How to Care for Philodendron Billietiae?
The leaves of this philodendron variety certainly put on an interesting display, especially when the plant is allowed to climb on a pole or other structure. Arrow-shaped with orange petioles and green coloration, these leaves can reach 3 feet if the plant grows in its natural habitat.
If Philodendron Billietiae caught your eye, you’re in for a treat — this variety needs little care and attention. That said, it does require that you recreate the environmental conditions it’s used to in its natural habitat.
My Philodendron Billietiae plant care tips below will help you achieve just that.
Size & Growth
The plant itself doesn’t usually grow higher than 3 feet and wider than 8 inches. A moss pole will keep it from tipping over and sustain its upward growth. With its growth supported, the plant can dazzle you with its huge leaves.
Your philodendron billietiae doesn’t need any direct sunlight. Bright, indirect light will be best, just like in its natural habitat, where the plant is shaded from the direct rays of the sun by trees nearby.
If you leave your philodendron plant out in the sun, its leaves will become scorched or they will turn yellow.
You need to take preventative measures to shield your billietiae from direct sunlight even indoors. Keep the plant a few feet away from sunny windows and instead choose to keep it near a north-facing or east-facing window.
Billietiae thrives in moist soil. If the soil is too wet, it could cause root rot. It’s not immediately obvious that you’ve been overwatering your plant or that its roots are rotting.
By the time you do see symptoms, however, it could be too late to save your plant. Therefore, preventing overwatering and learning how to water your philodendron billietiae correctly.
It’s also important to have the right soil type, but more on that later.
To keep your philo from getting overwatered, you must check how moist or dry the soil is every time you want to water your plant.
If the top inch (up until the first knuckle of your index finger) feels dry, you can go ahead and water the plant. If the soil is moist, you need to check back in a few days.
Water until you see water coming out through the draining holes at the bottom of the pot. Allow excess water to collect in the tray at the bottom of the pot, then empty the tray.
With these simple rules, you can prevent overwatering. On the other end of the spectrum, don’t neglect watering your philodendron. Although it can do with a little neglect, it cannot go long periods without water.
Good watering habits go hand in hand with a good soil type that will help keep your philodendron’s soil moist but not wet or soggy.
For this purpose, I recommend well-draining soil mixes for your billietiae such as those containing peat, perlite, vermiculate. Soils rich in organic matter that allow water to easily percolate.
Even though these soil types drain fast, they hold onto enough humidity to hydrate your philodendron.
Temperature & Humidity
The ideal daytime temperature range for philodendron billietiae is between 65 F – 80 F. During the night, the temperature range should stay between 55 F and 65 F.
Indoors, it’s easy to achieve these temperature ranges. Outdoors, it’s not. If your philo is ‘vacationing’ outdoors during the summer, make sure it gets back inside when the weather starts turning cold.
This is not a cold- or frost-tolerant plant, so you should avoid exposing it to temperatures below 55 F.
As far as humidity is concerned, your philo will thrive in average to high humidity. Indoors, humidity control can be difficult, especially if your home is naturally dry.
Humidifiers or a pebble tray with water on which you can place your philo pot will help increase humidity levels and help your plant to thrive.
To get lush and vibrant leaves, a bit of fertilizing may be needed. You can use a slow-release fertilizer with macro-nutrients, every 2-3 months.
Alternatively, a foliage plant fertilizer that’s balanced and diluted to a weak solution can also help if applied every 4-6 weeks.
Best to use the fertilizer only during the growing season. As the plant does not grow much during fall and winter, it doesn’t need a nutrient spike as much as it does in spring and summer.
Potting & Repotting
You can grow this plant in a regular pot or hanging basket. Repotting will be needed around every 2-3 years. It’s important for the roots not to be compacted in the pot. This can cause stress to the plant and ring in several diseases.
You also need to repot to freshen up the potting medium that the plant has been sitting in for years. It’s best to schedule repotting to spring to coincide with the growing season.
How to Propagate Philodendron Billietiae?
There are two methods you can use to propagate your philodendron billietiae — stem cuttings and air layering.
The easiest, and probably quickest, method is to harvest stem cuttings. Pick a stem cutting that’s around 2-4 inches and has a few leaves.
Cut the stem cutting below a leaf node and plant into moist soil. Keep the soil moist and keep the plant in a warm location that gets bright, indirect light.
Air layering involves getting the plant to root on a section that you will later cut away and plant. You need to create a wound into the stem that’s about 2 inches deep and goes as a ring around the stem.
Keep the wound open with peat moss or a toothpick and wrap moist peat most around the wound.
Keep it all in place with a string and a plastic wrap. In about 6-8 weeks, you should notice roots forming. Once roots are visible you can cut away the new plant from the mother plant.
Philodendron billietiae is known for its large leaves and climbing growth. It’s also a plant that requires little upkeep once it’s established.
The plant care recommendations above will help you grow a healthy philo plant that can thrive without problems indoors.