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Philodendron Verrucosum – Best Care Hacks

Philodendron Verrucosum – Best Care Hacks

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Philodendron verrucosum is a colorful Philodendron with velvety leaves. It is a hemiepiphyte that starts its life as a seed growing in the canopy of trees and  is eventually reaching the soil with its roots.

A hemiepiphyte is a plant that grows at least for a part of its lifecycle as an epiphyte. Epiphytes are plants that are growing attached to other trees.

There are many variants of Philodendron verrucosum, but at least two distinct forms can be differentiated.

The Philodendron verrucosum with the red on the backside of the leaf blade and the variant with the green backside. 

However, the verrucosum species has many more different types to offer.

 

Philodendron Verrucosum

Philodendron Verrucosum often develop very hairy petioles once they mature

Some of the Philodendron verrucosum have a hairy (pubescence) petiole unlike the other heart-shaped species such as the Philodendron Gloriosum or the Philodendron Pastazanum

The Philodendron verrucosum is a climber meaning that the growth habit is towards the sky and not along the surface.

The natural habitat of this plant is Central to South America in countries such as Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru.

Philodeondron verrucosum grows at an altitude between 165 to 6550 feet  (50 – 2000m) above sea level and is therefore very diverse in its needs.

Many websites describe Philodendron verrucosum as an easy to grow houseplant. I do not fully agree as the humidity needs seem to be bigger than most other houseplants I encountered so far.

In addition, leaves are turning crisp and brown quite easily when your watering regime is not on point. 

But do not worry, we have you covered with our in-depth Philodendron verrucosum care guide.

 

 

Philodendron Verrucosum Plant Care Guide

Philodendron Verrucosum Care Hacks

Philodendron Verrucosum Care Hacks

 

Soil

The right soil is so important and this is why I always discuss this topic first. Many problems arise because of the wrong potting soil and a lot of stress is caused once your plants show signs of overwatering.

The right potting mix is even more important when dealing with plants in the Aracaea family where many species are epiphytes. 

Roots need aeration, meaning the possibility of direct airflow to the roots. This requirement can only be met if your potting mix is airy and drains well.

For this to happen you will need to have ingredients that are chunky and that will allow for air pockets in-between the potting medium to form.

The following aroid mix I would like to share with you is working well for my Philodendron verrucosum:

  • Potting Soil (30%)
  • Orchid Bark (30%)
  • Perlite (30%)
  • Charcoal (10%)

Keep soil pH values between 5.1 to 6.0. 

Let’s move to the next section where we will look into the right light conditions for Philodendron verrucosum. Since light is responsible for plants to conduct photosynthesis, this is another aspect of plant care you do not want to get wrong.

 

Light

Bright indirect light or filtered light is best for these climbers. With bright indirect light, I mean light coming from a window very close by that is not touching the leaf blades directly. 

These conditions can be best met in an east-facing window where the indoor plants get bright indirect light for a big part of the day and some direct sunlight in the morning.

I wrote an extensive article about sunlight and window directions that you can check out here.

 

Watering

Water thoroughly when watering to mimic tropical jungle conditions. It is best practice to keep the soil humid but never soggy.

Also, do not let the soil of your Philodendron verrucosum dry out completely as it is often suggested in plant care guides.

The dry soil will act as a shield due to the blanket effect and might prevent any humidity to get to the roots.

With the right substrate, you should be able to keep the roots of your plant healthy and water the plant plenty when you are watering.

Root rot is a common cause of improper soil conditions and an inadequate watering schedule. You can read my article about preventing root rot in case you want to know more about it.

 

Temperature

Philodendron verrucosum loves the temperature to be above 68°F  (20°C).  A temperature above 77°F (25°C) in combination with high humidity will ensure that your verrucosum is growing super fast if you have a verrucosum type that prefers warmer temperature.

They can also be cold growers and grow better in lower temperatures. You have to remember that the Philodendron verrucosum is found at altitudes ranging from 165 to 6550 feet (50-2000m) above the sea.

These are the conditions you would meet in Central and South America where the Philodendron grows in nature.

The Philodendron verrucosum can be grown outside in hardiness zones 9b-11 according to the United States Department of Agriculture’s hardiness zones. Make sure temperatures stay above 40 °F  (4.5 °C).

 

Humidity

High humidity above 60% is advised to keep your Philodendron verrucosum in great shape and growing vigorously.

It is a subtropical to tropical plant after all that grows under humid conditions in the wild. I keep mine very humid above 90% in terrarium conditions and they thrive.

 

Fertilizer

Fertilize away from the base at least 3 times a year. The best fertilizer to use is slow-release fertilizer.

This sort of fertilizer is solid and either comes as little sticks or colorful small balls that you put into the soil.

If you do not fertilize your Philodendron verrucosum it will grow very slowly.

My guide ab out nutrients and fertilizer has you covered in case you are interested in knowing more about fertilizer best practices

 

Propagation

Philodendron verrucosum is an easy plant to propagate in most cases. The most common way is to propagate from stem cuttings.

Read my step-by-step guide below on how to propagate Philodendron verrucosum.

 

Growth

 

A moss pole or at lest a simple stick is advices for these plants to increase in size and reach maturity

A moss pole or at least a simple stick is advised for these plants to increase in size and reach maturity

These plants grow up to 3 feet (90cm) in height. The leaves can reach a massive size of up to 3 feet tall (90cm).

New leaves emerge from deciduous cataphylls. Deciduous means that the cataphylls will be shredded off.

Since Philodendron verrucosum is a climber it is best to provide a moss pole.

The moss pole will help the plant to gain height. Other effects of providing a pole are that the stem of the verrucosum will grow thicker and the leaf size will increase considerably.

Without the possibility to climb it will take much longer for the Philodendron verrucosum to reach maturity or it might even never reach this stage.

These plants grow better in winter months if you have a verrucosum that is a cold grower. 

 

Potting

These plants love to grow extensive root systems so my suggestion is to no underpot this one.

Chose a pot size where the plant has sufficient space to grow a large root system.

You can use clay pots. A big advantage is that these will drain excess water from the soil. However, this also means that you have to water more frequently.

Read my article about the advantages of clay pots in case you are on the lookout for the perfect pot for your plant.

Repot every 1-2 years just before your Philodendron becomes pot bound. 

A good choice if these plants are not grown in a terrarium is to provide a pebble tray underneath and fill it with water. 

This will increase the humidity around the verrucosum plant.

Let’s not have a look at how you propagate this stunner.

 

Philodendron Verrucosum Propagation

As with most houseplants, there are several viable ways on how to propagate a Philodendron verrucosum.

I am going into more detail about how to do stem cuttings as this method is not only easy but also quite effective.

 

Stem cuttings

Stem cuttings are a common way to propagate Philodendron such as Philodendron Selloum, Philodendron Gloriosum, or Philodendron Birkin

Step-by-Step Philodendron verrucosum propagation:

  1. Chose a section of your plant that is viable for propagation
  2. Make sure that the section you are choosing has at least one node
  3. Prepare your pruning shears, scissors or knife ready by holding it under a flame for a few seconds and by using rubbing alcohol
  4. Use the now disinfected blade(s) to make a clear cut
  5. Put cinnamon on the wounds. This will help them to heal faster and to no get infected
  6. Put the Philodendron verrucosum cutting in Sphagnum Moss. Viable alternatives are water, perlite or soil directly
  7. Before you use the Spaghnum moss put it in water and press it hard in your fist at least 3 times for excess water to drain
  8. Now the humidity of you moss is optimal
  9. Put the cutting with the Sphagnum Moss in a jar or pot
  10. Ensure the spot you choose provides warmth and humidity to your cutting as this will speed up the process

After 3 to 4 weeks you should see roots emerging. However, it can go much faster or much longer or be unsuccessful. 

There are many variables that will affect your success rate. Apart from temperature and humidity, a big factor is choosing the right season to do cuttings and propagation attempts.

Spring and Summer are generally the best seasons to propagate houseplant or any plant for that matter.

 

Air Layering

A different method is to air layer your plant. This is the process of trying to get roots from your future cutting before you cut it.

You basically put Sphagnum moss around a node with air roots and cover it with plastic. After a couple of weeks, roots should start growing.

Once the root length is sufficient, you can conduct your cut and you will get a rooted cutting. The success with this method is higher as you get a cutting with roots.

However, the process is a bit more difficult to do as fixating the Sphagnum moss on the stem of your plant can be a little finicky to do for the beginner.

 

Seeds

Propagating from seeds is a great method to get multiple plants. The biggest challenge is to acquire any seeds. Aroid seeds are hard to get and some are quickly degenerating.

Buying seeds on the internet mostly is not a good idea as you could be sold anything but Philodendron verrucosum seeds.

The best way would be to own two plants so one can pollinate the other. For this to happen, both would either have to bloom at the same time or you would have to freeze the seeds of one plant and have it ready once the other blooms.

You may see by now why I am not going into further details here.

Apart from propagating this plant, which is the fun part, you may also have to deal with certain problems when things do not go well.

Let’s move on and put the spotlight on the most common problems with the Philodendron verrucosum.

 

Common Problems with Philodendron Verrucosum

Healthy Philodendron Verrucosum leaf with radiant markings

Healthy Philodendron Verrucosum leaf with radiant markings

Yellow Leaves

Yellow leaves if not seen on older leaves at the bottom of your plant where it can be natural is almost always a clear sign of overwatering.

Take it as a warning signal and make sure to decrease the frequency you are watering your Philodendron verrucosum.

If the soil is soggy for a long time you might also have to check the roots for symptoms of root rot.

 

Drooping Leaves

This can be a confusing one as drooping leaves is an indicator of two contradictory causes.

Drooping leaves in Philodendron plants can either be a cause of overwatering or a cause of underwatering.

So the most important step here is to find out which one it is. Stick one of your fingers into the soil. If it feels soggy and a lot of soil stays on your finger once you pull it out of the soil you might be overwatering.

The opposite is true for underwatering. Whilst underwatering can be corrected quickly by a good drench and a better-adjusted watering schedule based on your condition, overwatering needs several steps to be corrected.

If overwatering is the cause you may need to remove and exchange the soil completely. Chances are that root rot will start to emerge and that might also infest the soil.

Remove all the soil and disinfect the plant pot. I then advise using a better more airy potting soil mix with chunky bits where aeration of the roots is granted.

 

Root Rot

Root rot is a disease that can be caused by overwatering on one hand. It will cause rotting roots that die back. It will start to affect also health roots as this disease quickly spreads.

The cause is a lack of needed oxygen to the roots.

On the other hand, there also is a root rot fungus that can infect the roots of your Philodendron Verrucsoum and quickly spread to all of the roots of your plant.

Root rot is a serious disease that can kill your plant entirely and that needs to be identified and treated as quickly as possible.

Our article about identifying the disease and the article about treating it will cover the most important thing you will need to know.

 

Pest Infestation

Plant pests are the worst. They are often very nasty looking and hard to get rid of. The worst part is that they are mostly extremely small and y0u won’t even know exactly what infested your plant before it is almost too late.

Since I have written in-depth articles for all the common houseplant pests that could possibly settle on your Philodendron verrucosum, I am going to list all the articles here for your convenience:

Instead of going into too much detail, I will also list the proven ways of getting rid of most pest infestations as you may encounter one sooner or later:

Neem Oil– This oil is working wonder against pests of all sorts. It isn’t cheap and you can get it either pure and have to mix it with water or premixed and ready to spray on your plant. It leaves an interesting scent that some people hate and others might like.

But the most important part is that all the buggers hate it. Very effective but needs multiple applications to be effective.

Castile Soap – Use real soap and you will be astonished to see that it can successfully fight a bug infestation on your Philodendron verrucosum. Mix 1 tablespoon of Castile soap and use  1 quart of water.

Rubbing Alcohol – Dilute rubbing alcohol with water and use a cloth or qtip to clean your Philodendron Verrucosum. Use 1/2 cup of rubbing alcohol with 1 quart of water.

Any my latest discovery is predator bugs. These are basically bugs that eat other bugs you don’t want to have on your plants.

I am currently experimenting with lacewing larvae as they do not fly until they are adult and are very effective in eliminating multiple types of plant pests. Highly recommended.

With all the described methods please keep in mind that you need to do multiple applications and you will have to repeat the process after 2-3 weeks as plant pests might lay eggs above and also underground that will hatch during that period.

So once you fought the first batch successfully the seconds batch might already be hatching and ready for wave 2.

In addition to fighting plant pests, I summarized the most important tips to keep your Philodendron problem-free below.

 

Tips to keep Philodendron Verrucosum problem-free

In this section, I want to take the chance to highlight the most important tips and tricks to keep your Philodendron Verrucosum happy and growing well:

  1. Keep the humidity as high as possible. Whenever the humidity was low I ran into problems with this plant. This does not come as a surprise since they are growing in cloud forests in nature.
  2. As a hemiepiphyte, these plants need a very airy potting mix where air can reach the roots of your Philodendron Verrucosum
  3. Since most of these plants are cold growers make sure temperatures are not too high but moderate.

 

Frequently asked questions about Philodendron Verrucosum

 

Why are the leaves of my Philodendron Verrucosum drooping?

Drooping leaves can be a sign of underwatering but also of overwatering.

 

How to care for a Philodendron Verrucosum?

These plants love high humidity, bright indirect light, and moderate temperatures. Loose airy soils are a must as the Philodendron verrucosum is a hemiepiphyte, growing at least part of its life on other trees. Keep the soil moist but never soggy and water frequently. 

 

Is Philodendron Verrucosum a fast grower?

Most philodendron grows best in autumn to winter when the temperatures are cooler as it is mostly a cold grower. Philodendron verrucosum grows in cloud forests at different elevations up to 6550 feet (2000m).

 

What family does the Philodendron Verrucosum belong to?

Philodendron verrucosum belongs to the Araceae family as does the Monstera genus.


 

Conclusion

Philodendron Verrucosum is a stunningly beautiful aroid with velvety leaves, striking leaf blades, and interesting petioles.

If you can offer proper conditions for this stunning Pihlodendron to thrive it will pay you back a thousandfold with its iridescent leaves and red to purple backs (this is at least true for some verrucosum types).

We can conclude that verrucosum is mostly a cold grower that not only loves but needs high humidity and loose airy soil to flourish.

What is your experience with growing Philodendron Verrucosum?

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