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Philodendron Warszewiczii – #1 Care Guide

Philodendron Warszewiczii – #1 Care Guide

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The exotic Philodendron warszewiczii is native to the pacific coast of Central Americas along Mexico, El Salvator, Nicaragua and Honduras. According to the Global Biodiversity Information Facility, the species occurs usually on rocks in dry rain forests.

The leaves of this large tropical ground runner are bipinnatifid. This means the leaf blades are deeply divided and each division is further divided into pinnules.

Altogether they resemble feathers and are less leathery than many other fellow species. The stems are thick and stout.

I love the distinct foliage but the real virtue is that Philodendron warszewiczii care is a cakewalk even for beginners. 

The only deal with Philodendron warszewiczii care is that it’s an aggressive grower and takes on massive proportions within years.

My best recommendation to exploit its striking form and beauty is to grow Philodendron warszewiczii outdoors terrestrially. 

In the cold northern zones this equatorial wonder is difficult to grow. You can train them on moss poles in pots but the leaves don’t grow very big neither do they get the shredded look.

 

How Not To Kill Your Philodendron Warszewiczii

Philodendron Warszewiczii Photo Credit: @plantsandme4lyf on Instagram

 

Philodendron warszewiczii plant care guide

 

Soil

In the natural habitat they are seen running along rocky terrain and sometimes climbing over host trees epiphytically. 

If you want to grow Philodendron warszewiczii in your garden, use rich loamy and loose soil that is high in organic matter.

The top Philodendron warszewiczii care hack is to simply prepare the spot by mixing a sack full of sterile leaf mulch and garden non-clayey garden soil. If you’re not sure of drainage add gravel or sand. 

My advice for  Philodendron warszewiczii care is to use easily available inexpensive soil additives that do the job.

Walnut shells, coco-chips, brick bits, coal, crushed terracotta shards, bark , wood shavings, whatever. Get creative with it. All that this wonderfully low maintenance philo asks for is clumpy well draining soil and plenty of surface to cover.

Pro tip: Use a raised spot like the mound of a tree to grow Philodendron warszewiczii – this way the landscape will allow for natural draining of excess water. Once the adventitious roots of this runner find the tree trunk the plant will climb it too.
 

Light

Philodendron warszewiczii care needs bright shade conditions. Filtered dappled sunlight is good for this plant. 

Due to its tropical origins the plants require prolonged exposure to light i.e. 70-85% sunlight. The green foliage needs the exposure to prepare chlorophyll. I grow Philodendron warszewiczii under the shade of a big tree in my garden mimicking forest light conditions. 
 

Watering

Philodendron warszewiczii is quite drought resistant. It appreciates moisture and stays evergreen with optimal watering. However, in nature it is seen in the drier areas of the rainforests growing on rocks that barely retain water.

The plants are susceptible to root rot like most philodendrons and are the most common cause of death.

In my own experience, these plants love moisture but you can’t grow Philodendron warszewiczii with the roots “sitting” in water.

This isn’t just a function of water but also soil which you can read up about in the above section.

The optimal Philodendron warszewiczii care changes according to time of the year, climatic zone and your specific growing conditions. If you live in the tropics and grow Philodendron warszewiczii outdoors in the ground, you can water it every other day.

In the colder zones you can cut back on watering but don’t let the soil go completely bone dry a general rule.
 

Temperature

Philodendron warszewiczii care is dictated by its Central American origins. It loves warmth and thrives in weather zones near the equator.

You can confidently grow Philodendron warszewiczii outdoors if the temperatures in your climatic zone are consistently over 60°F (15°C) in the night and around 85°F (30°C) in the day. This is sort of the ideal range to grow Philodendron warszewiczii. 

It perishes swiftly in temperatures below  55°F (12.75°C). In winters, you should promptly move the plant indoors always, as they are very chill sensitive. In any case growth slows down significantly.

 

Humidity

More than anything else, a Philodendron warszewiczii plant appreciates warm mugginess. They really thrive in tropical humidity and don’t even need as much watering as they need humidity. 

If your garden has a misting device your plant will do great. Otherwise, don’t despair, just hose down the plant every now and then. Keeping it in a close huddle along with other plants, helps too.

That said, you can grow Philodendron warszewiczii in low humidity conditions too, as long as optimum moisture is maintained. They have “ideal” conditions but they are quite tolerant and forgiving.
 

Fertilization

I grow Philodendron warszewiczii in a soil mix rich in organic content and I find that this is quite enough. They are light feeders. All the mulch and leaf compost mixed with the soil acts as food for the plant. 

If you want to give it a little extra feeding, a nitrogen fertilizer is a good choice for better foliage growth. This is desirable particularly if you grow Philodendron warszewiczii for ground cover outdoors.

Additionally, you can schedule a routine dose of balanced organic fertilizer. Any liquid organic type, well diluted and administered every 4 to 6 weeks gives a real boost to the growth.

This is to be used only in the growing months. Remember to cut back on feeding the plant in winters.

If you’re propagating, your juvenile Philodendron warszewiczii care will need fertilization. If left unfertilized they tend to grow very slowly.

Pro-tip: Use good quality balanced foliage fertilizers. Heavy salts in cheaper fertilizers damage the roots and could possibly kill the plant.
 

Propagation

Philodendron warszewiczii are aroids i.e. plants that reproduce through monocotyledonous inflorescence that come with a spathe and spadix.

The spadix contains male, female and sterile flowers. When the female flowers are mature they become receptive to pollen from the male flowers.

Fun fact: The flowers of Philodendron warszewiczii become warm and give out a scent to attract insects for pollination.

I’ve come across people having mixed experiences with Philodendron warszewiczii propagation. Some find it that it takes root readily while others struggle with it.

Tip/stem cutting, basal branches or plantlets and layering are the usual methods for home growers. Don’t let a few unsuccessful attempts deter you from persisting.

Read on for a step-by-step guide on how to propagate and grow Philodendron warszewiczii below.
 

Growth

As you know, I grow Philodendron warszewiczii as groundcover under the shade of a tree. The leaves get quite big when grown like this – as big as 21 to 31 inches (31 to 78cm).  The stems are very thick and stocky.

I’ve observed, it is not a particularly fast grower but it can eventually cover quite a large area. Many believe it’s a self-header variety but that’s not the case. The internodes are indeed shorter compared to other philos. But Philodendron warszewiczii climbs up trees too.
 

Potting

This isn’t a plant I’d recommend for pots or indoor growing, at least not for a long time. If you have a baby plant then perhaps you can grow for a couple of years in fairly large pots. 

The ideal Philodendron warszewiczii care would require a 10″ (25cm) diameter, 10″ (25cm) deep container to start with and very well aerated soil.

If the roots get to breathe you can grow Philodendron warszewiczii more reliably.

These plants are not necessarily root bound and don’t prefer cramped potting. Repot about once a year or when the plant gets too big for the container.
 

Philodendron warszewiczii propagation methods – Step by step

Nurseries propagate philodendrons from seeds or through tissue culture. Both of these techniques are not feasible for home-growers.

I have shared below some methods that have worked for me.

The first rule of Philodendron warszewiczii care during propagation is that you should do it ONLY in the growing season, when the weather is relatively warm and humidity is moderate to high. Spring would be the ideal time.
 

Propagate Philodendron warszewiczii from cuttings

  1. Choose a strong healthy stem from the mother plant.
  2. Cut the stem tip with at least three nodes and a terminal using a pair of sharp garden scissors. The nodes near the soil take root more reliably. Even better if you can see aerial roots on the nodes.
  3. Pinch the leaves at the bottom node.
  4. Keep a pot with a 50-50 mix of sphagnum moss and perlite that’s evenly very moist but not wringing wet.
  5. You don’t need a rooting hormone for the cuttings because they typically root quite readily.
  6. Stick in the stem with at least one node well under the soil and press down the soil for support.
  7. Keep the pot in a fairly bright spot but away from direct sun.
  8. Keep the soil moist until the cutting is established. This should take 1 – 2 weeks.

 

Propagate Philodendron warszewiczii from basal branches

  1. The mother plant will branch out at the base and the new branch will throw root towards the soil.
  2. Once the roots are established you can carefully cut the branch off the main plant.
  3. You’ll know if the roots are established if they are firmly fixed in the soil when you tug at them.

 

How to air-layer your Philodendron warszewiczii

You’ll need a 6” transparent plastic bag, sphagnum moss and a few twisty ties.

  1. Look for small aerial root projections in your older leaf nodes.
  2. Punch a few small holes at the bottom of your plastic bag and put a fistful of evenly moist sphagnum moss at the bottom. Cut the top end of the plastic bag such that you get flaps to roll around a stem.
  3. Now let’s get to the plant. With one palm hold the water-soaked moss in the plastic bag, against the aerial root on the stem. With the free hand wrap the plastic flaps around the stem. Secure this bag of moss to the stem with twisty ties making a nice wet moss cocoon for the roots to grow into.
  4. Make sure your peat moss cocoon doesn’t slip off the root node.
  5. Keep the moss moist by watering through the holes on the plastic.
  6. After a couple of weeks when you notice that roots have grown into the moss, remove the plastic and the moss carefully without breaking your new roots.
  7. With a sharp garden scissors cut the stem below the new roots and separate the cutting from the mother
  8. Pot the cutting using the guidelines given in the section on ideal soil for Philodendron warszewiczii care and keep the soil moist until the new plant is well-established.

Pro tip: for better chances of success do this for multiple nodes at one time so that at least one of them takes root.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Fifi Luong-Ward (@plantsandme4lyf)


 

Common problems with Philodendron warszewiczii

 

Sudden wilting of leaves or yellowing

This typically happens due to a root rot caused due to overwatering or due to a fungal infection of the roots.

Root rot usually results from a soil mix that does not drain quickly or overly frequent watering. Check the base of the plant immediately. I would salvage a few cuttings and try to propagate them separately in a fresh pot with sterile well-draining soil.

 

Irregular tan patches on the leaves

This could be due to bacterial infections like sometimes seen in Philodendron warszewiczii such as Erwinia blight or Pseudomonas leaf spot.

You can tell if the infection is bacterial from the typical disagreeable smell the plant emanates. The disease normally affects smaller plants and appears to be less severe on large plants grown in the ground.

This bacterial infection needs moisture to spread.

First of all, isolate the plant from all other plants in your garden, cut away the affected leaves, minimizing watering and stop misting the plant, keep the leaves dry or allow them to dry very quickly in order to control spreading.

Bactericides are typically not needed.

 

Dark patches on the leaf

This could be due to cold draft exposure. Cut off the damaged leaves and move your plant to a warmer location.

 

Yellow leaves/brown leaves

If you notice the edges getting brown and dry then you’re underwatering. If the leaves turn yellow and the soil feels soggy it could be a sign of overwatering.

 

Pale color

Leaves lacking the characteristic dark green color is typically a straightforward indicator of poor lighting. You should move your plant to a brighter spot

 

Common pests

When you grow Philodendron warszewiczii, pests and insects are not something to worry about.

The common pests of this plant species include aphids, moths (worms), fungus gnats, mealybugs, scales, shore flies and thrips.

The best control measure is a routine application of insecticidal soap and neem oil once a month or as prescribed on the package.

My Philodendron warszewiczii care routine for pest control includes washing down the leaves with water once a week when I water the plant and wiping them dry. Severe infestations require more detailed treatment typically involving chemicals.

 

Tips to keep Philodendron warszewiczii problem-free

  • These are some hacks for Philodendron warszewiczii care that I’ve learnt over the years.
  • The ideal temperature range is between 55°- 80°F  (12.75°C – 26°C)
  • Indirect sunlight is the best to grow Philodendron warszewiczii
  • Use a nitrogen fertilizer for increased leaf size and a larger, healthier plant
  • Keep the soil evenly moist during growing months but never waterlogged
  • Wash the leaves regularly to prevent pests and dust accumulation. But make sure to dry out the leaves after washing.
  • High humidity promotes lush growth and shiny foliage, so it is a good idea to mist the plant regularly.
  • Ideal for outdoor planting if you’re looking for ground cover.
  • Pruning is recommended as a general practice
  • Remove the dead leaves and branches to avoid spreading infections.
     

FAQ on Philodendron Warszewiczii

 

Is Philodendron warszewiczii pet-friendly?

Be careful where you grow Philodendron warszewiczii as the plant contains calcium oxalate crystals which are toxic for pets causing mouth and bowel irritation. The plant contains insoluble calcium oxalate crystals similar to other plants in the Araceae family.
 

Does Philodendron warszewiczii purify air?

You can grow Philodendron warszewiczii for their air purifying properties. These plants help in removing common household toxins from the air, like formaldehyde making it a healthy addition for your space.

The NASA studies on indoor pollution done in 1989 recommends 15 to 18 plants in 6 to 8-inch- diameter containers to clean the air in an average 1,800 square foot house.
 

Can you grow Philodendron warszewiczii from seeds?

For seeds the Philodendron warszewiczii needs to flower and when grown indoors in pots they rarely do so. 

The seeds have limited longevity unless it is properly processed and vacuum packed. This is usually the method adopted by professional nursery growers and not by home garden enthusiasts.
 

How do I make Philodendron warszewiczii look fuller?

This type of “nearly” self-header type philodendron doesn’t take to well to pruning to induce branching. The way to make it look fuller is by giving it sufficient foliage inducing fertilizer. Also, Philodendron warszewiczii is a big-leaved plant and just a few leaves can fill up the space.
 

Does misting Philodendron warszewiczii help?

Periodically, showering the plant with water and spraying a solution of neem oil and insecticidal soap will help keep pests at bay.

Besides, philodendrons are tropical plants, so higher humidity will promote lush growth and shiny foliage.

Just watch out for bacterial infections which spread due to moisture.

CONCLUSION

People often ask me how to tell apart Philodendron warszewiczii and Philodendron bipinnatifidum. It is tricky, I admit, because both have “bipinnatifid” leaves i.e. split leaves. The Warszewiczii species have much thinner and deeply pinnatified leaf sections.

They are heavily shredded and somewhat resemble enlarged tomato plant leaves. The Bipinnatifidum species are less so with the leaf sections being thicker.

That said, they are both great choices if you want to give your outdoors a touch of tropical or a massive signature plant.

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