How to Care for Philodendron Pastazanum?
Philodendrons boast an impressive variety among which the Philodendron Pastazanum counts as a rare yet beautiful variety.
Its heart-shaped leaves remind one of the heart-shaped philodendron, but its glossy leaves, prominent veins, and crawling growth pattern will tell you this is a philodendron variety in its own right.
Originating from the Pastaza state of Ecuador, the Philodendron Pastazanum, although rare, has the same care requirements as other philodendrons.
Here are my recommendations of how to best take care of the Pastazanum Philodendron:
Size & Growth
When grown in its natural habitat, this philodendron reaches a height between 3 to 5 feet and a width of 4 to 6 feet.
Since indoors you can’t replicate the exact conditions of the plant’s natural environment, the plant will stay smaller, but it can still grow splendid foliage and develop normally, it’s just that it will grow slower and stay smaller.
This doesn’t mean, however, that impressive growth cannot be achieved, especially if you pay extra attention to the lighting needs and watering needs of the plant.
Luckily, we know a lot about philodendron plant care and the Pastazanum isn’t a finicky variety, so chances are high that you too can grow a thriving plant, even indoors.
I’ll start by focusing on the light requirements of the Philodendron Pastazanum just because it’s one of the major aspects that will influence the plant’s development and growth of foliage.
Most philodendrons will enjoy medium to bright light. But here’s the catch – philodendrons don’t enjoy direct sunlight, especially not during the afternoon hours, when the sun is the strongest.
Strong sunlight will scorch the leaves of the plant, leaching out the color or turning the leaves brown.
Placing your philodendron in an east-facing window will provide plenty of bright light without it becoming dangerous to the plant.
If grown outdoors, place in a spot with dappled shade or filtered light so that the plant is protected by strong light, but it still receives enough light to thrive.
Indoors, you should periodically rotate the plant (e.g. every time you water it) to make sure all sides of the plant receive enough light.
Philodendrons don’t appreciate sitting in wet soil for too long. Excessively wet soil will cause the roots of the plant to start rotting.
Instead, water the philodendron by following the ‘soak and dry’ method – water until you see water escaping through the drain holes, then allow the soil to slightly dry out.
Check the soil for moisture with your index finger – if the top inch feels dry, you can water your philodendron again.
Philodendrons appreciate slightly moist soil, but never soggy soil. Therefore, besides understanding how best to water your Philodendron Pastazanum, you also need to use a good aroid potting mix.
Commercially available aroid mixes are best for this philodendron variety. They allow water to drain freely, retaining only a bit of moisture to keep the philodendron hydrated.
If the potting mix is loose, the roots of the philodendron are well aerated and the risks associated with root rot are greatly eliminated.
Aroid mixes usually contain peat, perlite, orchid bark and other well-draining substrates that won’t get compacted nor will they get saturated with water.
Soilless substrates such as vermiculite also work great for aroid plants. In any event, you should avoid using regular potting soil exclusively.
Heavy soil that is saturated with water takes very long to dry properly and when it does dry, it gets compacted, suffocating the roots of the philodendron.
Temperature & Humidity
The Philodendron Pastazanum grows outdoors in the US, only in USDA hardiness zone 11.
The plant is neither cold or frost resistant, so if you’ve been keeping it outside during spring and summer, as soon as outdoor nighttime temperatures are nearing 50-55 °F, you’ll need to take your philodendron indoors.
The temperature range that’s ideal for the Pastazanum is between 60-95 °F. When temperatures are high, you need to be watchful of humidity levels and soil moisture.
The plant thrives in humidity above 65%, which can be a challenge indoors. Yet, humidifiers and DIY humidity trays can help keep the air around the plant humid enough for it to thrive.
Also, whenever possible, keep your philodendron somewhere close to a naturally more humid area in your home such as a kitchen or a bathroom.
Lack of humidity can cause all sorts of foliage problems and even increase the occurrence of some pests, which can quickly weaken the defenses of the plant.
Although they aren’t considered heavy feeders, philodendrons like the Pastazanum do need feeding during the growing season to help them grow their large foliage.
You can use a well-balanced, liquid fertilizer diluted to half-strenght to feed your philodendron once a month during spring and summer.
In the fall, you can cut back on fertilizer and slowly eliminate it by mid-autumn, as the plant enters a rest period where it stops growing and using up resources.
Even with watering, you’ll need to reduce watering in winter since evaporation is also reduced and the potting mix stays moist for longer than in the summer.
Potting & Repotting
For this type of philodendron a round pot may not do the trick. If possible, I suggest you use a rectangular pot. The reason why rectangular pots are better for this variety is because of the way the plant crawls (horizontally), needing a bit more space than a round pot can provide.
I also like to use terracotta or clay pots. These are sturdier than plastic, so they hold the weight of the plant much better, but also because unglazed terracotta draws out moisture from the potting mix, preventing the dreaded root rot.
Repot your Pastazanum as needed, or every 2-3 years. When repotting use a fresh batch of aroid mix.
How to Propagate Philodendron Pastazanum?
One thing I absolutely love about philodendrons is how easily they’ll propagate from cuttings. Cuttings will root in water, so I don’t even bother with pots, that’s how easy it is to multiply your philodendron.
Here’s the quick version on how to propagate a Philodendron Pastazanum:
- Take sections of 3-6 inches, making sure there are at least two leaf nodes on each section
- Put the cutting in a glass jar filled with clean, chlorine-free water, making sure at least one leaf node is under the water line
- Keep any leaves above the water level (leaves near the cut end must go)
- Replace the water every 3-4 days to prevent algae and bacteria from accumulating
- Keep out of direct sunlight but in a bright location
- Provide warmth and humidity
- Root shot be visible within a month
- Wait for the roots to get to at least 1 inch long before transferring the cutting to a regular pot
If you don’t want to root in water, moist potting mix will work as well. I prefer the water rooting method just because I can see the roots developing in real-time.
Why is the Philodendron Pastazanum Plant Wilting?
Wilting can be caused by excessive watering, excessive sun exposure, lack of humidity, and even temperature shock.
Check the soil for moisture, make sure your plant isn’t getting blasted by the sun, ensure that humidity levels and temperature are within optimal parameters.
Even a cold draft or an AC that’s reaching the plant can induce temperature shock and cause it to wilt.
Why are the Leaves of Philodendron Pastazanum Turning Yellow?
Yellow leaves can also be a sign of multiple issues. Chief among them is a lack of enough sunlight or excessive watering.
Sometimes, the plant is just shedding old leaves, but usually when that happens only the bottom leaves of the plant turn yellow.
Check back on the basic care recommendations and try to zero in on the problem. Systematically yellowing leaves are usually a sign of something being disrupted in the care regimen of your plant.
Even too much fertilizer can cause leaves to turn yellow.
Is the Philodendron Pastazanum Plant Toxic?
Yes, despite being kept as an indoor plant, the Philodendron pastazanum is a toxic plant both to humans and pets. Ingestion can cause severe burns, vomiting and other GI upsets.
If your pet has ingested any part of the plant, seek veterinary help. If your kid has ingested parts of the plant, you should seek the advice of a doctor.
Make sure to wear protective gloves when handling the plant. Even when just repotting it, it’s best to wear gloves as the sap of the plant irritates the skin.
A philodendron variety that’s not as well-known as its heart-leaf variety, the Pastazanum grows large leaves that are dark green with protruding veins.
Despite not being as much in the spotlight, this variety will make itself noticed immediately. It’s also just as easy to care for as other philodendrons and just as easy to grow.
The usual caveats I always repeat with philodendron plants apply here too – don’t overwater, don’t expose it to direct sunlight, and protect it from cold, frost and sources of excessive heat.