How to Care for Split Leaf Philodendron?
Native to the tropical areas of the Americas, the Philodendron genus is a foliage plant that ranks among the top houseplants to own.
It’s a plant known for its purported air purifying capabilities and has impressive foliage that is sure to brighten up a room or office.
These plants are available in two large varieties — climbing and non-climbing — with both the potential to create a little jungle vibe in your home.
Some varieties of Philodendron are extremely dependable and though, others may need a bit more care and attention, but overall these are vigorous plants that are not prone to insect attacks or diseases.
Split Leaf Philodendron Plant Care Tips
Below you can read about my tips for split leaf philodendron (Philodendron Thauatophyllum bipinnatifidum) plant care, and the types of philodendron plants I recommend.
Outdoors, in their natural habitat, these plants can become quite large reaching about 15 feet in length, but indoors, they don’t stretch out that much.
On average, philodendron grow up to 3 feet, reaching even bigger sizes in width.
They’re also deemed as being fast-growing, especially in the wild, in home cultivation, however, it might require some more stimulus to grow.
In nature, you’ll find these plants under tropical canopies, and therefore, you should strive to simulate those kinds of light conditions in indoor cultivation as well.
Philodendron plants will thrive in bright light, almost direct sunlight, but they’ll grow in light shade as well.
You can adjust the light requirements by observing how your plant reacts. If it stretches out, getting too leggy, it means it needs more sun.
If leaves turn yellow, you should reduce the amount of sun the plant receives.
A moist growing medium will allow the plant to develop best, however, you need a well-draining soil that won’t be soggy and won’t allow the plant to soak in water.
Overwatering is a major issue with these plants. It’s easy to go overboard and give it too much water, eventually causing root rot.
Too little water isn’t good either as the plant will droop. Watering may be perhaps one of the more difficult parts of caring for this plant as you’ll need to strike a good balance to prevent issues.
During winter, the plant may need more water, especially in dry, humidity-deprived environments.
Temperature & Humidity
Philodendrons enjoy humid environments and you may need to raise humidity levels around the plant if you live in a dry home or during dry periods.
You can mist the plant regularly (every 2 days in the growing season, every 3-4 days during winter) and place it on a tray of pebbles with water, or group together more plants to increase humidity.
Temperature requirements vary based on philodendron type, but what’s common for all is that these plants don’t like to be kept in temperatures under 55 F.
Philodendrons need lightweight, well-draining, nutritious soil. Soil that is impermeable, prone to compaction or a soil that holds too much water is not recommended for these plants.
Therefore, the all-purpose potting mix will not favor this plant and you’ll need to look for growing media that contains orchid bark, peat, perlite, or sphagnum peat moss.
Good leaf growth and healthy development can be achieved by regularly feeding your philodendron. Weekly liquid fertilizer can be used during the growing season, while in the winter months you should fertilize every 4 weeks or so.
Potting & Repotting
Climbing philodendrons are the fastest growing of this genus and annual repotting may be needed to accommodate the plant. Climbing varieties must be pruned to keep their size manageable.
Self-heading philodendrons need room to grow because some specimens can achieve grandiose heights and widths, and you’ll need a pot that’s sturdy enough to prevent the plant from tipping over. These varieties require repotting whenever the old pot can no longer accommodate the plant.
Split Leaf Philodendron Plant Propagation
Propagation is achieved with the help of stem cuttings, which can be rooted easily in a glass of water, with or without using root hormone.
You can harvest cuttings when pruning your philodendron plant to manage its growth.
As soon as you see roots being established in the glass of water, you can pot up the new plant.
Philodendron varieties that grow upright may shoot out plantlets that can be separated and replanted.
Propagation by seed is not possible since these plants don’t usually flower indoors.
Different Types of Philodendron Plants
I mentioned that there are a few philodendron plant varieties available for indoor cultivation that you might want to check out:
Philodendron Congo Rojo
A self-heading variety, this philodendron received its name from the deep red, unfurling leaves the plant shoots. This is a flowering variety, and its fragrant flowers come in red, white and green.
When leaves mature, they take on a deep burgundy to very dark green color. This is a fast-growing variety that can reach 3 x 3 feet, so make sure to have the space to keep such a plant.
Philodendron Bipinnatifidum is another popular philodendron variety that you will certainly come across in home gardening. It’s easily recognizable for its deeply lobed leaves. It’s also a self-heading variety that becomes more prostrate as it matures.
If you’re looking for a climbing philodendron, this variety is definitely a special one. The melanochrysum produces large, velvety leaves with shades of dark brown or bronze.
Another climber variety for fans of the genre, this philodendron is also known as the ‘sweetheart philodendron’ or the ‘heart-shape philodendron’ because of the shape of the plant’s leaves.
This variety is an aggressive climber that has long, narrow leaves that are highlighted with red. It’s a shade-loving variety that reaches an impressive 60 feet in the wild. If it’s connection with the ground is severed, the plant can even become epiphytic.
There are hundreds of philodendron varieties, and these are just a small ‘selection’ of the most popular varieties. Each philodendron type may come with its own special requirements, so do check these to see if you’re buying a rare specimen or a particularly sensitive one.
How to Prune Split Leaf Philodendrons?
With some varieties of philodendrons becoming massive if their keeping conditions are optimal, pruning can help keep these plants at a reasonable size.
Here are some tips on how to prune philodendrons:
- If you’re not sure your philodendron needs pruning, it probably doesn’t. Wait for it to grow a bit more.
- If the plant is taking up too much space in your home or it’s too leggy, cutting back on it will improve its appearance.
- You should choose spring or fall to carry out any pruning work on your philodendron plant, but you can remove yellow leaves and spindly growth at any time during the year.
- Use sterilized pruning tools, or simply pinch off veins of climbing plant varieties.
- Oldest, longest stems, leggy stems, or stems with lots or dead or yellowing leaves should take precedence over other leaves.
- Make sure to pinch or cut above the leaf node.
As you can see, it’s not difficult to prune philodendrons and depending on your variety, you may not even have to do it often.
Split Leaf Philodendron FAQs
Have some burning questions about philodendrons? Check the FAQs below to see if you find your answer:
Are Split Leaf Philodendrons Toxic Plants?
Yes, all philodendron varieties are toxic to humans, cats and dogs because of the high oxalate crystal content, which irritates mucous membranes and causes digestive issues.
If you have pets or small children avoid keeping your philodendron plant where your pets or kids may reach them.
If you suspect that your child or pet has ingested the plant, make sure to seek medical advice immediately.
Is Artificial Light Good for Split Leaf Philodendrons?
Low light conditions aren’t an issue for most philodendrons, and they can develop nicely under artificial lighting conditions too. Fluorescent lights and halogen lights may be the best options for philodendrons when it comes to artificial lighting.
Do Split Leaf Philodendrons Live Long?
Yes, philodendron plants have a lifespan of around 10 years, which does count as long when it comes to houseplant life expectancy.
Are Split Leaf Philodendrons Vulnerable to Diseases?
For the most part, philodendrons are not more vulnerable to diseases than other houseplants, but they do get the occasional issues stemming from a poor watering schedule, or exposure to pests such as mealybugs, scale, white fly, and aphids.
Adjusting your watering regimen and recognizing the early signs of disease will help you avoid any serious damage to your plants.
Philodendrons are widely available, popular houseplants that don’t require too much maintenance, but you must know how to offer them optimal care.
What’s more, these plants are immediately noticeable regardless of the variety of your choice. Not to mention that there is an abundance of varieties, allowing you to pick the one that best matches your current needs.
Philodendrons are plants that will grow and spread if they’re offered the right conditions, so a little pruning here and there may be needed to keep the plant at a manageable size.
My split leaf has a “trunk” where new leaf branches grow out from the top… you stated some live as long as 10 years.. mine is in excess of 45 years… I had it split and re-potted into two pots 10 years ago.. one died this past year .. would like to save the remaining one…. my question; the “trunk” portion has lifted from the soil and is supported the “runners” (which are many and fill the pot) The trunk is approx. 15″ the runners begin about a third of the way down…. where can I and what can I cut to re-pot/plant without hurting the plant?
I also have a 40 year old plant that needs to be split. I have exactly the same question as you do. Too bad there’s no expert reply!