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Philodendron Squamiferum Care – How to Rock it!

Philodendron Squamiferum Care – How to Rock it!

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Philodendron Squamiferum or the ‘hairy’ Philodendron is a relatively rare species of the Philodendron family. Famous for its red hairs, botanically known as pubescence, the Philodendron Squamiferum is an aroid epiphyte.

It’s easy to care, and pretty foliage makes it a popular choice among the masses as a houseplant.

Ensure that the Philodendron Squamiferum is kept in a well-ventilated and humid environment.  Keep this tropical plant at room temperature in a free-draining good quality potting compost. Feed it with a dash of fertilizer about once every 1-1.5 months.

The Philodendron Squamiferum is slightly similar in appearance to its cousins Monstera Deliciosa and Philodendron Bipennifolium and Philodendron Pedatum. Its leaves are oak shaped with multiple lobes.

Fuzzy red hairs surround the stems of this aroid species.  Philodendron Squamiferum plant is a climber and can reach great heights if allowed.

This particular genus has about 350-400 species, with several species still unnamed. All these various species differ from each other in terms of color, leaves, and size.

While some have oval leaves, others have somewhat heart-shaped vegetation.

Similarly, some Philodendrons grow dark-colored leaves, and others often have light-colored foliage. However, all the species have tall, thick, and leathery leaves that prevent the escape of excessive moisture from the plant.

This hairy plant is native to rainforests in Central America, French Guyana, Suriname, and Brazil.

A Philodendron Squamiferum makes a beautiful showy plant. When young, it can be placed indoors on a table against a wall with a small trellis. Its multi-lobed healthy green foliage makes an eye-catching contrast against light or dull-colored walls.

Since it reaches great heights when fully mature, it is best to grow it as a floor plant later on.

When planted indoors, it may require a large trellis or totem for it to expand upon. For outdoors/gardens, the Squamiferum plant is an excellent choice because of its tall and epiphytic vines.
 


 

BASIC PLANT CARE FOR PHILODENDRON SQUAMIFERUM

 

SOIL

For these tropical beauties, soil that is organic, fertile, and nutrient-rich is ideal. Make sure that it is not potted into dense media, which can suffocate the plant.

Use soil that is coarser, lighter, and well-drained. The soil pH recommended for Philodendron Squamiferum is 5.1 to 6.0 (slightly acidic).

For growing a healthy Philodendron Squamiferum plant, it is best to avoid clay-like or sandy-textured soil.

To make things easier, use a nice moisture-retaining element like sphagnum moss or coco coir. I would also recommend adding some pine bark fines (partially composted pine bark).

 

WATERING

Understanding the watering needs of the Philodendron Squamiferum is necessary to prevent it from drying out or wilting.

The Philodendron Squamiferum is a water-loving plant. However, overwatering can lead to fungal infections and death.

Before watering, make sure the top 0.4 inches (3 centimeters) of its soil is dry.

For a more reliable option, use a moisture meter to check the plant’s moisture levels and then water it. Overall, make sure the soil remains moist but is not water-clogged or soggy.

Even though it is difficult to establish an exact watering schedule for any houseplant, you can manage fine by keeping an eye on the plant’s leaves and soil.

If your Philodendron Squamiferum is growing in a bright spot and loose medium soil, it is best to water it every 6-7 days during summers and once every 11-12 days during the winters.

Do not overwater your Squamiferum as it is one of the most water-sensitive Philodendrons.  Rotting stalks and wilting leaves are two indicators of an overwatered Squamiferum.

 

LIGHT

The Philodendron Squamiferums are tree huggers and so often tend to attach themselves to trees in rainforests. Since the canopies partially shade them, they have not evolved to grow in direct sunlight.

I would recommend keeping these tropical plants in medium to bright indirect sunlight. In summers, a spot with partial shade is perfect. In winters, however, a setting with bright indirect sunlight works best.

If your house does not have such a spot, you can use artificial growing lights or tie a cloth to your window to only allow filtered diffused light to hit the plant.

Too little sunlight will slow down and inhibit new growth. It can also lead to root rotting.

As a general rule, avoid extremes. Please do not keep your Squamiferum plant in direct light or full shade, and similarly, do not dehydrate the plant or overwater it.

Maintain a balance for a healthy green Philodendron Squamiferum.

 

TEMPERATURE

To figure out the ideal temperature for any houseplant, it is best to look at its natural habitat. For the Squamiferums, the humid and toasty rainforests are home. Therefore, the Philodendron Squamiferum plant’s optimum temperature range is 50 °F to77 °F  (10 to 25 degrees Celsius).

The Squamiferums do better in warm environments as compared to colder conditions. During summers, keep them at room temperature.

However, in winters, you may be required to change their place and move them to a warmer and sunnier spot.

Remember to keep them away from cold environments with air conditioners and direct fans.

 

HUMIDITY

As this is a jungle-species, it likes its environment humid. Fortunately, even if the conditions are not ideal for this particular species, it can still thrive.

The environments with humidity levels around 40% are perfect for Philodendron Squamiferums. Humidity levels can be easily measured with devices such as the hygrometer.

You can also use a humidifier to achieve the perfect humidity level for your Squamiferum. Furthermore, you can put it on a dish with pebbles with a water layer, or place all your houseplants together for better humidity distribution.

If the Philodendrons are not placed in proper humidity, they can turn dry with brown leaf tips. On the other hand, prolonged or excessive moisture can cause pest infections and attacks.

 

FERTILIZER

The Philodendron Squamiferum is a slow-growing plant with little food needs. One of the main reasons it is easy to manage is that it has to be fed only a few times throughout the year.

During the growing seasons, spring, summer, and sometimes early fall, for the Squamiferums, add a dash of fertilizer about once every 1-1.5 months. You can spread the fertilizer about 5-6 inches away from the plant for even distribution.

If you intend to use a slow-release fertilizer, feed the plant three times a year to ensure fast and healthy growth. When uncertain about the type of plant-food to use, I suggest opting for fertilizer made explicitly for Philodendrons.

After summers, you can give the plant’s soil a good even flush to prevent unnecessary salts’ buildup. This will prevent leaf spotting, which can occur due to fertilizer stress on the roots.

 

REPOTTING

This hair plant, though a slow grower, can take up a lot of space. If your Philodendron Squamiferum plant seems not to be growing as well as it was or is drying out quicker than usual, it is time to repot it.

The container you choose is of immense importance as if the plant is root-bound, its growth is likely to be adversely affected. A Philodendron Squamiferum grows relatively taller if its roots are loose and separated.

Make sure the new chosen pot is big enough, well-ventilated, and has good drainage. An excellent choice for such a container is a plastic nursery planter, which can house the plant roots well and can be hidden in a fancy pot easily.

It is best to repot your Squamiferum during the growing seasons, which are spring and summer.

 

PRUNING

Although the Philodendron Squamiferums do not require a lot of pruning, there may be certain conditions when it is essential.

One reason why you might want to prune your Squamiferum is for it to look aesthetically pleasing. Yellow and dead leaves can look unpleasant. Therefore, it is best to pick them off.

Often houseplants lose some of their old leaves, the bottom ones mostly. However, sometimes they may remain attached and turn yellow or brown.

A Squamiferum may need pruning if it has yellow or brown leaves due to old age, low humidity, or insufficient nutrients.

You can also prune Philodendron Squamiferums for mere size control as they can grow extensively, reaching great heights. If you do not wish for your Squamiferum plant to outgrow its trellis or totem, cut off a vine or two with some pruning shears or scissors.

Spray your plants with water and wipe off excessive moisture to reduce the probability of any fungal or bacterial infection.

 

PROPAGATION

Fortunately, propagation for this particular species is as easy as pie.

There are two ways to propagate a Philodendron Squamiferum plant: seeds or stem cuttings. Whichever one you choose, make sure to plant it in a soil mixture that is best customized to this particular species.

The growing conditions should be optimal to ensure healthy growth.

As mentioned earlier, these plants are slow growers, so be patient during the propagation process.

Always ensure that the gardening tools that you use are sterilized and free of any fungal/microbial growth before each use. If necessary, wear protective gloves as well.

 

Seed Method:

If you opt to propagate this hairy species via seeds, simply remove one seed from the fruit growing on the Philodendron Squamiferum plant. Do the following:

  • Clean and dry the seed entirely.
  • Place the Squamiferum seed on the top of a prepared pot containing the suitable soil mixture.
  • Next, move the pot in the appropriate conditions.
  • Water it and provide the essential nutrients whenever necessary.

 

Stem Cuttings Method:

Follow these steps to propagate via the stem cuttings method:

  • Cut off a 2-3 inches long piece from the stem of the Squamiferum with the help of a knife or blade.
  • If you plan to propagate this stem cutting in water, fill up an appropriate jar with water approximately 1 inch below the rim.
  • To get rid of chlorine or impurities that may be present in the water, leave it overnight before planting the stem cutting in it.
  • Put the stem cutting in the jar and make sure to submerge at least one or two nodes in the water. Two to three leaves should be sticking out of the water.
  • Now move the jar to a humid, well-lit room, and allow the cuttings to grow.
  • You can change the water every two to three days.
  • When you notice the roots growing, shift the plant to a soil pot.
  • If you wish to plant the cutting in soil, put the cutting in a suitable soil mixture and make sure the growing conditions are optimum.
  • Water and feed the plant whenever necessary.
  • When it grows more roots, shift it to a bigger pot for it to thrive fully.
  • Roots mostly start growing within 2-3 weeks. After 2-4 months, the plant is usually mature. You can then shift it to a bigger soil pot and treat it like a mature plant.

 

BLOOMS

Mostly during the spring or summer seasons, burgundy spathes grow on the Squamiferums. These spathes grow white beautiful flowers. The flowers bear pink berries containing seeds, which are mostly used for propagation.

 

GROWTH

If you are worried that this humongous plant will take over your house within the course of a few months, this is not the case.

The Squamiferms have a moderate growth rate and do not grow tall overnight. The growth is primarily dependent on genetics and the environment.

A Squamiferum’s vines are often found wrapped around trees. It can grow to impressive heights, with no exact limit. A mature Philodendron Squamiferum’s leaf can grow up to 18 inches in length.

Moreover, during the autumn and winter seasons, its growth significantly slows down, which is completely normal.

 

Philodendron Squamiferum Care

Philodendron Squamiferum Care

 

COMMON PROBLEMS FOR PHIlODENDRON SQUAMIFERUM

Luckily, you will not experience any problems with Philodendron Squamiferums. However, a few issues that you might face are:

CRISPY LEAF TIPS: The tips of the leaves of your Squamiferums may turn crispy due to low humidity or, in some cases, fungal infections. Make sure you keep your plant hydrated but do not over-water it.

Keep the hydration levels moderate to create the ideal growing conditions for the Squamiferum plant. Regularly sterilize your gardening tools to minimize the probability of any fungal infections.

YELLOW LEAVES: The Philodendron Squamiferum is relatively more sensitive to over and under-watering than other Philodendrons. Its leaves may start to turn yellow, or worse, brown if it is over or under-watered.

To check whether your plant needs water or not, take a look at its soil. If it seems too dry, it may be best to water it. If it looks too sticky or wet, it is best to let it dry out a bit.

Alternatively, fungal infections can also cause yellow or brown leaves. Keep your tools sterilized to prevent infections.

ROOT-ROT: An absolute nightmare for indoor gardeners is root-rotting. It can completely spoil your plant within a matter of days. In this particular species, root-rot can cause browning and blackening of leaves.

This frequently occurs due to a combination of incorrect soil medium and over/under-watering. Again, make sure your plant does not suffer from such a condition. Water it appropriately to avoid mishaps like these.

BROWN LEAVES: Unfortunately, a lot of things cause brown leaves. Figuring out the reason for this can be nerve-wracking. However, one main reason for the browning of foliage in this species specifically is fertilizer burn.

To treat fertilizer burns, water the plant to wash out any excess salts. This will help the plant restore its natural green vegetation.

PESTS: Check the underside of your plant’s leaves or leaf axils for any webbing. If you notice any, your Squamiferum plant is infested by spider mites.

Spray the Squamiferum plant with insecticidal soap or oil to kill the bugs. Additionally, monitor the humidity levels.

If your plant’s soil is too wet, it is likely to be infected by fungus gnats. Refrain from over-watering it to prevent fungal infection and other such common pests.

 

TIPS FOR GROWING PHILODENDRON SQUAMIFERUMS

Following are some care tips for your Squamiferums:

  • Do not over-water or under-water your plant. Keep a close eye on its soil and leaves to check if it needs water or not
  • Make sure its pot has good drainage
  • Shift it to a more appropriate place if its leaves are drying out/yellowing
  • Keep it in a humid environment with indirect, filtered sunlight

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

HOW DO I KEEP MY SQUAMIFERUM HEALTHY?

Keep your Philodendron Squamiferum in a well-lit room with adequate humidity and a well-drained pot. Water and feed it when necessary. Shift it to a bigger pot when it begins to outgrow its current pot.

 

IS PHILODENDRON SQUAMIFERUM TOXIC?

These plants are highly toxic and so must be kept away from the reach from children and pets. They contain calcium oxalate crystals, which can prove to be fatal. If ingested, they can cause symptoms ranging from mild stomach aches and swelling of the tongue to cessation of breathing.

 

FOR APPROXIMATELY HOW LONG WILL A PHILODENDRON SQUAMIFERUM LIVE?

These plants are durable. Therefore, in the right conditions, they can survive for many years.

 

WHY DOES MY PHILODENDRON SQUAMIFERUM STOP GROWING IN THE CHILLY SEASONS?

During the chilly seasons, winter, and autumn, the Squamiferums become dormant. They conserve the food and water given to them. It is best to let them be and avoid propagating or overfeeding/overwatering them.

 

CONCLUSION

Philodendrons Squamiferums are beautiful showy perennials. They have unique red hair, which sets them apart from other Philodendrons.

These hairy Philodendrons require little maintenance, are pleasing to the eyes, and good indoor plants. However, they are toxic if ingested and should be kept away from children and pets.

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