Caring for philodendrons – worth knowing about the tree friend

The philodendron, also called tree friend, is popular and well known. For generations, the evergreen houseplants have delighted people with their decorative leaves and easy care. In addition to upright varieties, there are climbing species that need a moss stick for support. Many a tree will be climbed at home, which is also where the name tree friend comes from. The philodendron species differ mainly in the color of the leaves, the growth character and the size of the foliage. However, care instructions are the same for each member of the family.

Worth knowing Location Care Watering Fertilizing RepottingTypes of pests & diseases FAQ

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Interesting facts about Philodendron

Botanical name: Philodendron scandens and other species
Other names: tree friend, philodendron
Use: houseplant, interior greening, room climate plant, decorative foliage plant, conservatory plant, ideal for the bathroom, solitary plant
Origin: South America
Flower: rare, smells unpleasant
Special features: mostly green, sometimes with a reddish underside, decorative, robust and easy to care for

In which location does the tree lover feel most comfortable?

The popular green plant prefers a partially shaded to light location without direct sunlight. A place facing east or west without drafts is ideal. In contrast to other indoor plants, the genus Philodendron also thrives in dark locations. The aroid prefers temperatures of 18 to 22 degrees Celsius and high humidity all year round. A heated conservatory or a living room is well suited. At higher temperatures, the substrate dries faster and maintenance becomes more complex.

Our gardening tip: The tree friend also thrives with little light and in places that are too dark or shady for many other indoor plants. Direct sunlight damages the easy-care houseplant.

How do I properly care for my philodendron?

Hardly anything can go wrong when it comes to philodendron care. Therefore, this plant — just like artificial green plants — is ideal for everyone without a «green thumb». Apart from the right location and even soil moisture, there is little to consider. The species grown as a climbing plant usually requires a climbing aid. In the wild, the species climbs up tree trunks with the help of aerial roots. Sometimes a moss stick is sufficient, on which the Philodendron scandens is guided upwards. You can also easily tie the shoots to support them. The aerial roots serve to absorb nutrients and moisture from the air and should not be cut off. With a sprinkleof the leaves with a spray bottle you increase the humidity and the infestation of pests is minimized. Small plants can be sprayed with a gentle jet once a month in the shower. Wipe off the dust on large plants with a damp cloth. Copies that are too large are cut and shortened in spring.

Our care tip: In older specimens, the lower leaves turn yellow and brown over time. Either you cut these off or wait for them to fall off on their own.

How do I water my tree friend properly?

All philodendron species require consistent soil moisture. However, it is important that waterlogging never occurs. It is therefore advisable to pour off the water that is still in the saucer 15 minutes after watering. The need is not that high, so watering every 3 to 5 days is sufficient. You can dip smaller plants once a week. Here you place the houseplant in a bucket filled with water and immerse the plant until no more air bubbles rise. By dipping, the root ball is evenly moist and the plant is well cared for. How often you have to water depends on the room temperature, the radiation, the root penetration and the variety.

Care tip: Spraying is recommended, especially if the heating air is dry in winter. Use water with as little lime as possible. Yellow leaves are usually a result of too much moisture.

How do I fertilize my philodendron?

A special indoor plant fertilizer for green plants is ideal for fertilizing Philodendron scandens. This contains important growth and vital substances and thus helps the plant to form new foliage. Fertilize the aroid weekly from March to October and once a month in winter. Make sure that the soil is not too dry when fertilizing, otherwise damage to the roots can occur. Fertilizing with fertilizer sticks is easy to handle. With this convenient long-term fertilization, your plant is supplied with all the necessary nutrients, minerals and trace elements for 3 months.

How do I repot my tree friend?

Depending on the size, it is advisable to repot your Philodendron scandens every 1 to 2 years. To do this, use high-quality potting soil for green plants with a pH value of 5.5 to 6. This potting soil is loose, structurally stable and specially tailored to the needs of the species. If possible, transplant in the spring and choose a pot that is 5 to 8 cm larger in diameter than the previous container. For better drainage, put a layer of expanded clay on the bottom of the pot. It is also important for stability that you regularly provide the houseplant with a larger pot.

Tip: Repotting means less maintenance work, since the new substrate can store more moisture and the conditions for the roots are better. This is especially helpful in the summer heat. Avoid repotting in winter. With less light and heating air, there shouldn’t be any major changes for the plants.

Which philodendron species and varieties are there?

Over 600 different varieties are known worldwide. Basically, Philodendron is divided into

  • upright species

climbing philodendron species.

Upright Types:

Philodendron xanadu (see picture)

  • impresses with its special appearance
  • compact growth
  • Trunks appear rough
  • Leaves dark green and serrated

Philodendron selloum

  • large leaves grow up to 90 cm long
  • develops dense rosettes on the short trunk

Climbing Philodendron:

Philodendron scandens (see picture)

  • most represented species
  • shiny leaves
  • climbs up to 6 m high in the tropical rainforests of Central America and Mexico
  • Indoors, it can reach a height of 2 to 3 m.

Philodendron erubescens

  • decorative variant
  • Leaves are about 40 cm long and 20 cm wide
  • Underside copper-colored

Glossy green above

What pests and diseases can the philodendron?

Basically, the robust green plants are insensitive in the optimal location. Too much sun will result in brown leaves. If the foliage is yellow, there may be a lack of fertilizer or the plant has not had enough water. The following pests can occur:

spider mites

An infestation with spider mites can occur, especially when the air is dry in winter. The foliage has silvery dots on the upper side and webs are visible on the underside of the leaves. It is usually sufficient to spray the plants with water and treat them with plant strengtheners. These organic active agents contain natural plant extracts that contribute to the vitalization of the plant. Improve conditions, especially during the winter months. Spray regularly with lime-free water to increase the humidity.

scale insects

There are brown, slightly curved knobs in the leaf axils. The scale insects are safely hidden under these protective shields and are therefore difficult to combat. As soon as you discover the infestation, you should wipe off the scale insects or cut back the plant. The pests can be controlled biologically with oil-based agents. It is important that the application is carried out several times.

FAQ — Frequently asked questions about Tree Friend

How is propagation possible?

The best way to propagate the Baumfreund houseplant is to take cuttings. It is best to cut the shoot tips in spring and put them in potting soil. It is important for the exotic plants that there is high humidity up to the rooting. Blazing sun should be avoided during propagation. The young plants love the tropical climate without direct sun. Propagation by seeds is possible, but rare.

Are philodendrons poisonous?

The milky sap contained in Baumfreund can cause skin irritation. It is therefore advisable to wear gloves when cutting. The houseplant should also not be within reach of small children or pets, as eating it can cause nausea and vomiting.

Is hydroponics possible?

The indoor plants grow particularly well as hydro plants. It is important that the water level indicator is always at the minimum. Too much water damages the plant.

What is the difference between Monstera and Tree Friend?

Both plants are native to the jungle in South America and are classic green plants. Both varieties belong to the aroid family (Araceae). Monstera species are exclusively climbing plants. Philodendrons come in climbing and upright forms. The adult leaf of the Monstera is always deeply dissected and often perforated. Philodendron leaves have a variety of shapes. There are lance-shaped or egg-shaped variants.

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