The first thing you notice on the philodendron Mexicanum is its elongated leaves that can grow to 2 feet long on some plants. By any measure, this philodendron variety is a highly exotic one that will vine and climb relatively fast given the opportunity.
Native to Central America it’s predominantly found in rainforests, but it doesn’t shy away from dry habitats either.
If you’re considering this variety for your apartment or office, follow my recommendations below that aim to create an environment close to what the plant experiences in its natural habitat.
Size & Growth
Philodendron Mexicanum reaches a height of about 6.5-7 feet within 2 years. However, its leaves have a more impressive growth reaching 1 foot in width and 2 feet in length.
When they’re small, the leaves are narrow and long, however, as they mature, they become tri-lobed.
The spectacle of color the leaves put on as they mature is also something that won’t escape your notice. While still young and in the process of unfurling, the leaves are a glossy, light green.
As they mature, their color deepens turning into a deep, leathery green. The undersides of the leaves feature splotches of magenta or maroon.
This is a sun-loving philodendron so natural light exposure is essential for its sustained growth. Even so, direct light should be avoided.
Dappled, filtered light will protect the leaves from sunburn while offering them adequate light to grow. Bright indirect light is also good for the philodendron Mexicanum.
If moving it outdoors, you may want to slowly acclimate the plant with its new environment. A bit of gentle direct light such as that in the early morning or late afternoon is unlikely to cause any damage.
Like with other philodendron varieties — or other tropical plants, for that matter — overwatering is a common mistake that novice plant keepers make.
It’s true that these plants enjoy moist soil, but that’s just it — moist soil and not wet soil. The difference is a thriving plant versus one whose roots are rotting.
To avoid overwatering your plant, you must pay attention to the moisture level of the soil before watering and to the type of potting medium you choose for your philodendron.
The moisture level of the soil can be influenced by a number of factors such as how warm it is, how dry the air is, sun exposure, and so on.
Therefore, it’s not enough to just have a watering schedule, you need to assess moisture levels every time you want to water the plant.
If the top layer of the soil is still moist, you can wait for it to dry a bit before you go ahead with your watering regimen.
Outside of the growing season (fall-winter), you should cut back on how much water you give your philodendrons since they don’t do much growing during that time.
I mentioned how the soil type goes hand in hand with making sure you don’t overwater your philodendron Mexicanum. To this end, you need to pick a potting medium that’s rich, loose and drains fast.
Combinations of perlite, sphagnum moss, peat, orchid bark, coconut coir and compost work wonders on aerating the soil and maintaining adequate levels of moisture without becoming waterlogged.
You can create your own mix or simply go for commercially available ones. Potting mixes created for succulents can work too.
Temperature & Humidity
The temperature range tolerated by philodendron Mexicanum is between 55 F and 85 F, however, the ideal range is between 65 and 75 F.
Because philodendrons are not cold tolerant or frost-resistant, they should not be kept outdoors once temperatures start to dip below 60 F.
Avoid exposing them to temperature variations. The plant should not be kept close to AC units or heating vents.
As for humidity levels, the plant enjoys high humidity, but will adapt to average indoor humidity as well. You can increase humidity levels through occasional misting or with the help of a humidifier.
If you want to help your philodendron to grow large leaves, routine fertilizing will meet the nutritional requirements of the plant.
Use an organic, high quality fertilizer. It can be a general-purpose fertilizer or a foliage plant fertilizer.
You can use a liquid fertilizer that you dilute and apply monthly or go with a slow-release fertilizer instead.
Regardless of the type of fertilizer, make sure you don’t over-fertilize. Follow dosage instructions and remember that it’s better to under-fertilize than to burn the roots of your plant by adding too much fertilizer.
Potting & Repotting
Because the plant can get top heavy from all those large leaves, invest in a heavy terracotta pot for stability.
This will also offer stability when you need to place a moss pole or other support structure to train the vines of the Mexicanum to climb.
Repotting is needed when the plant visibly outgrows its pot with roots poking out of drain holes or the pot itself.
Repotting can also be a good time to freshen up the soil and trim away any parts of the roots that are diseased or mushy.
How to Propagate Philodendron Mexicanum?
The easiest method to propagate philodendron Mexicanum is by taking cuttings from growing tips. These have nodes and aerial roots that will make rooting a breeze.
Take cuttings in spring and cut below a couple of nodes. Dab in some rooting hormone and propagate in moist potting medium or directly in water.
Roots will grow in a couple of weeks and you can transfer the new philodendron Mexicanum plant to its own pot.
Philodendron Mexicanum is a rare variety but its care requirements are very much in line with the requirements of other philodendrons I covered so far.
If you’re struggling with watering, you can use a moisture probe, but your finger can also tell you if the soil is moist, dry or too wet.
Since most of the plant is made up of leaves, make a point out of keeping them clean, moisture and debris free. This will prevent leaf diseases, especially fungal problems.