Philodendron Tortum Species Profile & Care Guide

The Philodendron Tortum is a unique houseplant known for its exotic-looking foliage. Originating from the tropical rainforests of South America, it thrives in warm and humid conditions.

Its slender, finger-like leaves make it a standout addition to any indoor plant collection.

Philodendron Tortum

Profile Overview

The Philodendron Tortum is a tropical plant that you might want to get to know. Here’s a quick list of its basic info:

  • Common Name: Philodendron Tortum
  • Scientific Name: Philodendron bipinnatifidum ‘Tortum’
  • Family: Araceae
  • Origin/Native Region: South America
  • Growth Habit: Climbing or trailing plant with a spiral growth pattern

Knowing these facts will help you if you decide to grow this unique plant at home.


The Philodendron Tortum stands out with unique features that catch the eye. This plant displays a variety of visual characteristics, including its leaves and stems.

The leaves have a special shape and color that make the Philodendron Tortum easy to spot among other plants. Its stems also add to the plant’s distinct look, supporting the leaves and contributing to the overall height and posture of the plant.

As it grows, the plant takes on an impressive size that can become a centerpiece in any room. Each aspect of the Philodendron Tortum’s appearance plays a role in its stunning presentation.

Leaf Size

The Philodendron Tortum has medium-sized leaves when compared to other members of the Philodendron family. Their leaves can grow quite long, stretching anywhere from 12 to 24 inches.

This feature gives the plant a striking and exotic look. When you care for it correctly, the leaves will develop to their full potential, greatly enhancing the plant’s overall appearance.

Keep in mind, their final size also depends on the growing conditions you provide – better conditions mean larger leaves.

Leaf Shape

The Philodendron Tortum has leaves that stand out because of their shape. Each leaf looks like a hand with fingers spread wide. Imagine the leaf is a star with long points – that’s the shape these leaves take.

They’re not solid like a normal leaf but have spaces between what looks like long and skinny leaflets. This special design not only looks interesting but also allows light to pass through, reaching leaves and plants below.

Therefore, the leaf shape of the Philodendron Tortum is not only unique but functional, letting it live well with other plants.

Leaf Color

The Philodendron Tortum has leaves that are mostly deep green. This green color can vary slightly from plant to plant.

Some leaves may appear lighter green, especially when new leaves grow. As they mature, these leaves usually darken. Light and growing conditions can also affect the exact shade of green you see.

Overall, the consistent leaf color adds to the plant’s striking appearance.

Stem Characteristics

The stem of the Philodendron Tortum is the plant’s backbone. It holds up the leaves and carries water and nutrients from the roots to the rest of the plant.

The stem is long and can either climb up supports or trail down from a hanging basket. It’s somewhat thick, showing a green to dark green color, and may develop a rough texture as the plant matures.

Unlike some other philodendrons, the Tortum’s stem is not as thick; it’s more slender and flexible. It might also grow aerial roots that help it climb if given a structure to support itself.

Mature Size

The mature size refers to how big the Philodendron Tortum can grow when it’s fully grown. Like people, plants have a maximum size they can reach.

The Philodendron Tortum reaches its mature size after it has been growing for several years.

This plant does not become huge, but it’s important to consider its final size so you give it enough room to thrive.

If you’ve ever seen a plant that outgrows its pot or space, you’ll understand why knowing the mature size is essential before you start growing one.

This way, your Philodendron Tortum can stay healthy and show off its beauty without being cramped.

Care Requirements

The care requirements for a plant are the specific conditions it needs to grow well. These include the right amount of light, water, and the proper temperature.

For the Philodendron Tortum, you have to pay attention to several things to keep it healthy. It needs a balance of these elements to thrive.

If you understand what the plant needs and you provide it consistently, your Philodendron Tortum will grow strong and beautiful.

You’ll learn about each of these needs in detail, like how often to water your plant and what type of light is best for it.

With the right care, you can help your Philodendron Tortum live a long and happy life.

Light Needs

The Philodendron Tortum needs bright, indirect light to grow well. It should not sit in direct sunlight, as this can burn its leaves. Place it where the sun’s rays don’t directly touch the foliage.

For example, near a window with a sheer curtain is a good spot. This gives the plant enough light without the harshness of direct sun.

If the plant doesn’t get enough light, its growth may slow down. Therefore, finding a balance in lighting is important for the health of your Philodendron Tortum.

If you notice the leaves stretching out or reaching, it might mean they need more light. Make sure to observe your plant and adjust its position as needed to meet its light needs.

Watering Frequency

How often you water your Philodendron Tortum really matters. These plants prefer their soil to stay slightly moist. Generally, you should water them every week, but this can vary.

Check the top inch of the soil; if it feels dry, it’s time to water. Make sure you don’t overdo it though. Too much water can cause the roots to rot.

If you’re unsure, it’s better to water less than to water too much. Your plant will thank you for that extra bit of attention you pay to its watering needs.

Humidity Preferences

The Philodendron Tortum likes a humid environment to thrive. You should aim to keep the air around it moist, but not wet. You can use a spray bottle to mist its leaves or place it near a humidifier.

This plant does well when humidity is between 60% and 80%. In less humid homes, leaves may turn brown at the tips.

So, if your room is dry, you’ll need to help the plant by increasing the humidity around it. Keep an eye on the leaves for signs that it needs more moisture in the air.

Temperature Range

The temperature range indicates the best climate conditions for the Philodendron Tortum to grow. This tropical plant prefers warm temperatures and does not tolerate cold well.

Ideally, you should keep the Philodendron Tortum in an environment where the temperature stays between 65°F to 80°F (18°C to 27°C).

It is important to protect the plant from temperatures below 55°F (13°C), as colder conditions can harm the plant.

By maintaining the right temperature range, you ensure the health and growth of your Philodendron Tortum.

Soil Type & pH Preferences

Philodendron Tortum likes soil that drains water well but still holds some moisture. The soil should not be too heavy or too light. It often prefers a mix of potting soil, peat, and perlite or sand.

The soil’s pH, which measures how acidic or basic it is, should be between 5.1 and 6.0. This range is slightly acidic. Such soil helps the plant take in nutrients well and grow healthy. To get the best growth from your Philodendron Tortum, choose or mix your soil with care.

Growth & Propagation

In the life of a Philodendron Tortum, growth and propagation are vital factors. Growth refers to how the plant increases in size and matures over time.

For the Philodendron Tortum, this happens at a moderate rate. Propagation is the process by which you can create new plants from the original one.

You can propagate the Philodendron Tortum by cutting a piece of the stem or leaf and planting it. The right time to do this is during the plant’s active growth season, typically in the spring or summer.

Proper potting and repotting help the plant grow healthy roots and thrive in its environment.

Growth Rate

The growth rate of a plant tells us how fast it gets bigger. For the Philodendron Tortum, the growth rate is moderate, meaning it does not grow too fast or too slow.

In good conditions, this plant will grow steadily over time. Each new leaf takes time to develop and unfurl. When you care for it well, you will notice new leaves appearing every few weeks.

This growth rate is perfect for someone who wants to see their plant change and develop, but doesn’t want a plant that outgrows its space too quickly.

Propagation Methods

Propagation is a way to create new plants from an existing plant. For the Philodendron Tortum, you can use pieces of the stem or leaves to start a new plant.

You cut a small part of the plant that includes at least one leaf and a few roots or a root node where roots can grow.

Then, you place this piece in water or soil and take care of it until it grows roots and becomes a new, independent plant.

This is like making a copy of the original Philodendron Tortum. It’s a simple way to have more of the plants you love without buying new ones.

Season of Active Growth

The season of active growth refers to the time of year when the Philodendron Tortum grows the most. During this period, the plant will produce new leaves and stems quickly.

For the Philodendron Tortum, this season is usually in the spring and summer. During these warmer months, the plant takes advantage of the longer days and more intense sunlight.

It’s essential to pay extra attention to water, light, and fertilizer during this time, as the plant is using more energy to grow.

However, once fall arrives, the Tortum’s growth will slow down as it enters a resting phase for the winter.

Potting and Repotting Recommendations

When your Philodendron Tortum’s roots fill the pot, it’s time to move it to a larger one. Choose a new pot that’s 2-3 inches wider than the current one.

Use fresh potting mix that drains well to give the roots new space to grow. Repot in spring or early summer so the plant can quickly adjust.

Be gentle when moving your plant to avoid damaging the roots. After repotting, water your Philodendron Tortum evenly to settle the soil around the roots.

Potential Issues

When growing a Philodendron Tortum, you may face some problems. Like other houseplants, the Philodendron Tortum can have pests, diseases, and other issues that can harm it.

Pests like spider mites or mealybugs might attack the plant. Diseases can also affect the Tortum, especially if it’s overwatered.

Lastly, the plant can show signs of distress if it’s not in the right environment. Keep an eye out for these issues to keep your Philodendron Tortum healthy.

Common Pests

The Philodendron Tortum, like many houseplants, can attract certain bugs that feed on it. These unwanted guests are called pests.

They may include:

  • Spider mites: Tiny spider-like bugs that suck the juice from leaves.
  • Mealybugs: Small, white, cottony insects that stick to leaf joints and stems.
  • Scale insects: Look like little bumps on the plant; they also suck sap from the leaves.

These pests can damage your plant by taking nutrients it needs to grow. Keep an eye out for signs of them, like small webs, white fluff, or unusual spots on the leaves.

If you find pests, you will need to take steps to get rid of them to keep your Philodendron Tortum healthy.

Common Diseases

Philodendron Tortum can get sick just like we can. These plants mostly face the threat of root rot, which happens when their roots sit in too much water.

If the leaves get yellow or brown spots, this could be a sign of leaf spot disease, which is caused by fungi or bacteria. Over time, these spots can grow and ruin the leaves.

Another issue is the fungal disease called rust, where small brown or orange spots appear on the leaves.

By keeping your Philodendron Tortum healthy and monitoring the environment, you can usually prevent these diseases.

Other Sensitivities

Philodendron Tortum, like all plants, may have certain dislikes or reactions to the things around it. These reactions are what we call ‘sensitivities.’

They can be to things such as overly harsh sunlight, which could scorch its leaves, or being placed in a drafty area, which might cause it to lose moisture too quickly.

For this plant, it is especially sensitive to overwatering, which can lead to root rot, a serious problem that can harm or even kill the plant.

So, it’s crucial to understand and respect these sensitivities to keep your Philodendron Tortum healthy and thriving.

Special Features & Uses

The Philodendron Tortum has special traits that make it stand out. It shows off with its unique, skeletal-like leaves that are not common in other houseplants.

These distinctive features add a dramatic touch to indoor spaces. Useful as a decorative plant, the Tortum can bring a piece of the tropics into your home.

However, keep in mind that this plant is toxic if ingested, so place it away from pets and children. The Philodendron Tortum can also purify the air, making your living space healthier.

With its striking appearance and practical benefits, it’s a popular choice for plant enthusiasts looking to enhance their collection.

Unique Characteristics

The Philodendron Tortum stands out because of its unusual features. This plant has leaves that look like fingers spreading out from the palm of a hand.

Unlike other philodendrons with solid leaves, the Tortum’s leaves have multiple, deep cuts. This gives them a skeletal appearance that catches the eye.

The plant also has a tall and slender structure, which makes it look elegant. These features make the Philodendron Tortum a unique addition to any plant collection.

Decorative Use

The Philodendron Tortum stands out due to its unique, swirled leaves, making it a favorite for adding a touch of nature’s art to living spaces.

You can place it in a bright room to draw attention or use it as a centerpiece on a table. Its eye-catching form can also uplift a dull corner or be part of a larger plant collection.

Thanks to its elegant appearance, this plant is popular for those who wish to bring a green, tropical feel indoors.

Therefore, its decorative use lies in its ability to enhance the aesthetic of any area it inhabits.


Toxicity refers to how poisonous a plant is. The Philodendron Tortum, like other philodendrons, contains a substance that can be harmful. If someone eats the leaves, they might get sick.

Pets, especially cats and dogs, can also be affected. It’s important to keep the plant out of reach. If you touch the sap, it might irritate your skin. Always wash your hands after handling the plant.

If you think someone or a pet has eaten part of the plant, seek medical help right away. It’s better to be safe and prevent accidents by placing the plant in a spot where it’s not easily accessible.

Additional Tips & Tricks

To keep your Philodendron Tortum healthy and growing well, there are a few extra things you can do. These tips and tricks make caring for your plant easier and more successful.

For example, knowing when to fertilize can give your plant a boost at the right time. Regular pruning helps to keep the plant looking its best and prevents overgrowth.

Using support structures, like stakes or moss poles, allows your Philodendron Tortum to climb and show off its natural beauty.

By following these simple guidelines, you can enjoy a thriving and stunning Philodendron Tortum in your home.

Fertilization Recommendations

Philodendron Tortum needs food just like you do, but in its case, food is fertilizer. Feed your plant with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer every month during spring and summer, which is its growing season.

Cut back on fertilizing in fall and winter, since that’s when the plant grows more slowly. Always follow the instructions on your fertilizer’s label to avoid feeding too much, which could harm the plant. Remember, a little goes a long way.

Pruning & Maintenance

Pruning means cutting off parts of the plant to keep it healthy and looking good. For your Philodendron Tortum, you’ll need to remove any yellow or dead leaves.

Snip them off at the base with clean, sharp scissors. Also, if the plant gets too big, you can trim back some of the older growth. This encourages the plant to grow more leaves and branches.

Do your pruning in the spring or summer, which are the growing seasons for the Tortum. Make sure not to overdo it; only cut what’s necessary.

Taking care of your plant this way keeps it strong and helps it live longer.

Support Structures

Support structures are things you use to help your Philodendron Tortum grow upright. This plant can get quite tall and its stems may need help to stay straight.

You might use stakes, trellises, or moss poles for support. By tying the plant gently to these supports, you ensure it grows the way you want.

Over time, the plant will cling to these structures and use them to pull itself up. This is important because as the Tortum grows, its weight increases.

Without proper support, branches could bend or break. So, adding a support structure is like giving your plant a buddy to lean on as it gets bigger.

Houseplants   Philodendrons   Updated: December 5, 2023
avatar Hi, I'm Amy, a devoted horticulturist and the creator of, where I use my expertise to help beginners foster their green thumbs. My blog is a vibrant community where I unravel the complexities of gardening and share my profound love for nature.
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