Philodendrons are wonderful plants; lush and shiny new growth, easy care, quick to fill out. And there’s so many different kinds! Bushy, viney, trailing, climbing, some varieties can grow to be huge while others can be pruned into little bushes. They are easily one of my favourite families of plants and they’ll soon be yours too.
Most varieties of philodendron come from the tropical areas of the Americas and West Indies, while they can now be found in suitable areas of Australia, Africa, Asia and some Pacific islands, they were probably introduced there and flourished. They tend to be found in humid tropical forests but can be found in swamps and rocky outcrops. Bear this in mind if you get one as they prefer warmth and humidity. That said, they can be very hardy to neglect; while most varieties prefer to be kept evenly moist, if you forget and they dry out from time to time they do just fine.
Accustomed to the canopy of rain forests, they do well in bright, but indirect light and will burn if in direct sun. A north or east facing window is best. If you have particularly dry air, try to mist them a few times a week. Larger varieties include the monstera (which we like to get in as a cut to use in floral arrangements), the xanadu and selloum. They have a kind of bushy tendency at first, spreading large leaves from a central stalk, but with time the stalk will grow up in a climber. Most philodendrons are hemiepiphytic, meaning they start out as epiphytes (living in tree branches instead of the ground, like orchids) and eventually send out aerial roots that grow to the ground and create a sort of trunk. Because of this they can be quite unruly in a small space; the best home for the larger varieties is a big open space the can grow to fill.
If you don’t have so much in the way of space, good medium options are the upright varieties, Moonlight and Prince of Orange. Both are man-made cultivars that produce long spade shaped leaves, in bright limey green and robust orange, respectively. They tend to stay in the shorter bush form and won’t roam out of their pots too easily.
Lastly there’s the trailing varieties; cordatum, or, as it’s been reclassified, hederaceum. Beautiful, long trailing vines grow quickly and in many different patterns. All green, splattered with white, limey stripes, the choices are endless and you can always get one of each!