How do I care for a philodendron?


How do I care for a philodendron?


Philodendrons are native to the low-light understory of tropical forests, primarily in Central and South America.  Because of this, they prefer indirect or dappled light.  Some varieties, like heartleaf philodendron (Philodendron hederaceum) can tolerate very low light levels, but most prefer moderate to indirect light when grown indoors, especially those with brightly colored foliage.

heartleaf philodendron (Philodendron hederaceum)
The trailing growth habit of heartleaf philodendron (Philodendron hederaceum) looks good climbing a trellis or hanging from a basket, even in low light

Philodendrons prefer to stay evenly moist, but not wet.  Water plants when the top of the soil is dry and don’t let plants sit in soggy soils or saucers of water.  Fertilize lightly (once or twice a month) while actively growing in the spring and summer months with a balanced all-purpose fertilizer. 

Typical home temperatures of 65°F to 80°F are well-tolerated by plants.  Philodendrons grow best in high-humidity, but tolerate the low-humidity of homes, especially in winter, quite well.

Grow in all-purpose potting soil in containers large enough to support the top portion of the plant without toppling.  Philodendrons do well when slightly pot-bound as the soil will dry more quickly between waterings.  Repot with fresh potting soil in a container one size larger when they become overcrowded or when the soil dries out too quickly to keep up with regular watering.    

Answered by
  • Specialist
  • Consumer Horticulture Extension
Last updated on
March 19, 2024