The lemon lime philodendron is a truly eye-catching variety, known for its bright hues and trailing heart shaped leaves. If you have this gem in your houseplant collection, I’m here to help you keep those stunning neon bright leaves happy and healthy and provide the best philodendron lemon lime care.
Lemon Lime Philodendron Origin
Ever heard of This cheerful looking cultivar comes from the heart-leaf philodendron family, although it’s lesser known than its infamous cousin.
You’ll be glad to know that the lemon lime is considered an easy to grow houseplant, and is pretty easy to find, although at times some nurseries have seen a shortage in supply.
It’s grown abundantly in the tropical and humid canopies of South America, but a recent surge in worldwide demand is pushing this little beauty’s market value up.
Other Names This Plant Goes By
I’ve always found common names to be a little confusing so to help make sure you’re caring for the right plant, these are the other names the lemon lime philodendron goes by:
- Philodendron hederaceum lemon lime
- Philodendron domesticum lemon lime.
- Malay Gold
- Sweetheart Vine
- Golden Goddess (often much pricer, but it’s the same plant!)
Lemon Lime Philodendron Care
The key to keeping those luscious leaves bright yellow and green is to mimic the philodendron lemon lime’s natural growing habitat as much as possible.
In this case, the tropical, humid yet shaded canopies of South America’s forests. What do these plants crave more than anything? Warmth, humidity, and bright but indirect light.
The Lemon Lime philodendron can survive in low light conditions, but to help it really thrive you’ll want to put it in a place that receives bright, indirect sunlight.
In bright, indirect or filtered sunlight, your plant will produce more colorful, richer leaves. Keep this plant away from direct sunlight e.g. a window sill, as its foliage will scorch and burn.
The philodendron lemon lime thrives in moist, well draining potting soil mixed with some form of organic content such as perlite or peat moss. Well draining soil is loose, meaning excess water can easily flow out of the drainage holes in the pot.
Any high quality potting mix is likely to be fast draining, but make sure to double check before purchasing.
It goes without saying, but don’t use soil from your garden. It’s likely teeming with bacteria and other microbes that could introduce disease and pests to your new plant.
Given their tropical and humid habitat, it’s no surprise that lemon limes love regular waterings. Just make sure not to over do it!
Every plant is different so I can give you an exact figure on how many times a week you should water, but a quick hack to test the dryness of the soil is by using your finger. The top inch of soil should be moist or wet.
If you press the soil with your finger and it sticks, the soil is wet enough. If you press the soil with your finger and it falls right off, your plant needs some water ASAP. Always water when the top inch of soil is dry to touch.
Tip: If the soil is pulling away from the edges of the pot, this means your soil is super dry and lacking moisture. Water more regularly to loosen up the soil.
A true warmth lover, your philodendron lemon lime will flourish in temperatures ranging from 65-80 Degrees Fahrenheit (18-26 Degrees Celsius) during the day.
The temperature at night shouldn’t drop below 55 Degrees Fahrenheit (12 Degrees Celsius). Any temperature lower than this is likely to catapult your plant straight into dormant mode, resulting in significantly stunted growth.
To keep those gorgeous bright hued leaves looking glossy and large, you’ll want to keep your philodendron lemon lime in a place that maintains a high humidity; think 70% upwards! Yes, really. This humidity level naturally mimics South America’s tropical rainforests.
From my experience, this philodendron variety is pretty resilient and durable so can withstand a normal household humidity level without drastically affecting its appearance, BUT you’ll likely see smaller leaves.
Use a digital hygrometer to check the humidity level in your home.
How to keep a high humidity level near your plant:
- Use a humidifier
- Line a tray with pebbles, fill the tray with some water, place the plant pot on the pebbles (not in the water). As the water evaporates, it will naturally increase the humidity level surrounding the plant.
- Create a mini humidity biome by grouping your houseplants together
It’s super important to fertilize your lemon lime once a month during the spring and summer months, especially when new leaves are growing. In winter, you can cut back on fertilizing, and fertilizer with a heavily diluted solution once every other month.
Unlike plants outside, indoor plants have no way of maintaining a natural supply of organic matter. It’s this organic matter that helps to replenish essential macro and micro nutrients your plant needs to thrive.
There are many kinds of fertilizer on the market and it can sometimes be confusing which one to pick. Varieties include:
- Balanced Liquid fertilizer
- Slow Release fertilizer
- Granular fertilizer
- Organic vs synthetic fertilizers
In case you’re new to picking fertilizers, here is a quick rundown of each variety.
As the name suggests, this fertilizer is water soluble, meaning it’s dissolved in water. It’s incredibly easy to apply and control the strength. The only downside is that you’ve got to remember to fertilize the plant. Granular and slow release are more ‘set and forget’ options.
Slow release fertilizer is usually bought in pods, spikes or capsules and slowly releases nutrients into the potting soil over time.
Granular fertilizer is planted into the soil as granules. When watered, these granules release nutrients into the soil, ready for the plant to absorb. It’s more difficult to monitor how many nutrients your plant is getting with this kind of fertilizer.
Organic vs synthetic fertilizer
This choice is completely up to you. If you’re searching for a more eco-friendly fertilizer, organic is the way to go. Organic fertilizers use less man-made chemicals and more plant or animal based substitutes. Kelp meal, seaweed extract, fish emulsion, tea compost and worm tea are just some of the most popular options. There’s also a lower risk of scorching your plant with organic fertilizer.
Which fertilizer should I use with my philodendron lemon lime plant?
As with most philodendrons, your best option is to use a balanced liquid fertilizer that’s optimized for leaf growth.
The key ingredient to look for is nitrogen. Nitrogen encourages leaf growth.
Other macronutrients you want to check the label for are: potassium and phosphorus, as well micronutrients zinc, magnesium, calcium and iron.
Make sure to dilute the fertilizer down to half its recommended strength to prevent stem and root scorching. With fertilizer, less is more.
Want to use an organic fertilizer? I’ve seen some pretty impressive results using combined seaweed and kelp extract. It’s not super high in nitrogen, but it’s rich in many micronutrients like zinc and magnesium as well as plant growth hormones such as auxin and cytokinins.
How to Propagate The Lemon Lime Philodendron
Looking to give your lemon lime a few plant friends? The easiest way to propagate this houseplant is using the water propagation method. No need to tackle the dreaded root division.
- Have a small clean jar of water ready. If it’s tap water, let it sit for 48 hours for the chlorine to dissipate.
- With a clean pair of pruning scissors, cut a healthy stem with at least 2-3 leaves on it. Make sure to cut just below the leaf node (this is where the roots will grow from).
- Remove excess leaves i.e. ones that will be completely submerged underwater. Make sure to keep the 2-3 main ones.
- Place the stem cutting into the jar of water, leaving the main leaves above water level.
- After 2-5 weeks, you should see some roots beginning to sprout. Don’t worry if they look quite spindly or are shooting in multiple directions – this is normal.
- Once the roots are around an inch long (3cm) you can take them out of the water and plant them in a small pot with moist, well draining potting soil.
- Water and care for as usual.
You now have more plant buddies.
You can expect this houseplant to grow pretty quickly. The lemon lime philodendron is a prolific grower with long trailing vines. Indoors, an average leaf can grow up to 5 to 8 inches long and 2 to 3 cm wide.
Boy, do these plants climb given the chance! The lemon lime is a true climber and can require pruning every now and then. You can prune this plant when:
- It’s becoming too big and it’s losing its shape (could be a sign to repot)
- The foliage is becoming too dense
- The plant has become leggy (could be receiving too little light)
- The leaves and trailing vines look messy
- The plant is showing signs of damaged leaves, pests, disease or heavy discoloration
With a clean pair of pruning scissors, remove the damaged, dead or diseased leaves and stems. Make sure to cut the stems just above a leaf node. This allows for new growth.
As part of lemon lime philodendron care, you can also wash the leaves using a clean cloth and some lukewarm water to prevent dust particles clogging the leaves pores.
This house plant typically doesn’t need repotting often (1-2 times a year at most), and can cope to a certain degree with having ‘bound roots’, but if it has the right growing conditions it can quickly outgrow its living environment.
It’s better to repot your plant rather than let it become more root bound.
Signs your lemon lime needs to be repotted include:
- The plant physically looks too small for its pot
- Its roots are shooting up through the top inch of soil
- Its roots are spreading out of the pots drainage holes
When repotting your philodendron lemon lime, take into consideration the following:
- The pot should be 2-3 inches wider in diameter than the last pot (no bigger)
- The soil should be fast-draining and loose mixed with organic matter such as perlite
- The pot should have its own drainage holes
Common Pests & Diseases (+ How to Fix)
You’ll be glad to know that the philodendron lemon lime is a hardy, resistant and durable plant that isn’t prone to many pests or diseases. If an infestation or disease were to spring up, it’s likely one of the following:
- Mealybugs – sapsucking white scale bugs that can quickly cause an infestation if left untreated. Kill with insecticidal soap such as neem oil, an eco-friendly option.
- Aphids – yellow, brown or even white tiny bugs that feed on the sap and juice of the plant. Again, neem oil is a good option here.
- Erwinia Blight Disease – wet lesions or patches on the leaves of the plant that look mushy and see through. Occasionally, they can smell bad too. One of the most serious diseases philodendron’s face. Within a matter of days, this bacteria could kill your plant. Extremely tricky to treat. Prune off damaged leaves as fast as possible. If disease is too widespread and affecting the leaves and stems, it’s likely your plant is unsalvageable.
Toxicity – is the lemon lime philodendron toxic?
Unfortunately, yes. All philodendron varieties are toxic to cats, dogs and small children if ingested. Their leaves contain calcium oxalate crystals which are poisonous.
Help! What’s wrong with my plant? – Common care issues with the philodendron lemon lime.
Problem #1 – Leaves are curling
Curling leaves can be caused by underwatering, root rot, pests or too much sunlight. The most likely culprits are underwatering and too much bright, direct sunlight.
Change the soil, making sure to check for root rot. Rotted roots are usually black in color and smell bad. Move your plant to a location that gets bright, indirect sunlight.
Problem #2 – Leaves are turning brown
Browning tips or edges suggest your plant isn’t receiving enough water. Considerably Increase water intake over the next week or so and mist regularly.
Browning leaves can also indicate that your plant is getting too much direct sunlight. Brown leaves can be a sign of scorching. Prune the damaged, burnt leaves just above the leaf node and move to a shadier location.
Lemon Lime Philodendron vs Neon Pothos – What’s the Difference?
At first glance, the lemon lime philodendron and the neon pothos look extremely alike. The only difference between the two is the shape and texture of the leaves. Neon pothos tend to have thicker, more narrow and detailed leaves, whereas lemon lime philodendrons have softer and more heart-shaped leaves.
Lemon Lime Philodendron vs Moonlight – What’s the Difference?
The difference between the lemon lime philodendron and the moonlight is subtle. The lemon lime philodendron is a climbing vine that has heart-shaped leaves, similar to that of a heartleaf philodendron, whereas the moonlight is more of a shrub that has brighter, elongated leaves.
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