With over 489 known species, philodendrons are popular among beginner and expert gardeners due to their low maintenance and astonishing display of intricate leaves. As they are native to tropical regions, they can survive outdoors in warmer climates with higher humidity. Mostly they prefer low to bright indirect light, and thrive well as indoor houseplants. A well-drained, rich, lightweight soil is perfect for this plant.
Philodendrons are also well known for their air filtering property. Their magnificent leaves not only add beauty to a room or garden but also absorb pollutants from the air, mainly formaldehyde, releasing fresh, clean oxygen. There are two types of philodendrons:
i) Upright Philodendrons: They have an upright growth habit, bearing large, split leaves. They are slow-growing.
ii) Philodendron Vines: They grow several feet, usually requiring some support structure to climb on, such as a trellis. Mostly they have heart-shaped leaves and grow fast.
Following are some popular types of philodendrons:
Formerly called Scandens, Oxycardium, or Cordatum, this Philodendron type is known for its signature heart-shaped leaves that are a wonder to admire. Its fast-growing leaves emerge bronze and then quickly turn into glossy green. Its leaves are usually 2 to 3 inches wide and can grow to over 8 inches if allowed to climb. This Caribbean and South American native is a classic trailing beginner’s plant, as it is one of the easiest plants to grow. It makes up a beautiful hanging plant with vines that reach 4 or 5 feet indoors.
Height: 10-20 feet
Commonly known as pink princess or blushing philodendron, this climber is native to Colombia. It sports reddish-purple stems and variegated waxy leaves that are black or dark green with pink. The large coppery foliage is its most distinctive feature. This indoor plant adds a flash of color to a home or office. The plant does best in loamy, nutrient-rich, well-drained soil. In early summer and late spring, it blooms into deep red, fragrant spathes, which are up to 6 inches long.
Height/Spread: 8-10 feet/1.5-2 feet
Native to South America, this is a hybrid of the common Heartleaf Philodendron. This upright, clump-forming variety stands out with broad, pointed fluorescent, lime-green foliages that can brighten up any corner of a house. The smooth and glossy juvenile leaves unfurl in a sunny yellow hue, which gradually darken with age. Also, its newly grown shoots bear shades of red. This easy-to-grow plant blooms into a 5″ inch white spadix, which almost wholly remain surrounded by a pink to red spathe. It has a fairly long bloom time, a month or more.
Height/Spread: 1.5-2 feet/1.5-2 feet
It is a cultivar of philodendron, having elongated oval-shaped large leaves in various shades of red, burgundy, and dark green. The leaves grow so close to each other that the single stem becomes almost invisible. It thrives well in warm environments and has a bushy, shrub-like appearance.
Height/Spread: 1-2 feet/2-3 feet
Commonly known as Xanadu or cut-leaf philodendron, this medium-sized variant beautifies any garden with its thick, green foliage with ruffled edges. Also, its leaves are split, having deep lobes. It’s an upright variety that grows well only indoors. It is a moderate to fast-growing plant that boasts a central trunk with huge stems. This upright Brazil native requires spacious places where it can thrive to all sides.
Height/Spread: 3-4 feet/4-5 feet
It’s an upright small shrub-type hybrid cultivar that produces a tight cluster of leaves around a central stem. Its broad and spear-shaped leaves emerge in an appealing shade of orange and later turn light green as they mature. This color combination gives the plant a stunning appearance, with large pointed leaves of different shades growing together.
Height/Spread: 1-2 feet/ 2-3 feet
Also known as lacy leaf Philodendron, split-leaf philodendron, horsehead philodendron, cut-leaf philodendron, fiddle-leaf philodendron, or Philodendron selloum, it is native to the tropical regions of South America. This large and showy philodendron variety features dark green leaves with frilled edges. Similar to Philodendron xanadu, it also has large, shiny, waxy, deeply lobed leaves. As the plant matures, its leaves become huge and start drooping. So, a gardener will need a good amount of space to grow this upright variant. It performs best in loamy, moist, well-drained soil.
Height/Spread: 10-15 feet/8-10 feet
It is a variegated type, which is a cultivar of the heartleaf philodendron. As it is derived from heartleaf philodendron, it also displays heart-shaped leaves that have mesmerizing center strips of lime-green with randomly scattered yellow splotches. Its brightly-colored leaves contrast with the pinkish-green stems, which further glorifies its beauty. Bright indirect light keeps the foliage vibrant of this fast-growing vine. However, in low light, it can revert to all-green. So, make sure to keep a check on its light requirement.
Height/Spread: 2-3 feet/1-3 feet
Endemic to Ecuador, this rare and exotic variety is admired by gardeners due to its rough patterned surface of its thick foliage that sets it apart from other philodendrons. It is commonly called the pigskin plant due to its thick leathery leaves. Its leathery appearance and bright green color often confuse people, giving them an appearance like a plastic plant. Moreover, it can be grown both indoors and outdoors. When grown indoors, the leaves tend to achieve a blue-green tone.
Height/Spread: 10-12 feet/12-15 feet
Also known as the silver-striped philodendron is loved by gardeners due to its unique variegation. It’s each olive-colored leaf attracts attention with its magnetic pattern of wide, silvery bands in between veins. This fast-growing, low-maintenance, and bushy cascading vine can be a good tabletop centerpiece for any room or office desk.
Height: 4-5 feet
This vining philodendron has thick stems with small, shiny, green, heart-shaped leaves. Its glossy leaves look as if they are made of rubber. Though this pant is easy to care for, you need to be patient with it as it grows slow compared to other philodendron species.
Height: 2-3 feet
This upright variant sports striking white stripes on its green leaves. Its distinctive variegation has a striking radial pattern, which creates variation in its foliage, giving every leaf a somewhat different appearance. It is as low-maintenance as most other types, but it’s not fast-growing. This variety is susceptible to root rot, so ensure it has well-draining soil.
Height/Spread: 2-3 feet/1-2 feet
It is a trailing vine featuring heart-shaped leaves, covered in a tiny layer of hairs, giving them a velvety appearance and a stunning iridescent hue. The foliage looks different according to how the light hits it, ranging from dark to light green or even bronze. The juvenile leaves are pinkish-purple, with rust-colored undersides and a velvety texture. However, as the leaves mature, they become smooth. This low-maintenance, fast-growing variant is native to Mexico, the Caribbean, and Southern USA.
Height/Spread: 6-8 feet/1-3 feet
It produces an abundance of elongated, heart-shaped, narrow, shiny green leaves with deep lobes marked with pale veining. The eye-catching leaves of this low-growing shrub are glossy and full of texture, and its stem is red. Though it is an indoor plant, but in outdoors, it can also act as a groundcover in warmer climates. This variant is named after Roberto Burle Marx, the first architect to use native plants in modern landscape designs.
Height/Spread: 1-2 feet/2-3 feet
Also known as spade leaf philodendron or burgundy philodendron, this variant is famous for its huge, arrow-shaped glossy leaves and bold vein patterns. Its leaves are blue-gray during the initial growth period and then change to gray-green. A mature leaf of this plant can be 56 cm long and 23 cm wide. This plant may produce spathes that are green externally while deep pink-red within, having a green border. It grows best in well-drained sandy soil.
Height/Spread: 1-8 feet/1-6 feet
This low-maintenance Columbian native showcases enormous heart-shaped leaves. Emerging leaves unfurl with delicate pink veins that fade with maturity. The mature deep green velvety foliage has pinkish margins and contrasting pale green, white, or pinkish veins, reaching three feet wide. It features the largest leaves from philodendron varieties, so you will require plenty of space to grow this variant.
Height/Spread: 2-3 feet/3-4 feet
Best Vining Philodendrons (Hanging or Trailing): Heartleaf Philodendron, Brasil Philodendron, Brandi Philodendron
Best Non-climbing Philodendrons: Philodendron martianum, Philodendron gloriosum, Philodendron ‘Wendlandii’
Best Outdoor Philodendrons: Philodendron bipennifolium, Philodendron ‘Moonlight’, Philodendron ‘Congo Rojo’
Rarest philodendrons: Philodendron hastatum ‘Silver Sword’, Philodendron erubescens ‘Pink Princess’, Philodendron mamei
Ans. Philodendrons are mild to moderately poisonous to cats and dogs. If ingested, it may irritate their digestive tract, cause pain and swelling of mouth, tongue, and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing.
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