Split Leaf Philodendron Species Profile & Care Guide

Split leaf Philodendron is a tropical plant known for its large, ornamental foliage. Native to rainforests, it’s a favorite among indoor gardeners for its adaptability and low maintenance needs.

This species is a versatile addition to your home, adding aesthetic appeal while being easy to nurture. Learn more about this stunning plant’s profile and care guide.

Split Leaf Philodendron

Profile Overview

The Split Leaf Philodendron is a notable houseplant loved for its unique foliage. Here is a quick profile summary of this fascinating species:

  • Common Name: Split Leaf Philodendron
  • Scientific Name: Monstera deliciosa
  • Family: Araceae
  • Origin/Native Region: The tropical rainforests of Central and South America
  • Growth Habit: It’s an epiphytic evergreen plant meaning it grows along tree trunks, branches or buildings, absorbing moisture from the surrounding environment. The plant grows vigorously, producing large, heart-shaped leaves with deep cuts, which give it the “split-leaf” appearance. You can expect this plant to climb or trail, depending on the growing conditions and support provided.


The Split Leaf Philodendron, also known as Monstera deliciosa, has a truly unique look that easily distinguishes it from other houseplants. Its leaves are rich, deep green, large, and glossy with distinct split detailing.

The maturity and health of the plant dictate the number and depth of these splits called fenestrations.

Perhaps one of its most distinctive features is its aerial roots, which reach out from the main stem and can give this plant a truly wild and jungle-like appearance.

If supported appropriately, these roots help the plant climb and offer an engaging vertical element to your indoor or outdoor green spaces.

Leaf Size

The split leaf philodendron, also known as the Monstera deliciosa, is famous for its large, glossy, and heart-shaped leaves.

These spectacular leaves can grow up to 3 feet long and 2 feet wide in optimal outdoor conditions, making this an impressive addition to any indoor garden or outdoor landscape in warmer climates.

Indoors, where space and light are more limited, the leaves typically reach a size of 12-18 inches. The scale of the leaves is one of the distinguishing features of this plant and contributes significantly to its tropical appeal.

Leaf Shape

The Split Leaf Philodendron, also known as Monstera deliciosa, is renowned for its distinctive leaf shape. The leaves are large, glossy, and heart-shaped when young but develop iconic split patterns and holes, known as fenestrations, as they age.

The perforations serve a crucial role, allowing light to reach the plant’s lower leaves and increase photosynthesis.

The leaf’s architectural quality, marked by deep cuts and perforations that create an ‘open’ appearance, has made the Split Leaf Philodendron a beloved decorative houseplant worldwide.

Allowing the plant ample climbing space will further encourage larger, more intricate leaf patterns.

Leaf Color

The Split Leaf Philodendron stands out primarily because of its striking leaf color. This plant typically boasts a spectacular, deep green color, which brings refreshing tropical vibes to your indoor & outdoor spaces.

The leaf’s surface is glossy, which further adds to its splashy display. Pale or yellow leaves could indicate an issue with lighting or watering.

The leaf veins running through the surfaces add more depth and vibrancy to these plants’ overall appearance.

It’s this rich leaf coloration that gives the Split Leaf Philodendron an exotic and remarkably cozy feel, perfect for transforming your space into a tropical retreat.

Stem Characteristics

The stem of a Split Leaf Philodendron is a vital part of its architecture. It is robust, sturdy, and capable of supporting the large, dramatic leaves that characterize the species.

Typically green or dark green in color, the stem grows in a diagonal or upright manner depending on the specific subspecies and environmental conditions.

Whereas some stems might be entirely smooth, others display small notches where leaves were previously attached.

It’s important to remember that the stem forms an essential part of the plant’s water and nutrient transport system, thus requiring good care and consideration.

Mature Size

The mature size of the Split Leaf Philodendron can vary greatly depending on its growing conditions. In its native tropical environment, it’s not uncommon for this plant to reach up to 15 feet high and wide.

However, in a household setting, it typically ranges from 6 to 10 feet in both height and width. It should be noted that these are average sizes and actual growth will depend on various factors such as pot size, lighting conditions, watering frequency, and overall care.

This plant’s large size and impressive foliage make it a striking addition to any indoor plant collection.

Care Requirements

Caring for your Split Leaf Philodendron involves careful attention to its light needs, watering frequency, humidity preferences, temperature range, and soil type & pH preferences.

Each of these factors can greatly impact the growth and overall health of your plant. It’s crucial to understand these needs and provide the appropriate care.

Below, we delve into more detail for each of these care requirements so you can confidently take the best care of your Split Leaf Philodendron.

Understanding and applying this care guide will ensure your plant remains robust, flourishes, and continues to enhance the sense of freshness and beauty in your space.

Light Needs

Split Leaf Philodendron prefers a medium to bright indirect light but can tolerate low light conditions. However, the plant may become leggy and lack the rich color of its leaves if the light is insufficient.

Too much direct sunlight can cause the foliage to burn. Ideal placement would be in a well-lit room, with the plant situated several feet away from the window to avoid direct sun.

But remember, your Philodendron loves bright spaces, so as long as you keep it out of direct sunlight, it can handle a lot of light.

Watering Frequency

Watering frequency plays a crucial role in the health and development of your Split Leaf Philodendron. While it longs for a humid environment, it doesn’t mean you should keep the soil saturated all the time.

This plant prefers evenly moist but well-draining soil. As a rule of thumb, you should wait until the top inch of soil becomes dry before watering again.

Remember, overwatering can lead to root rot, so it’s often better to err on the side of under-watering.

During the winter season, when the plant growth slows, reducing watering frequency is advisable.

Humidity Preferences

Split Leaf Philodendron thrives best in high humidity levels, imitating its original tropical rainforest habitat. Ideally, the humidity should be above 40%.

If you’re growing it indoors especially in dry climate zones, you may need to use a humidifier or place it on a humidity tray. Additionally, regular misting with soft water can help maintain the humidity levels around the plant.

However, be cautious of excessive water as it can lead to fungal diseases. Remember, consistent high humidity rather than intermittent dry and wet periods is more beneficial for your Split Leaf Philodendron.

Temperature Range

Split Leaf Philodendron prefers a consistently warm environment. The optimal temperature range for this species is between 65°F (18°C) and 80°F (27°C).

It can tolerate slight drops below this range but prolonged exposure to cooler temperatures can stunt its growth and lead to leaf dropping.

It’s not frost tolerant and thus should be kept indoors in a controlled temperature environment, particularly in cooler climates.

Any sudden temperature fluctuations can also stress the plant, so avoid placing it near air conditioners, heaters, or drafty windows. With the right temperature, this tropical houseplant can thrive beautifully.

Soil Type & pH Preferences

Split leaf philodendrons prefer well-drained, peaty soils with a pH ranging from 6.0 to 7.0. This plant thrives in nutrient-rich soils that can retain a certain level of moisture without becoming waterlogged.

The ideal soil should be rich in organic matter, providing the nutrients required for growth and maintaining a slightly acidic pH level. If the soil is too alkaline, it hampers the plant’s ability to absorb necessary nutrients, leading to the yellowing of leaves.

Regular testing of soil pH is recommended to maintain the health of a Split leaf philodendron.

Growth & Propagation

The Split Leaf Philodendron showcases a moderate to fast growth rate, particularly during its season of active growth – the warmer months of spring and summer.

It propagates effectively through stem cuttings and air layering. When potting and repotting, ensure to use a roomy container that facilitates growth and carefully manage the root system.

Schedule repotting preferably during the plant’s growth period. It’s crucial to understand the specificities related to each of these aspects to ensure the best growing condition for your Split Leaf Philodendron.

Growth Rate

The Split Leaf Philodendron, known scientifically as Monstera deliciosa, has a moderate to fast growth rate. This tropical plant species can grow several inches within a month, particularly during its growing season in spring and summer.

However, its growth pace might fluctuate based on the care it receives. Adequate indirect sunlight, regulated watering, and proper soil conditions can all enhance your Philodendron’s growth.

Conversely, substandard care may lead to stunted growth. Remember that while it’s exciting to see your plant flourish quickly, controlled growth often leads to a healthier, longer-lived specimen.

Propagation Methods

For Split Leaf Philodendron, the common propagation method involves stem cuttings. This approach is quite simple and highly effective.

You will need to cut a section from the parent plant ideally containing one or two aerial roots, as these will assist in developing the new plant quickly.

Afterwards, place the cutting into fresh soil or water and allow roots to start developing. Once a sufficient root system is established, you can repot the cutting into a larger pot or directly into your garden.

However, patience is required as the process requires a few weeks to ensure robust growth.

Season of Active Growth

The season of active growth for your Split Leaf Philodendron usually falls between spring and early fall.

During these warm months, your plant will make the most of the available sunlight, humidity, and warmth to develop new leaves and deepen its root system.

However, it is crucial to remember that indoor environments can significantly influence these seasons. As long as the conditions simulate its tropical native region, your Philodendron can continue growing year-round.

Paying attention to the plant’s growth phases can greatly enhance your care strategy and help your Split Leaf Philodendron thrive.

Potting and Repotting Recommendations

The Split Leaf Philodendron prefers to be slightly root bound, so allow them to fill their pot before considering repotting. When you decide it’s time to repot, choose a container that’s only 2-3 inches larger in diameter than the previous one.

This prevents oversaturated soil, which can lead to root rot. Use a pot with excellent drainage, and be sure to repot with fresh, well-draining soil—ideally a mix designed for indoor tropical plants.

Try to repot your Philodendron in the late winter or early spring, just before the plant begins its most vigorous time of growth.

Potential Issues

Taking care of your Split Leaf Philodendron doesn’t come without its potential challenges. Just like any living thing, this plant species is prone to certain health problems and sensitivities.

Understanding these potential issues not only helps in maintaining its overall health, but also contributes greatly in creating an optimal growing environment.

In this section, you’ll learn about the common pests and diseases that could affect your plant, as well as its other sensitivities. Identifying these issues early on can prevent long-term damage and ensure the longevity and vitality of your Split Leaf Philodendron.

Common Pests

The Split Leaf Philodendron can be attractive to a variety of pests. The most common ones include Mealybugs, Aphids, Spider Mites, and Scale Insects.

Mealybugs appear as white cottony masses on the underside of the leaves. Aphids are tiny, green, soft-bodied pests that may also be found on the undersides of leaves.

Spider Mites are microscopic and can cause yellowing or browning of the leaves. Scale Insects appear as tiny bumps on stems and leaves.

These pests can be managed by regular cleaning of the plant’s leaves and using insecticidal soaps or neem oil treatments when necessary. Regular inspections of your plant can help catch these pests early.

Common Diseases

Split Leaf Philodendron can be prone to specific diseases, especially when in stressful conditions or inappropriate care is provided.

The most common diseases include leaf spot diseases, blight, and rot. Leaf spot diseases cause spots to appear on leaves, which can lead to discoloration. Blight is more severe, causing general wilting, browning, and potential loss of the plant.

Additionally, both root rot and bacterial wilt can occur when the plant is overwatered, creating a soggy environment that encourages bacterial growth.

It’s essential to monitor your plant continually for the first signs of these diseases, to prevent severe damage and protect your Philodendron’s health.

Other Sensitivities

The Split Leaf Philodendron is relatively robust but isn’t completely immune to certain sensitivities. For instance, the plant can sometimes react negatively to over-fertilization, causing leaf burn or discoloration.

It’s sensitive to cold and drafty conditions, and it also doesn’t fare well when exposed to direct sunlight for prolonged periods. Prolonged water-logging can also cause the roots to become susceptible to rot.

It’s important to be aware of such sensitivities while caring for a Split Leaf Philodendron plant to ensure that it thrives and flourishes. Providing the proper growing conditions can help to prevent most of these issues.

Special Features & Uses

Split Leaf Philodendron is not just an ordinary houseplant. It holds remarkable features that distinguish it from other plant species and makes it highly desirable for many plant enthusiasts.

Unique Characteristics

The Split Leaf Philodendron carries its own unique set of characteristics that vividly distinguish it from other houseplants.

Firstly, it is known for its impressive, large, deeply lobed, and heart-shaped leaves presenting a tropical aesthetic. Secondly, it possesses aerial roots for supporting its sizeable structure. Thirdly, it is an epiphyte that is capable of absorbing nutrients from its surrounding air and rain rather than relying solely on the soil.

Not to mention, a mature Split Leaf Philodendron may also produce intriguing, white spathe flowers. Its resilience to occasional neglect and adaptability to low light conditions is another striking characteristic.

Decorative Use

The Split Leaf Philodendron is one of the most sought-after plants for decorative purposes due to its dramatic, tropical presence. Its large fan-like leaves add an exotic touch to any indoor or outdoor landscape.

People often use it to accent living rooms, patios, or low-light offices. Moreover, it works splendidly as a centerpiece in garden exterior design due to its tropical aesthetic.

Its air-purifying characteristics also improve the indoor air quality, adding another perk to its decorative use. Hence, whether you want to accentuate your interior décor or uplift your green space, the Split Leaf Philodendron is a brilliant choice.


The Split Leaf Philodendron is as beautiful as it is toxic. It contains calcium oxalate crystals which can be harmful if ingested by humans or pets.

Chewing or biting into this plant can cause a burning, itching sensation in the mouth, tongue, and throat. Swallowing any part of the plant can lead to nausea, vomiting, and increased salivation.

Also, exposure to the plant’s sap can cause skin irritation. Therefore, it’s advisable to keep this plant out of reach of children and pets. If any manipulation is necessary, wear protective gloves to avoid skin irritation.

Additional Tips & Tricks

In caring for your Split Leaf Philodendron, there are also a few additional guidelines that can enable it to thrive.

Fertilization Recommendations

Split Leaf Philodendron benefits greatly from periodic fertilizing. It’s recommended to use a balanced, water-soluble indoor plant fertilizer and apply it every Six to Eight weeks throughout the active growth period, usually from early spring to late summer.

Avoid fertilizing during the dormant winter period. Consequently, a weaker solution is advisable – half the strength given on the product instructions can do the work.

Be mindful not to over-fertilize, as this could damage the roots and create a crusty fertilizer buildup on top of the soil, leading to leaf burn.

Pruning & Maintenance

Pruning and maintenance play significant roles in keeping your Split Leaf Philodendron healthy and attractive. When you notice dead or yellowed leaves, use a sharp, clean pair of pruning shears to remove them, reducing the risk of disease.

Additionally, if the plant becomes too large for your liking, you can prune it back to an appropriate size; however, always make the cuts above a leaf node.

As for maintenance, wiping the leaves periodically with a damp cloth helps to keep them clean and strengtens their ability to photosynthesize, further enhancing the plant’s overall health.

Remember, less is more when it comes to pruning this plant species.

Support Structures

Split Leaf Philodendron is a climbing species that grows well with support structures. Due to its vining nature, it can independently climb up trees, poles, or trellises.

If grown indoors, it is advantageous to arrange a moss stick or cage-like structure for support. It attaches to these structures using adventitious roots that emerge from the nodes along its stem.

Without a proper support structure, your Philodendron may become unwieldy or not grow to its full potential.

Always ensure the support is sturdy and tall enough to accommodate your plant’s potential size. Providing adequate support promotes healthier and more naturalistic growth.

Philodendrons   Updated: November 1, 2023
avatar Hi, I'm Amy, a devoted horticulturist and the creator of PlantIndex.com, 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.
Questions and Answers
Morris Fick August 24, 2020 Reply

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!

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