening I would encourage you to try out Marble Pothos, Philodendron Brandtianum or Philodendron Billietiae, all of which are suited for an indoor environment. These are all closely related plants. Happy (indoor) gardening!
Daniel has been a plant enthusiast for over 20 years. He owns hundreds of houseplants and prepares for the chili growing seasons yearly with great anticipation. His favorite plants are plant species in the Araceae family, such as Monstera, Philodendron, and Anthurium. He also loves gardening and is growing hot peppers, tomatoes, and many more vegetables.