Happy St. Patrick’s Day! A terrific day to celebrate, even more so because there is little responsibility connected to it. No presents to buy, no major re-decorating plans are needed, a person can even skip the wearing of the green and not be considered a social pariah.
My home is filled with green plants. Philodendrons & Pothos are tops of my lists of “phavorites.” They are not fussy, they come in brilliant lime through dark green. The plants are also widely available in many beautiful variegated shades.
I recently visited Longwood Gardens and took a photo of this large specimen of a philodendron in the tropicals room.
Another astounding characteristic of philodendrons is their ability to root and actually live and thrive in plain tap water. I will admit my home is filled with pots of philodendron planted after rooting in water. It may seem like a contradiction, but after I pot up the rooted philodendrons, I keep their soil on the drier side. I often plant them in antique pots that have no drainage. If I water sparingly to avoid soggy “feet” in the bottom of the pot, the philodendrons will live for years and produce many more stems for cutting and rooting.
If you have small children and pets be aware that philodendrons are poisonous. A good article and chart on houseplant toxicity can be found here: Toxic Plants It’s best to keep all plants out of reach of small children and pets.
A benefit of philodendrons is their terrific ability to filter toxins out of your indoor air. Air Filtering Plants
I have encountered two problems in growing philodendron plants. The first is browning edges. This could be caused by lack of humidity in the house during the winter, misting will help in this case. The crisp edges can also be caused by too much fertilizer.
I will usually cut away the unsightly brown edges with a pair of scissors. This works for a time, but I have found that once a leaf begins to brown, it usually will continue to die back whether I trim the damaged section or not. It’s the way it is in the plant world, new leaves will grow, old leaves will eventually shrivel and die.
A housekeeping issue also needs to be addressed where houseplants are concerned…the coating of dust that eventually accumulates.
For pots with drainage, I usually wait until warmer temperatures prevail and take them outdoors to hose off. I can’t do that for the philodendrons. The water I use to rinse them would end up accumulating in the bottom of the pot and drown their roots. Instead I tilt them on an angle, and quickly wash the dust away with tepid water under the kitchen faucet. A bit of potting soil will sometimes spill into the sink, but it is easy to replace.