Return home

COLUMN: Philodendrons an easy houseplant to grow

Rosanne LoParco
Sentinel columnist
Posted 1/22/23

Philodendrons are some of the easiest foliage houseplants to grow.

This item is available in full to subscribers.

COLUMN: Philodendrons an easy houseplant to grow


Philodendrons are some of the easiest foliage houseplants to grow. They are classified as tropical plants and come in a wide range of shapes, colors, and sizes. Even though they are classified as tropicals, they don't need a tropical environment to grow.

What's nice about philodendrons is that they tolerate low light and practically thrive on neglect. These plants are native in the low light, lower areas of tropical forests in Central and South America. If well treated, these houseplants will last for many years.

Growing needs

Philodendrons prefer indirect or curtain-filtered sunlight, but they will tolerate low light. Brightly colored foliage varieties are the ones preferring more light. These houseplants prefer to stay evenly moist but not soggy. Water when the top inch of the soil is dry and don't let plants sit in saucers of water.

Fertilize lightly; only when actively growing in the spring or summer. Use a water-based, all purpose fertilizer at half strength. Philodendrons prefer high-humidity, but they'll tolerate the typical low humidity found in homes. The plants do well when slightly pot-bound, but soil will dry out quickly and you may need to water more. If you need to repot the plant, use a container that is one size larger using a good quality potting mix.


Watering too much or not enough will be the main issue. Yellowing of leaves could signal overwatering or not enough light. Too much fertilizer can cause the tips of leaves to curl and turn brown. Insect pests are usually not a problem for philadendrons; however, keep an eye on the plants for potential aphid, spider mites or scale problems.

Clemson University Extension has an excellent fact sheet on how to trouble shoot problems, including how to identify a potential insect issue; visit


There are two major types: climbing and non-climbers. Philodendron varieties that climb, such as heartleaf philodendrons, look great on a small trellis or pole or even as a hanging basket. Non-climbing varieties, such as tree or split-leaf philodendrons, can get quite large: twice as wide as they are tall. Therefore, be sure you have an indoor space big enough for the plant to grow.

One extra note about philodendrons in general is that all parts of the plant are toxic if eaten. Keep these plants away from pets and small children who could accidentally eat the plants. Philodendrons can be a reliable and long-lived addition to the home or office. They are a great houseplant choice for the beginner gardener. With all the different varieties out there, the hardest part will be to only pick one. Happy indoor gardening!



No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here