Skip to Content

Philodendron Rugosum Best Care Tips

Philodendron Rugosum Best Care Tips

Who doesn’t like a majestic Philodendron plant? These green beauties have become one of the most popular kinds of plants to have because of their low maintenance and beautiful green leaves.

Today though I’m not going to talk about the most common kinds of Philodendrons out there.

I’m going to talk about the Philodendron Rugosum or Pigskin Philodendron.

This special plant originates in the rain forests of Ecuador and grows in the Andes mountains at an elevation of 3000 to 5000 feet.

First described in science only in 1983, the Philodendron Rugosum got the nickname Pigskin Philodendrom because of the particular texture and shape of its leaves.

It has thick, leathery leaves with a hide like texture, that wrinkle up as they come together with the stem, making them look like alien pig ears.

The ”Rugosum” part of the name comes from the word ”ruga” which in Italian means ”wrinkle”.

Philodendrons are known to be adaptable plants, so it’s not surprising it grows as an epiphyte or hemiepiphyte on rainforest trees and has been reported to grow on rocks (like an epiphyte) and in the ground as well.

Most importantly, the Philodendron Rugosum, in particular, has been reported to be near endangered, which means it is of paramount importance to behave responsibly with them in their natural habitat and during their cultivation.

So if you decide to acquire this rare plant, read further as I have collected the best information and tips so you can give it the best care possible.

How Not To Kill Your Philodendron Rugosum

Philodendron Rugosum Care Instructions


As for most philodendrons, the Philodendron Rugosum need well-draining soil to prevent waterlogging. The usual aroid soil mix of one part orchid bark, one part perlite, and one part peat rich soil will be perfect for it.

The orchid bark gives the roots something to attach to like they would in the wild. You can also add some charcoal or gravel to make the mix more aerated and keep the soil pH neutral to slightly acidic.

If you have access to some sphagnum moss this is also a great choice.



Philodendron Rugosum grows perfectly in partial sun and dappled shade. More bright indirect light is always good and it will make your plant grow faster and develop larger leaves.

Place it in an eastern facing window or slightly further away from a southern facing window. It will not adapt well to low light and might start growing awfully slowly.



This is where the philodendron Rugosum differs from most other philodendrons, it likes its soil moist. Don’t let more than a couple of inches of the top of the soil to dry out.

This also makes it considerably harder for you to achieve the perfect watering schedule since you will need to figure out the right balance between moist and overwatered.

For all of my plants that grow in this kind of soil mix, I like soaking them in water instead of watering from the top.

Since I grow them all in nursery pots that are then put in decorative pots, I fill the decorative pots with water and let the plants hang in there for half an hour to an hour.

This will allow the roots to drink up and the bark to soak up some water.

Then I empty the decorative pots and let the nursery pots with the soil drain out all of the water.

This will prevent the roots from sitting in excess water and consequently rotting.

I like to do this at least once a week, but observe your plant and tweak your watering or soaking regiment accordingly.

If your Philodendron Rugosum has droopy leaves, this can be a sign of both overwatering or underwatering. The good new

s is once you figure out which one it is the leaves will go back to their normal self.



Because the Philodendron Rugosum is a tropical plant, it doesn’t tolerate cold temperatures very well. It is not frost hardy and will have frost damage if left in the cold for too long.

The ideal temperatures for it are from 55 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Above that and your plant will bake, below and you could experience yellowing and dropping of leaves.

If you live in a tropical climate this plant will do well if grown outside, but in temperate climates try and keep it work and away from windows and drafts during the winter season.



Philodendrons are pretty resilient and can withstand normal humidity levels most homes have, but by increasing humidity, you will encourage your philodendron to develop lush dark green full-size leaves.

The higher the humidity the bigger the leaves.

They will appreciate a good misting every now and then and will be happy with a humidifier in the room.



Fertilize your philodendron Rugosum monthy in the spring and summer and every six to eight weeks during the fall and winter.

You can either use a liquid fertilizer for green leaf plants and dilute it half strength or an organic fertilizer of your choice.

I usually fertilize my plants just after watering them in order to avoid fertilizer burn.



There are many ways to propagate your Philodendron Rugosum, from dividing tubers, herbaceous cuttings, air layering to stooling and mound layering but the most common for regular houseplant lovers is most definitely from stem cuttings by water or soil.

These plants usually root easily and are successfully propagated without any special steps.

Choose the branch you want to cut. Make sure you are cutting below at least one node.

If you can include an aerial root or two even better as they transform into normal roots when put in water or soil.

Put his branch either in water or soil. If you choose to go with soil make a mix of potting soil and vermiculite and moisten it

before putting the cutting in. If you are going with propagation by water choose a container big enough where you can dip the

plant in water so it covers the node and won’t tip over.

Remove all but the top two leaves from the cutting before planting in soil or putting into the water.

If you are planting it in soil, keep the soil moist during the rooting process.

Place the cuttings in a brightly lit and warm area, with no direct sunlight or drafts.

I have a shelf reserved just for my propagation station, so find this perfect spot in your house that will be ideal for rooting.
After a couple of weeks check how your cuttings are doing.

New growth is a good sign, but in absence of that, you can carefully tug at the cutting growing in soil to see if it is secure.

If your cutting is in water the roots should be visible and a couple of inches long.

At this point, your cuttings are ready to be planted in the soil mix mentioned above and are officially new plants that you grew yourself.

I like to plant a couple of cuttings together so that the new plant will be dense and rich when it grows, but this is a personal choice and you can design the appearance of the new plant depending on where you want to place it and how you want it to look.



Philodendron Rugosum can grow up to six to fifteen feet in height, so with ideal conditions, it has the potential to be quite huge. It has a vining pattern of growth so it will need something to grab onto to reach its top size.

A moss stick will be ideal for this purpose and be ready to upsize it quite soon as these plants can be fast growers. A moss stick can also be misted or watered so that the aerial roots have something to absorb and grow into like they would in their natural habitat.



As I mentioned before Philodendrons can be fast growers so check if it needs repotting every year. You can lift the plant and look if any roots are peeking out of the drainage holes, which is usually a sign the plant is ready to be repotted.
You can also take the whole plant with the soil out of the pot when the soil is dry and see how much space they have. Don’t let your plant get root bound as solving this problem can be pretty hard on the plant.


Common Problems with Philodendron Rugosum

The most common issues you can run into while growing a Philodendron Rugosum are spider mites and mealybugs.
Another option is root rot since the Philodendron Rugosum does like to be watered more often and this can lead to mold and fungal issues.

Let’s talk more about each of these below.


Spider mites

I have run into spider mites in my home many a time. They are tiny spider-like white bugs that feed on the sap of your plant.
As far as my experiences go the most common way these little crawlies make it into our homes is when we bring them in ourselves.

What I mean by that is that nurseries and garden centers can have serious pest problems and it is best to put new plants into isolation for a couple of weeks until you are sure it is healthy and pest free.

This is the time to observe the plant daily and see if there are any signs of infestation. The signs are usually droopy and yellowing leaves according to the University or Maryland, but the little fine webs on the leaves and stems of the plant are a key indicator of spider mites in particular.

If you do spot them, usually underneath the leaves and around the nodes, you can fist shower the plant thoroughly to physically remove all the mites.

Then do thorough insecticidal soap treatment making sure you lather all the parts of the plant above the soil well and then finish up with a good layer of neem oil to deter new bugs from feeding.

You can repeat this process a couple of times or as many times as it takes for them not to come back. Remember that they like hot and dry environments so increasing the humidity would be a good thing to do.



Mealybugs are another white crawler hungry for your plant’s sap. They are easily spotted underneath leaves and on the stems, and you can remove them one by one with a cotton ball dipped in alcohol.

You can do an insecticidal soap treatment also, to be sure you got all of them. A homemade version of this would be a solution of water, alcohol, and dishwashing soap.

Neem oil is always a go-to for all houseplants, as it is a feeding deterrent for pests and it will
make so that if the mealybugs come back again it will be in smaller numbers that are easier to manage.


Root rot

As mentioned many times before, root rot is one of the most common issues houseplants run into.
Your philodendron Rugosum likes constantly moist soil so this can be even more of an issue.
It is of paramount importance that your soil is fast draining for this reason.

If you do experience root rot do not panic. Take the plant out of its pot and inspect the roots.

If you see any brown or black roots, these should be cut away. Dispose of the soil your plant was growing in a replace it with new, clean, and sterile soil.

If you did get root rot this means that the soil was not draining fast enough so you should consider tweaking the soil mix and adding some more orchid bark, gravel, or charcoal.

You can also opt for watering your Philodendron Rugosum less often for a while and reevaluate your watering schedule going forward.


My Philodendron Rugosum has curling leaves with brown and yellow edges, what’s wrong?

This usually has to do with under or overwatering. You should also water your philodendron with distilled or aquarium water as dry brow tips can be a sign of hard, mineral heavy water.

Mist your Philodendron Rugosum often, increase the humidity and reevaluate your watering schedule.

If the roots look healthy and you haven’t been watering regularly, make sure you catch up with it or it will not do well.

If it is exposed to direct light for extended periods of time this could also cause browning and crispy leaves. Dappled shade is best for your Philodendron Rugosum, but when in doubt put it in bright indirect light and this will be the safest bet.


My Philodendron Rugosum has yellowed leaf-sections with browned halos, how do I fix this?

If the yellowing is present in the middle of the leaves, followed by brown halos and leaf curling, it could be a sign of overwatering and a fungal problem.

Try to decrease humidity and water a day later than you usually do. It could also be a sign of nutrient deficiency if you haven’t been diligent with fertilizing.


Frequently asked questions about Philodendron Rugosum


I ordered my Philodendron Rugosum online. How do I deal with transportation shock?

We already touched upon transportation shock when talking about rare plants that are shipped by post from far away. This is a common issue and there are ways to deal with it.

If you proceed with caution there is no reason you plant shouldn’t adapt and thrive once it gets used to its new environment. The best course of action is putting your plant in indirect light far away from drafts and not move it for a while to let it acclimate.

Cut off any dead or rotten leaves you find when unpacking. Water the plant right away if the soil is dry, but let it dry a little if it comes in already moist.

Expect the plant to drop some leaves or be droopy and sad for a while and have some patience. Do not fertilize your plant right away, you can wait until you see new growth.


Philodendron Rugosum: Conclusion

In conclusion, the Philodendron Rugatum will offer you an unusual tropical look while needing little to no more maintenance than a regular Philodendron.

It likes bright indirect light to dappled shade, a little more tepid distilled water than it’s family members, and moderate fertilizing routine.

It is easily propagated and will grow up to sixteen feet in height in its ideal environment. It is in my opinion a surprising and eye-catching addition to any modern urban jungle.

Avoid pests with isolating newly arrived plants and regular neem oil treatments, and your Philodendron Rugosum will thrive and shine in its full glory for many years.

Do you have one in your home? Share a picture with us in our Facebook group.

What To Read Next

Read the Article: Best Potting Mix for Vegetables

Recommended Ebook from Hydroponics Simplified: Get Started in Hydroponics

Snow Queen Pothos Care Instructions
Hoya Australis Plant Care
Hoya Australis Care Tips That Actually Work
Comments are closed.