Philodendron selloum looks very fascinating because of its deeply dissected leaves and it is increasingly becoming an inhabitant of our homes. To be successful with this plant you need to know some information presented here.
Tips to keep Philodendron selloum healthy
- Water Philodendron selloum when the soil in the pot is 1-2 inches dry
- Provide 6 hours of bright indirect sunlight per day
- Plant Philodendron selloum in drained soil with a pH of 7.0
- Maintain a room temperature of 60-75°F (16-24°C)
- Spray Philodendron selloum with neem oil in case of an insect infestation
- Increase humidity to 70-80% to get good results
- Fertilize your Philodendron selloum once every 1-2 months during the growing season with liquid aroid fertilizer
Philodendron selloum needs at least 4-6 hours of indirect but very bright sunlight. This predisposition comes from the way it grows and the environment. Large trees are usually a screen from the direct sun for this plant.
On the other hand, this species of philodendron is better adapted to the direct sun than others. It can tolerate a few hours of the direct sun filtered by window glass, but no more. If you place it outside in the scorching rays, it will get burnt.
To grow Philodendron selloum successfully, place it against an east or west window. Another good location would be to the side of a south-facing window or in the back of a south-facing room. Avoid placing it very close to the window glass as this can damage the leaves.
If there is not enough light, the plant will elongate and become weak. The color may change to a darker or paler color. To remedy the lack of light, install additional artificial light.
Philodendron selloum needs soil that is always partially moist. This means that it should be watered when the top 1-2 inches of soil dries out, but the rest of the soil should remain slightly moist but not wet. This species needs slightly more moist soil than other philodendrons because it is native to very humid areas.
Before watering, test the soil moisture with your finger or a moisture meter. If the soil on top is a little dry (1-2 inches), water it slowly to soak up all parts of the soil. The excess should come out through the drainage holes. After watering, remove excess water from the saucer.
In late fall and winter, reduce watering to a minimum. The soil in the pot should dry out 2 to 3 inches or more. During the winter months, the plant is dormant and does not need much water.
Always be careful as too much watering can end in root rot. If this happens, the leaves will turn yellow and become deformed. Root rot must be treated immediately, otherwise, you might lose the plant.
Philodendron selloum likes light, neutral, or slightly alkaline soil. If the soil is acidic, the plant may react badly. For this reason, you should not use acidic peat to grow this plant.
Also, you should make sure that the soil is drained, which means that the water should not stagnate for a long time. Stagnant water almost always leads to root rot. In the case of Philodendron selloum, it likes slightly moist soil, but not wet feet.
To get the right soil mix you need to mix one part potting soil with one part sterile compost and add perlite to it. You can also get a good result by adding bark. Or you can use commercial aroid potting soil, which is also a good alternative.
The pot should always be slightly bigger than the root system of the philodendron. Do not use pots that are too large as this will result in too much moist soil around the roots. Once the roots have reached the size of the pot, transplant the plant into a pot 2 inches larger than the previous one. Make sure the new container has at least 4 large drainage holes.
Philodendron selloum needs to be fertilized once every 1-2 months. This nutrient requirement is since indoor cultivation the plant does not get all that it gets in its native environment.
Philodendron selloum can be noticeably stunted if it does not receive enough fertilizer. In addition, the leaves may turn yellow and become deformed.
The first source of nutrition for Philodendron selloum is the soil. So use only a nutrient mix with plenty of organic matter (compost).
The next thing you need to do is to water the plant with a water-soluble fertilizer with a balanced NPK formula. Usually one fertilization every 1.5 months is enough. Start in spring and continue in summer. The last fertilizing should be done no later than the first half of autumn.
Sometimes the plant might not get enough iron and the leaves will turn yellow with green veins. This is called chlorosis. To solve the problem, water the philodendron with chelated iron.
Avoid fertilizing too often as this will accumulate a lot of salts in the soil and could damage the roots. As a result, the whole plant will look terrible and you will have to report it in new soil.
Philodendron selloum will thrive in temperatures of 70-85°F (21-26°C). These are the conditions found in the tropics where this philodendron came from. In most homes, this temperature is not too difficult to achieve.
If the temperature drops below 55°F (12°C), the plant will slow down or stop growing altogether. The leaves may change color to a reddish color if it gets colder for a longer period. If the temperature drops even lower, the leaves may become black and there is a risk of rotting.
To avoid cold damage, only take the philodendron outdoors during the summer and on warm nights. Do not place it close to a refrigerator or ice machine. Also, eliminate all cold drafts in the house since even a few minutes of cold air can hurt the philodendron’s leaves.
But it’s not just the cold that can damage the plant, but the extreme heat as well. This can happen if it is growing outside and the summer temperature exceeds 95°F (35°C). In this case, the plant can get heat stress and drop its leaves. Also, various heat-emitting devices can harm it.
To protect the plant from excessive heat, do not take it outside if it is too hot. And don’t place it near heaters or kitchen stoves.
Philodendron selloum need a humidity of 70-80% to feel comfortable. In this case, the surface of the leaves will not be too dry and the plant will avoid negative effects. But this humidity level is usually not present in the house, so you should take care to increase it.
The first thing you can do is to place a tray or other container with water and stones near the philodendron. The stones should not be submerged in water completely, but only halfway. This way the water will evaporate and increase the humidity.
A good solution is to install a moisture meter near the plant to control the air moisture more easily.
Another option is to install a humidifier. You can find many good ones on the market. In general, it is a bit costly but very effective.
Here’s a little trick, place all your indoor plants close together. This will create a certain microclimate and the moisture evaporated by the leaves will stay around the plants a little longer. Water from drying soil will also increase humidity.
Avoid misting the leaves with a sprayer or something similar. This can lead to brown spots. Also avoid growing philodendron in a bathroom as there may not be enough light, poor ventilation, and excessive humidity even for philodendron.
Pests are something you will need to protect your philodendron from time to time. They can be divided into two categories: insects and mites.
The most common insects are aphids, mealybugs, and scale insects. They all look different, but they all feed on the plant by piercing its leaves and stems.
If the insects are not widely spread, it is best to remove them with your fingers or wash them off with running water.
Aphids look like small greenish or grayish bugs. Mealybugs are white and their habitat looks like a sprinkling of flour. Scales are also light in color, but they are firmly attached to stems and leaves. On their backs, there is a hard shell that reliably protects them.
If the pest spread is significant, spray the plant with an aqueous solution of neem oil. Dilute two teaspoons of dish soap in half a gallon of water and add 2-3 tablespoons of neem oil. Carefully spray all the leaves and stems with this mixture.
Sometimes the neem oil can’t handle the insects. In this case, you need to use systemic insecticides.
Mites are not insects so to get rid of them you need to use a special product called acaricide (miticide).
Diseases, like pests, will also sometimes damage your philodendron. This is especially true of bacterial blight. This disease starts with small spots on the leaves, and pretty soon the spots get bigger, and the leaf rots. There is an unpleasant smell.
You will need to remove all damaged leaves immediately to remedy the situation. Also, try watering over the leaf or misting the leaves with a sprayer. Ensure good ventilation and don’t over-water.
The second type of disease is leaf spot. This is caused by various pathogens that settle on the leaves and damage them. If it spreads too much, the leaf can turn yellow and wither.
To deal with this you need to spray the leaves with a multi-purpose fungicide. After a while, repeat the spraying with a copper fungicide. Also, make sure there is good air exchange around the philodendron and that the humidity is no more than 80%. And as in the previous case, try not to leave water droplets on the leaves for a long time.
Philodendron selloum is most easily propagated by cuttings. To do this, select a mature but not old stem and tear it off gently from the plant. Try to leave a ‘foot’ on the stem so that new roots can grow from it. The leaf should remain on the stem. Avoid cuttings that are old or too young.
Place the stem a few inches into sterile seedling soil. The soil should remain constantly moist but the pot should have drainage holes. Make sure there is 80% moisture around the cuttings. After a while, the plant will begin to establish roots.
The second method of propagation is by daughter plants, which the philodendron starts to produce after a while. Carefully separate the young plant from the mother plant and plant it in a separate pot.
Water the young plant moderately. Ensure adequate humidity and good aeration. After some time it will take root and begin its own life.