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Philodendron Tortum Care – From A to Z

Philodendron Tortum Care – From A to Z

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Philodendron Tortum is also called Philodendron Bipinattifidum. It is an evergreen plant that belongs to the Arum family.

Originally from tropical parts of America, Philodendron Tortum grows well in warm temperatures between 59 – 86 degrees Fahrenheit (15-30 degrees Celsius) and a good amount of humidity between 60-80%. Further, the plant thrives well in bright indirect sunlight, neutral soil. Water just before the soil dries out about once a week.

The Philodendron Tortum is a multistemmed vine with a bushy appearance and is considered an epiphyte. The leaves of the Tortum look like a skeleton due to their thin and long appearance.

The plant has several air-purifying benefits, which include neutralizing indoor poisons such as benzene, formaldehyde, and air pollutions.



Basic Philodendron Tortum Plant Care



Philodendron Tortum needs to be placed in large pots as they grow in size quite rapidly. The soil used for potting must be fresh and fertilized.

The temperature of the soil should not go below 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius). Preferably, the temperatures should fall between 64.4 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit (18 – 25 degrees Celsius) for the Tortum to thrive well.

The soil’s pH should be around 7 with good drainage.



Philodendron Tortum should be watered well, deep enough so that the soil does not get dry too soon. However, standing water should be drained immediately to prevent clogging.

During the winter season, the plant should be watered less with an increased duration between watering. Winters keep the soil moist longer. Therefore, by increasing the time between the watering, you will give the soil enough time to dry.

Philodendron immediately reacts to too much or too little watering. Their leaves start to droop, and their color starts to fade.

Water when the soil is about to dry out but never let it dry out completely. In general apartment conditions, water about once a week.



Philodendron Tortum enjoys medium sunlight and will grow best with bright indirect light. This means the plant prefers indirect light as direct light damages the plant.

The damage can be irreversible, and the leaves of the Tortum plant might get burnt if the direct sunlight was too intense for multiple hours.

Philodendron Tortum prefers bright and open spaces. Therefore, the place where they are kept is important. I prefer keeping my Philodendron Tortum near to the window but not too close so direct sunlight never reaches the plant.

Even after constant care, the leaves may start to yellow. There is nothing to worry about leaves yellow when they wish to make more room for newer ones. 

If it is the older leaves that yellow it is normal there is nothing to worry about, really.



Philodendron Tortum’s do not like cold weather. It is critical to keep the plant in a warm and humid room. These environmental conditions promote growth and survival.

The temperature of your room should be between 59 – 86 degrees Fahrenheit (15-30 degrees Celsius). In too cold temperatures, Philodendron Tortum becomes ill and dies.



Philodendron Tortum’s love high humidity. These plants enjoy growing in hot and humid environmental conditions. The plant can tolerate between 60 to 80 percent humidity.

You may also use a humidifier as an alternative to natural humidity to your Philodendron Tortum. Adding some more water-loving plants in the same area as your Philodendron increases the moisture content as well.


DIY – Pebble Tray

You may also follow a simple DIY method to maintain the moisture content for your Philodendron Tortum. This can be done by placing it inside a pebble tray.

  • Firstly, place some water inside a tray or plate.
  • Lastly, place the pot on the pebbles without touching the water directly.

A pebble-tray is a simple home remedy that will maintain the moisture around the plant as the water evaporates.



Philodendron Tortum requires feed with balanced nutrients for survival. I prefer using liquid foliage fertilizer as it contains macro-nutrients, which are good for the Tortum.

I water the plant with the fertilizer on a monthly basis, preferably spring and summer seasons. During winter, I reduce fertilization and fertilize the plants every 6-8 weeks.

If your Philodendron Tortum has small leaves and is taking time to grow, you are not providing adequate fertilizer.



I prefer using large pots from the get-go so that frequent repotting isn’t required. However, if you have potted your Philodendron in a small pot, then repotting is important as this plant grows fairly quickly.

Repotting of Philodendron Tortum is preferably done in early spring after the plant has completed dormancy.

  • To begin with, I take the Philodendron Tortum from the old pot and brush off excess soil from the roots.
  • Then, I carefully place the plant in a new and bigger pot.
  • At last, I continue watering and fertilization as per routine.

Repotting gives your plant space to grow. The end result is usually a bigger and healthier plant.



As mentioned earlier, the Philodendron Tortum is a rapidly growing plant that is known for its evergreen characteristics.

Therefore, it is important that you cut the leaves of the plant if they start to overflow or take too much room.

By trimming, you are giving the plant a neater as well as a well-groomed look.

I prefer pruning my Tortum in early spring post-dormancy. Pruning is advised to prevent the plant leaves from yellowing.



The Philodendron Tortum can be propagated by stem cutting and air layering.


Stem Cutting

The steps for the process are fairly simple. An appropriate size of the stem is required with leaves on it as well as the right potting mix.

  • For the first step, I take a sterilized knife and cut the stem up to 8 inches long with a leaf node that is intact.
  • Next, if there are more than three leaves, I remove them.
  • I then propagate the stem in a special potting mix for the next few weeks.
  • To propagate the Philodendron Tortum stem in water, I keep it in a jar of water.
  • Then, I place it in a warm spot and observe it for any root formation.
  • For propagation in soil, I clip the ends of the stem of the Tortum to dip it in a rooting hormone.
  • After that, I put it in moist soil and make sure that it is receiving support to standing tall by gently tucking it in.
  • Furthermore, I place the pot in the corner of the room, which has bright sunlight but not direct light.
  • To check for root growth, I pull the stem gently of the Tortum and check for resistance.
  • Lastly, wait for 2-3 weeks to notice any sprouting.


Air Layering

Air layering is a good method to use to encourage the growth of new Philodendron Tortum while remaining attached to the parent plant.

  • For air layering, first, identify one or two nodes on the Philodendron Tortum. You can identify this by looking for a bumpy part in one of the stems.
  • After identifying the choices, wrap them with a moist moss using a cling film.
  • Root formation takes time. However, you should not stop spraying the Tortum.



The Philodendron Tortum does not have any flowers. They do not even require one as they are just as beautiful without them. They are great ornamental plants for the exact reason.



Philodendron Tortum can grow up to 6 meters in height. They have leaves that are often compared with skeletons as they are narrow and thin.

The space between each leaf is about 1 to 1.5 inches. The plant can grow more than 70 centimeters in width.



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Common Problems for Philodendron Tortum



Aphids are soft-bodied insects that suck the nutrients out of the plants. When in large numbers, they can weaken the plant considerably. If not controlled in the beginning, they multiply fast, and it gets harder to control them.

Several problems can occur due to aphid infestation. The leaves of your Philodendron Tortum start to lose their shape, curl, and yellow.

The underside of the leaves is common hideouts of aphids. Honeydew left behind after feeding can result in further issues like fungal growth, referred to as sooty mold.

Some species of aphids even result in the formation of galls on the roots and leaves of Philodendron Tortum. Aphids are also notorious for transferring viruses from one affected plant to another healthy plant.

Controlling Aphids is, however, relatively easy as they move rather slowly. Spraying cold water helps to dislodge them from the leaves.

Simply dusting the leaves with flour kills the pests as it suffocates them —natural insecticides such as Neem oil for household plants like Philodendron Tortum.


Mealy Bugs

Mealybugs appear on Philodendron Tortum as tiny soft-bodied pests. They have small fringes all over their body, which they use to hinge unto the stem and leaves of the Philodendron.

They damage the Tortum by sucking the juice out of the plant, especially if it’s new growth. With time, the leaves of the plant start to yellow and drop. Just like with aphids, they excrete honeydew as leftovers, which results in sooty mold fungus.

Mealybugs can be avoided if your Philodendron Tortum is strong and healthy. You should keep your plant stress free by placing it away from direct light, small potting, and heavy watering.

Mealybugs can be washed off from the leaves by a steady stream of water. Light water spray on fewer infestations can be cleared immediately. Insecticidal soaps like ivory liquid can be used to spray the mealybugs.


Spider Mites

Sometimes cobweb formation can be noted on your Philodendron Tortum. This often happens when we neglect to dust off the leaves. Spider mites find this the perfect opportunity to grow their cobwebs on them.

Houseplants like Philodendron Tortum enjoy a good amount of humidity. When it doesn’t receive such an environment, the plant becomes dry, giving way for the Spider mites. Leaves turn yellow and have tiny spotting’s on them as a result of spider mites sucking on them.

You can hose down the plant to dislodge the spider mites from the leaves. In this step, care must be taken to not overwater the soil.

You may also use Neem oil as a natural pesticide as it is non-toxic. For more serious infestations, you may use insecticidal soap every ten days.

Lastly, keep the affected plant away from the rest of the healthy plants to prevent spreading.



There are more than 1000 species of scale that exist. These are oddly shaped pests that are immobile. They resemble shell-like bumps that easily go unnoticed on Philodendrons. In large populations, the Philodendrons have poor growth and reduced vigor.

To control scales growth, prune the leaves and stems which may be infected. If the growth is low, you can rub scales off the leaf with your hand.

Commercially available insects such as ladybugs and lacewing are natural scale predators. You can prevent the larvae growth on the plant by using insecticidal soap and d-Limonene. However, their effect isn’t long-lasting. Instead, Neem oil can have a long-lasting effect.



Thrips are common household pests that damage plants in a similar manner to mealybugs as they feed on juices from the stem. The damage resulting from the infestation include leaves turning pale and silvery until they officially die.

Thrips often attack in large groups. They can be easily removed from leaves as they fly off when you disturb them.

Normally, these pests attack Philodendron’s with colorful foliage, but sometimes they can attack your Tortum as well.

Normally, I manage thrips by maintaining the garden by reducing the areas where they may breed. One such place is the crop debris.

Before you buy a Philodendron, make sure that it is healthy so that it does not pass its problems to the other healthy plants.


Plant Stress

Apart from pests and insects, sometimes human error can cause the plant to stress out. Wilting is one such stress response from a plant when its soil does not have enough moisture.

Just because the surface is moist, it does not mean that your plant is getting enough water. The soil should be kept moist to the depth. Similarly, if your soil is too wet, plants can again wilt.

Bleaching is another stress response. Bleaching on leaves indicates that the plant has been exposed to direct sunlight and is therefore burned.

To prevent further bleaching, keep your Philodendron Tortum in the corner of the room where sunlight cannot reach directly.

Philodendron Tortum’s do not thrive well in cold weather. If you see that the leaves have darkened in, it is probably due to frostbite.  

This can happen in winters or if your plant is exposed to a direct air conditioner. If the leaves have got frostbite in late-spring, the chances of recovery are nil. However, given enough care, your Philodendron will outgrow the damage.

If you notice that your Philodendron has dried leaf margins, it is probably due to a high dose of fertilizers.

This is one reason why you must read the instructions on the labels carefully to avoid over-fertilization. The same can happen from over spraying of herbicides.


Magnesium Deficiency

Philodendron Tortum must be grown in regularly fertilized soil. The type of fertilizer being used matters a lot.

If the fertilizer has an irregular ratio of minerals and other nutrients, your plant may not grow properly. An important nutrient is magnesium.

Magnesium deficiency is a common issue that may occur if the soil is not fertilized properly.

Sometimes the deficiency can be from over-watering as that can cause the minerals to leach off the soil. The deficiency of magnesium can result in the yellowing of leaves and veins popping out.

To prevent Magnesium deficiency in your Philodendron, use magnesium leaf spray like Epsom salt. For the soil, you can use calcium-magnesium. These treatments are best during autumn and winter.


Tips for Growing Philodendron Tortum

Following are some tips that you should keep in mind when growing a Philodendron Tortum:

  • During dormancy, do not fertilize or water as plants rest in this phase.
  • Wash your hands before touching your eyes and lips after pruning or treating the plant as it has a harmful chemical called Calcium Oxalate.
  • During propagation, no leaf should be buried inside the rooting medium or soil mix.
  • Do not over-fertilize your plant, or the pH of the soil can be affected.


Frequently Asked Questions about Philodendron Tortum


When should I expect roots to appear for my Philodendron Tortum after propagation?

The roots of Philodendron Tortum appear in the second or third week. By this time, you should also prepare to shift your plant to a bigger pot and change its water frequently. Lastly, do not forget to fertilize as per routine.


What soil is considered the best for Philodendron Tortum?

Philodendron Tortum grows best in well-drained organic soil, such as sphagnum peat moss. Alternative plants are peat-vermiculite and peat-perlite.


Does Philodendron Tortum have a long life?

Philodendron Tortums are evergreen plants that are low maintenance. These plants can survive on minimal care for many years. If you propagate them from time to time you can enjoy this plant for a lifetime.



Philodendron Tortum is such a striking plant. It looks like a palm with its slender leaves but is actually a Philodendron. 

Although it is not the easiest one to get as they are considered rare, their care is straight forward and does not differ much from the care of other Philodendron plants.

If you like Philondendron Tortum you could also look into Monstera Subpinnata.

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