Some of us love bushy houseplants with clusters of tiny leaves, while others like growing plants with large leaves.
Today we are discussing a rare crawling Philodendron, Philodendron plowmanii.
This plant is named after the late botanist Timothy Charles Plowman. This plant has massive bicolored heart-shaped leaves that make it a statement plant.
Philodendron plowmanii care includes providing warm, moderate temperatures and bright indirect light.
This plant will thrive in a well-draining potting mixture. Remember that it will not do well in cold environments.
The shiny leaves are colored in gradients of dark green, lime green, and creamy yellow.
The bicolored foliage is the main reason for this plant’s popularity.
Plowmanii is an outstanding container plant and a leafy landscape plant for your tropical garden.
This plant has a close resemblance to Philodendron Mamei. But you can differentiate them based on their leaves. Mamei has silver variegation, whereas Plowmanii doesn’t. Another difference is that the Plowmanii has ruffled petiole edges.
Philodendron plowmanii belongs to tropical areas of Peru and Ecuador. This evergreen plant can stay healthy and lush throughout its life if given the right care and environment.
Basic Plant Care for Philodendron plowmanii
Philodendron plowmanii Care Video
The soil for the Plowmanii plant should be kept moist with high organic matter. Avoid growing it in sandy, muddy, or wet soils.
You can easily create your own potting soil using peat, sand, and loam in equal parts. Add compost to amend the soil. This plant prefers a soil medium with soil pH ranging from 4.5 to 6, slightly acidic.
This Philodendron can be grown in any good quality aroid mix as well as soilless mediums like perlite or sphagnum moss. The potting soil should drain well to prevent soggy or waterlogged soil. This will create many issues for your Philodendron.
They grow best outdoors in USDA hardiness zones 9b to 11. In summer, this plant can be kept on a patio but bring it inside as the frost begins.
Considering the fact the Philodendron plowmanii is a water-loving plant and likes moist soil, it should be watered frequently. This plant is not drought tolerant; it needs sufficient water to survive.
In worst cases, insufficient watering can slow or stop the growth of this species; therefore, pay close attention to its watering needs.
Just make sure it’s never overwatered. I always inspect the top 2, 3 inches of the soil before watering my Plowmanii; this gives a better idea of whether the plant actually needs water.
Water it once or twice in the summer season. And in winter, you can reduce the watering frequency to once a week.
Watering needs for houseplant vary depending on temperature and light. Those placed in bright light may require more water than those growing under low lights. Similarly, plants growing in high temperatures need more water.
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I keep my Philodendron plowmanii in bright filtered light, and it has been growing quickly with beautiful large foliage. However, this species can easily grow in lower light conditions than most other houseplants.
Plowmanii will survive in almost any light conditions provided the sunlight does not hit the plant directly. Direct sunlight is damaging for most houseplants because the leaves will be scorched.
Outdoors this plant will do well in partial to full shade. Outside you can use shade cloth, and indoors sheer curtains or blinds are the most ideal for reducing the intensity of sunlight. I recommend placing your plant behind other large plants.
For indoors, the ideal temperature range is 55 to 88 oF (12 to 31 degrees Celsius). In freezing winters, I bring my Philodendrons indoors to avoid freezing temperatures and frosts.
This plant is not temperature tolerant at all; the minimum winter temperature it can tolerate is 55 oF. So transfer it to a warmer spot as winter hits hard.
I keep my houseplants away from air conditioners, fans, or radiators as this will dry out the plant more quickly.
This tropical plant is humidity tolerant, but it really likes the extra moisture; 60% or above is great.
Maintaining humidity is very easy; for drier climates, you can get an indoor humidifier. But for average indoor environments, occasionally misting the plant is enough to keep it hydrated.
Grouping plants together is another cheap method to increase the indoor humidity level.
If you want to move one step further, use the pebble tray method. Add few pebbles to a saucer or tray and fill with water. Don’t let the soil touch this water. When this water evaporates, it increases the humidity around the plant.
The goal is to make sure the plant doesn’t go dry, especially on warm, windy days in summer and spring.
Feed the Philodendron plowmanii with a slow time-released fertilizer three times every year. The fertilizer should be applied 6 inches away from the base.
Fertilizing this plant in the growing season (spring and summer) will speed up the growth rate. Any regular houseplant fertilizer works great but avoid using low-quality fertilizers because they can damage the roots in the long term.
This healthy Philodendron has a well-established root system. Plowmanii will grow tall and healthy when the roots are kept loose, so you have to repot it in three cases only:
- If the plant is growing very slowly, it might be root bound. Repot it to a new pot that’s one size bigger to allow the roots to have more room.
- When the Plowmanii plant has outgrown its current pot, you should transfer to a new, bigger pot.
- If your Plowmanii plant is infected with a deadly disease or pests.
Most gardening experts suggest refreshing the soil of your potted plant once a year. This helps with drainage, aeration, and boosts nutrients. Always examine the root systems before transferring the plant to the pot. It would be helpful if you trimmed any mushy or yellow roots.
Philodendron plowmanii is a low maintenance plant that does not need extra efforts. This plant can be pruned to remove damaged or yellow stems and foliage. Otherwise, you don’t have to prune it very often.
Like other Philodendrons, this species can also be propagated in different mediums. Two of the most common methods are discussed below. But sanitize your tools and supplies, wear protective gloves. Carefully take stem cuttings using a knife or scissors.
The cutting should be at least 2 to 3 inches long with one leaf on it. More leaves are also acceptable, but you can split or remove the leaf from the lower node; this is the place where new roots will appear.
- Fill a glass jar with water leaving about 1-inch space at the rim.
- I always allow the water to sit for a few hours before using it for propagation. This will ensure the chlorine and other impurities precipitate. It will also bring down the water to normal room temperature
- Place the cutting in the glass jar by submerging the bare node in water. The leaf should be above the water surface.
- It is important to position the leaves in such a way that they never touch the water. Otherwise, they will probably rot with moisture sitting on them.
- Place the glass jar in a warm location to let the cutting root. I change the water every 2 or 3 days.
- The cutting should not be placed in direct sunlight because this will encourage algae growth.
- After the roots appear, let them grow 1 or 2 inches in size before transferring them to the soil. Root development usually takes 2 to 3 weeks.
- The cuttings should be transferred to soil as early as possible. Else the new, young plant will develop water roots. These are weaker than soil roots, so the plant has difficulty adjusting to the new environment.
- This method is a favorite of many plant growers because it allows you to watch the growth of roots. You can also examine any disease or issue before it damages the whole cutting.
- For this method, place the cutting in a soil medium containing peat moss and perlite. Cover the pot with a plastic bag to create a greenhouse environment.
- It is crucial to provide proper aeration to prevent microbial growth. Make a few holes in the plastic bag, but you should also open the bag every few days for air circulation and light.
- To enable faster root development and growth, you can use rooting hormone powder for the cutting.
- Keep the soil moisturized by watering it whenever it dries. The pot should be placed in temperatures of about 70 to 75 o
- You can tug the cutting slightly to confirm the presence of roots. After 3 to 4 weeks, you can transfer it to its permanent location. Continue the usual plant care mentioned in the previous sections.
The Philodendron plowmanii rarely blooms; when it does, the spathes are mostly yellow-colored. But since this species is highly variable, each spathe can vary in color. Some growers have experienced red, purple, or dark violet spathes as well. These spathes are not fragrant and go unnoticed.
Plowmanii typically produces about three inflorescences per axil. The peduncle that supports the inflorescences are green with a reddish tinge.
The growth rate and leaf color of Philodendron plowmanii may differ significantly depending on soil, light, temperature, and other factors. This creeping Philodendron has unusual stems with stunning leaves. The stems act as a base instead of supporting the leaves.
The leaves are thin, leathery, and vary in appearance in each stage of plant growth. Young leaves have silver streaking, but as the plant matures, the leaves grow large and more heart-shaped. The leaf undersides are usually grey, and the top surface is green and creamy yellow.
This Plowmanii plant can grow to a height of 8 ft with proper care, but since it slow-growing, this is going to take time.
When grown in garden soil, this plant grows very large and is often unrecognizable from its potted juvenile version.
Common Problems for Philodendron plowmanii
Frequently shower your plant with water and treat with insecticidal soap to keep the aphids away. These tiny insects will suck the nutrients from your Plowmanii plant, causing stunted or crinkled foliage. They attach themselves to green stems or leaves to feed on new growth.
The aphids can easily travel from one plant to another, infecting several plants in your garden. They excrete honeydew that attracts other insects and pests, including ants.
Wash your plant with a strong stream of water to kill the aphids. For additional care, apply neem oil and insecticidal soap to the infected foliage.
Other control measures include using sticky traps or rubbing alcohol. Aphids should be treated immediately; else, heavy infestations can kill the Philodendron.
Keep a close eye on your Philodendron plowmanii and locate any pests as early as you can to prevent significant damage
It is the most common disease for Philodendrons. Do not leave your plant soaked in water; it will cause yellow and pale leaves. The plant suffering from this disease will have droopy old leaves with yellow lesions.
You can avoid this disease by making sure your Plowmanii plant lives under moderate environments and is cleaned regularly. Isolate your infected plant to stop the spread of the bacteria.
Leaves Turning Yellow
Philodendrons mostly have yellow leaves when the plant is overwatered. Make sure the Plowmanii plant is not soaked in water or overly wet after you water it. Allow the plant’s soil to dry well before the next watering session.
It is another cause for yellowing leaves on Philodendron. It is caused by magnesium deficiency. Drench the soil in a mixture of Epsom salts. You can prepare it by adding 1 teaspoon of Epsom salt or magnesium sulfate to 1 gallon of water.
If the area between the leaf veins on Plowmanii has dark green or brown blotches, your Philodendron is suffering from cold injury. Don’t place the Plowmanii plant near fans or air conditioners, and don’t let the temperature drop below 55 oF.
When the leaves have dark, yellow haloed watery lesions of about 1 inch, the plant has leaf spot. The infected leaves will start dropping. Water the plant from underneath and keep it in temperatures of about 70 o F.
Extra Tips for Growing a Philodendron plowmanii
- If you are confused or don’t have access to a good quality potting mix, you can grow the Plowmanii in 100% sphagnum moss. Your plant will happily thrive, provided other conditions are met.
- In winter, water the plant carefully and only when needed. Because The Philodendron plowmanii will take longer to dry out.
- In the growing season, mist the plant regularly after every 2 days. In the colder season, mist after 3 or 4 days.
- Flush the plant every season to remove the salt or mineral buildups. I would suggest using a good water source to prevent this problem.
- If the leaves start having brown edges, increase the indoor humidity level.
Philodendron plowmanii: FAQ
Why Philodendrons are considered toxic?
All parts of Philodendrons are toxic for humans and pests because they contain calcium oxalate crystals. These crystals can cause irritation in the mouth and esophagus. Always keep this plant species away from the reach of pets or children.
How often should I water my Philodendron plowmanii?
The watering frequency for this plant will vary depending on the environment you choose for it. Generally, you can water it when at least half of the soil is dry. Always avoid overwatering because that can rot the roots or, worse, kill your plant.
Is there any way to help my Plowmanii plant grow faster?
Coffee grounds are great to encourage the growth of slow-growing Philodendrons. You can either mix the coffee with potting soil or prepare a solution with half part water and half part coffee grounds. This is effective for most houseplants because coffee provides a modest amount of acid and nitrogen to the potting soil.
How long will the Philodendron plowmanii take to root in water?
Rooting houseplants in water is an exciting propagation method, and the roots will start appearing in 10 days to 3 weeks. This time will vary for each plant, depending on several factors.
Is there any cheaper rooting hormone alternative for propagating Philodendron plowmanii?
Aspirin is one of the best rooting hormone products for plant cuttings. Simply dissolve an aspirin tablet in a glass of water and soak your Plowmanii cutting in this solution for about an hour before propagation.
How can I enhance the green color of the Plowmanii leaves?
You can use Epsom salts that not only enhance the green color but also improve blooming.
Philodendron plowmanii is very convenient to grow tropical plant that needs minimal care indoors or outdoors. This will add a wonderful tropical accent to any space; it can be grown alone as a single statement piece, or you can pair with other houseplants. The Plowmanii plant will also purify the air for you.
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