Philodendron Atabapoense (Most Complete Care Guide!)

The Philodendron Atabapoense is an incredibly unique houseplant, known for its long leaves. It is a member of the Araceae family, also known as a philodendron. Philodendrons are incredibly popular houseplants, and this plant is absolutely no exception!

Origin: You’ll find this plant in the Amazonian region of Brazil, as well as the Southern region of Venezuela. The Philodendron Atabapoense is a climbing and vining plant, often growing at least 300 feet above sea level.

Appearance: This “long-leafed houseplant” definitely lives up to its name! The leaves are dark green and grow exceptionally long, often with a deep crease or heart-shaped appearance at the connection to the stem.

Is Philodendron Atabapoense Rare?

Yes, this plant is actually quite rare. The fact that it is a climbing and vining philodendron combined with the strikingly long leaves make the Philodendron Atabapoense a rare find. If you have one, take good care of it!

How Do You Pronounce Philodendron Atabapoense?

We know, we know: this plant has quite the name! But it is actually fairly easy to pronounce, at least going along with the way it is spelled.

“Philodendron” is pronounced like fill-uh-den-druhn, while “Atabapoense” is pronounced like a-tab-a-po-ence. While nobody would blame you for finding this name hard to pronounce, it is easier than it seems!

Names: There are no other common names for this plant, but it is often confused with other philodendrons, such as the Mexicanum and the Billetiae.

How to Care for a Philodendron Atabapoense?

We’ll review the most important aspects of plant care, but it is essential the give this plant:

  • Well-draining soil
  • Bright, indirect sunlight
  • Humidity of at least 60%
  • Average to frequent watering

Now, let’s dive into the finer aspects of philodendron Atabapoense care!


Philodendrons will thrive in environments with medium to bright, indirect sunlight. Indirect sunlight means that the light is filtered through another source before hitting the plant.

Partial or dappled shade is great for this plant, as it mimics the rainforest habitat where it originated.  You can use special curtains or even other houseplants to achieve this effect.

Footcandles are another great way to measure light. Footcandles (FCs) are the units used by light meters to determine the amount of sunlight in a room.

With philodendrons, you will want an average amount of 200 FCs, with at least 100 FCs present for minimal growth.

There are several ways to achieve this lighting environment, even without a light meter. If you place your philodendron Atabapoense near an eastern or northern facing window, it will get bright, indirect sunlight for the majority of the day.

Placing this plant in a cluster of others near a northern window will be a simple way to achieve the shaded effect.

Best Soil and Mixture Type

Soil has a huge impact on philodendron Atabapoense care. The most important aspect of soil for this plant is that it must be well-draining. Otherwise, you run the risk of root rot.

Potting mixtures can present the ideal combination of rich organic matter with well-draining abilities. Here are some elements to look out for!

  • Peat moss, which assists with retaining nutrients
  • Perlite, to help with drainage and retention.
  • Orchid bark, which helps with drainage
  • Coco coir, to improve moisture retention

These are all excellent elements to find in philodendron soil.

With at least a few, you will find a great combination of well-draining soil that still allows moisture retention and absorbing nutrients.


Tropical plants like the philodendron Atabapoense prefer moist soil, but at the same time cannot be sitting in water.

This means that water is one of the most (if not the most) important aspects of philodendron Atabapoense care.

The best way to water this plant is to thoroughly cover the soil, soaking it without forming any standing puddles. Let the first few inches dry out before watering again.

A typical watering schedule will mean watering this plant once or twice a week, especially in the growing season. You can water less frequently in the colder months, when the plant is no longer actively growing.

Drooping and brown leaves, as well as dry soil, are good signs that this plant is suffering from a lack of water.

Keep in mind that the soil will dry out faster in the summer and slower in the winter, so this should impact your watering schedule.

Always make sure to feel the first inch or so of the soil before watering to ensure it is needed.


It should be no surprise that this tropical plant loves the heat! You should avoid making this an “outdoor” plant if you live in an area that experiences drastic temperature changes each season.

The ideal range for this plant will be between 65°F and 80°F (18°C to 26°C). This should be kept consistent, so make sure to check your thermostat!

The absolute lowest temperature that this plant will tolerate is 55°F (12.8°C).

In addition, try not to place this plant near any vents, windows, or doors where it may experience sudden and frequent blasts of cold air.


In the same vein as temperature, it is important that you keep up with humidity.

Placing your philodendron Atabapoense in an already humid area, such as the bathroom or kitchen, as well as grouping it with other plants are natural ways to increase the humidity.

You can also purchase a humidifier if you want to be certain!

The ideal range of humidity for this plant will be between 60% and 70%. If this seems high, don’t worry!

Your entire house doesn’t need to have this level – just the room with your plant. You will know when this plant needs more humidity because the leaves will begin to have a crispier appearance, and small brown spots may appear.


When it comes to philodendron Atabapoense care, you will find that fertilizer helps take things to the next level.

You should only fertilize this plant when it is actively growing, so no need to bust out the fertilizer in the winter.

Here are some elements that mark a good fertilizer:

  • Nitrogen (essential)
  • Potassium (essential)
  • Phosphorus (essential)
  • Calcium (added boost)
  • Magnesium (added boost)

A balanced fertilizer like 20.20.20 or EarthPods are excellent for philodendrons! By using a good fertilizer, you will see great growth for your plants.

Propagating a Philodendron Atabapoense

With a plant as beautiful and rare as this one, it is common for owners to want to propagate in order to get another.

By using stem cuttings, you can successfully propagate your philodendron Atabapoense by following these steps:

  1. At the beginning of the growing season, gather your chosen plant with a new pot and soil, gloves, and a sterilized knife.
  2. Wearing your gloves, carefully lift the original plant out of the pot. Identify the natural separation of the roots, including the stems and leaves.
  3. Further the separation using your sterilized knife, carefully cutting away the roots, stems, and leaves of the section.
  4. Repot your original plant and care for it as usual. Place the new cutting into the new pot with soil and water.
  5. Care for both plants are usual, with special care given to the new cutting to ensure that the roots grow and it will develop as normal.


Repotting is one thing you won’t need to worry about frequently! Your philodendron Atabapoense will only need to be repotted every two to three years, but it can help to give the plant a fresh batch of soil for each growing season.

You will know it is time to repot this plant when roots begin to peek out of the drainage holes.


Pruning is not essential for this plant, but light pruning can help with the overall growth. This would be in cases of damaged or dead leaves and stems, in which case removing them can help the rest of the plant.

Don’t use a heavy hand when pruning, as cutting off healthy areas can negatively impact the overall growth.

Plant Toxicity

Like all philodendron varieties, the philodendron Atabapoense is mildly toxic to both pets and children. This toxicity manifests primarily in the sap, so ingesting any sap, leaves, or stems can produce symptoms.

These symptoms may include swelling of the mouth, tongue, and potentially the esophagus as well as pain and irritation.

If your child or pet ingests this plant, it is best to get them checked out by a doctor or vet as soon as possible.

Symptoms will generally be mild, but it is better to be safe than sorry. Keep this plant out of reach of children and pets, typically in a hard-to-reach or high area.

Common Pests, Diseases, and Issues

When caring for your plant, issues such as pests and diseases can be your worst enemy.

Here are some quick methods for dealing with the most common pests, diseases, and other issues with your philodendron Atabapoense.

  • Leaf drop: falling or drooping leaves can be a sign of many things, from a shock of cold temperature to a lack of water. Overview all aspects of your plant care to try to determine the cause, and immediately rectify it. You can also use supports to lift the stems and leaves of this plant.
  • Root rot: when you overwater your plant, you risk the roots becoming mushy and unable to absorb nutrients. The infected roots should be immediately cut away, and the plant placed in a new pot with new soil.
  • Mosaic virus: this contagious virus causes colored spots along the leaves. Since it is a virus, curing it is difficult. You should separate the infected plant from others that you own. You can prevent this virus by avoiding using dirty tools or hands when handling plants.
  • Pests: when dealing with pests like spider mites or aphids, your best bet will be to wash the leaves of your plant gently with water before using neem oil or another insecticide to keep the insects from returning.

FAQS – Philodendron Atabapoense Care

Q. Can Philodendron Atabapoense handle direct, full sun?

The general rule of thumb is that no, the philodendron Atabapoense cannot handle full and direct sun. As a tropical plant, it typically grows in low to medium sunlight. Lots of time in direct sunlight can harm the plant and leaves, even stunting the growth.

Q. Why does my Philodendron Atabapoense have yellow leaves?

When it comes to philodendrons, any issues with watering will lead to yellow leaves. Too much water and too little water can both impact the leaves. To fix this issue, examine your watering habits. Plants can take longer to dry out in the winter, so this could also be the reason.

Q. How big does a philodendron Atabapoense get?

It is natural that any owner of a plant with famously long leaves will want to know how big the plant gets! A fully mature philodendron Atabapoense can have leaves as long as 30 inches – more than two feet! Interestingly, these leaves rarely grow beyond about half a foot or six inches in width.

Q. Does the philodendron Atabapoense produce flowers?

The answer to this is a bit tricky: yes, the philodendron Atabapoense can sometimes produce small flowers, but that will rarely happen indoors. These flowers will be tiny and hard to notice, so as a houseplant owner you should not expect to see any.

Q. Philodendron Atabapoense vs Philodendron Mexicanum – What’s the difference?

These philodendrons both have similarly long leaves and burgundy undersides, but that is where the similarities end. As the name suggests, the philodendron Mexicanum originates in Mexico, while the Atabapoense hails from Brazil and Venezuela.

Q. Philodendron Billetiae vs Philodendron Atabapoense – What’s the difference?

It is common to get confused between the philodendrons Atabapoense and Billetiae. While the plants are closely related, they are not the same. The main difference is that the Atabapoense leaves have burgundy or darker undersides, while Billetiae have greener and lighter undersides.

Q. Philodendron Spiritus Sancti vs Philodendron Atabapoense – What’s the difference?

When searching for the philodendron Atabapoense, you might happen upon another plant with long and thin leaves growing in Brazil.

This is the incredibly rare philodendron Spiritus-Sancti, commonly confused for a juvenile Atabapoense.

The biggest difference between them is that the Spiritus-Sancti is nearing extinction, and is incredibly rare.

photo of Charlotte Bailey founder of Oh So Garden


Charlotte Bailey

Charlotte is a Qualified Royal Horticultural Society Horticulturist, plant conservationist, and founder of Oh So Garden. Armed with a background in Plant Science (BSc Hons, MSc) and 5 years of hands-on experience in the field, her in-depth guides are read by over 100,000 people every month.

For her work, she's been awarded the title of Yale Young Global Scholar, and been featured as a garden and houseplant expert across major networks and national publications such as Homes and Garden, Best Life, Gardeningetc,, BHG, Real Homes, and Country Living. You can find her on Linkedin.

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