The beautiful and collectible philodendron domesticum is characterized by long spade-shaped leaves and reddish-purple stems. It also goes by Spade-Leaf Philodendron or, more famously, Burgundy Philodendron.
If you’re new to Philodendron Domesticum care or new to plants in general, have no fear. You’ll learn everything you need to know in this comprehensive article to keep your plant happy and thriving.
Philodendron Domesticum History & Origin
The Philodendron Domesticum is part of a larger group of flowering plants called Philodendrons. They’re native to tropical climates in South America. Even though they originate from humid rainforests, they do well as potted houseplants.
Philodendrons were first recorded in 1644 but weren’t given a name until 1829. They were named Philodendrons after Greek “philo” meaning “love,” and “dendron” meaning “tree.” As climbers, they love to hug trees.
Philodendron Domesticum Care
Your philodendron domesticum’s light needs may vary depending on what you expect from your plant. It grows best in bright light and will need extra water to grow quickly. But this also means it’ll require more maintenance such as extra watering, fertilizing, and pruning.
If your plant is kept in light that’s too direct, it can scorch the leaves or cause them to turn yellow. This may also cause it not to grow properly.
It thrives best in bright, indirect light. To get the best bright light without direct exposure, try setting it in direct light just during the early morning and later afternoon hours. The sun isn’t as strong during this time of day, so it won’t be as harsh.
Soil & Mixture
Your philodendron domesticum loves soil that is loose and nutritious. If the soil has lots of organic matter, that’s a plus. Your philodendron domesticum can thrive in different potting mixes. Many plant-growers suggest using mixes such as:
- Sphagnum peat moss
They also like their roots to be close together, but not too root-bound. Avoid a pot that’s too large, otherwise your philodendron domesticum won’t be too happy.
They need good drainage, so make sure you keep them in a pot with a drainage hole. They’re also sensitive to salt, which accumulates over waterings. Too much salt can cause them to brown and yellow. Be sure to change the soil every few years to avoid this issue.
Water your philodendron domesticum enough to keep the soil moist. Whenever the top inch is dry, you know it’s time to water your plant again. The philodendron domesticum is a thirsty plant, so keep in mind they need a moderate amount of water.
Make sure you have drainage in the pot, and water just enough at each watering that it runs through the drainage hole.
How to Properly Water Your Plant
To keep your philodendron domesticum safe from the dreaded root rot, water enough to keep the top inch of soil damp and no more. During warm weather months, this may be 3-4 times a week. You can cut back watering during the cooler months.
Temperature & Humidity
Your philodendron domesticum is a tropical plant, which means it likes hot weather. If you live in a warm climate, your philodendron will probably be very happy. It does best between 65 and 80 Degrees Fahrenheit.
Don’t be alarmed if you keep your philodendron domesticum in warmer conditions, as it can survive in hotter weather. It may slow down growth, but temperatures over 80 degrees won’t hurt it.
But be wary of temperatures past 95 or 100 degrees, as this will cause the plant to stress and wilt.
Keep your philodendron domesticum inside if you live in a cold climate. Once temperatures drop below 55 degrees, you won’t have a happy plant.
Your philodendron domesticum will probably be okay inside since most families keep their homes at the desired temperature. Just make sure this tropical plant avoids drafts and extra cold spots in the house.
As we said before, your philodendron domesticum hails from a tropical climate. They like humidity and lots of it. They thrive best in conditions similar to the South American rainforest they came from.
The higher the humidity, the easier it is for the plant to grow those beautiful leaves. The more vibrant the leaves, the higher in humidity it tends to be. Your philodendron domesticum will thrive in humidity 60% or higher.
Average home humidity tends to be around 40%. Luckily, the philodendron domesticum tends to do just fine with these levels.
But once humidity drops to below 30%, you’ll start to notice a difference in your plant.
If you aren’t sure what your house’s humidity levels are, consider getting a digital hydrometer.
The philodendron domesticum has vibrant color and glossy leaves. Keep your plant looking healthy and happy by fertilizing it regularly. Fertilized plants grow bigger, healthier leaves.
During the spring and summer months, you can use a liquid fertilizer every four weeks. The plant will “eat” more fertilizer during the growing months. During winter you can fertilize less often or every six to eight weeks.
A well-loved philodendron domesticum can reach up to 8 feet tall. The leaves grow into long spade shapes. They also grow very quickly, and you can control their growth and looks by pruning it.
The philodendron domesticum can flower, but it is very rare. They only bloom on mature plants, which takes about 20 years.
The philodendron domesticum is a vining plant, meaning the longer you let it grow, the stems will resemble vines. If you’d like the plant to grow upward, place a moss stick or pole to stabilize it.
To propagate your philodendron domesticum, cut the stem just below a node. Once you cut the stem, place it in water or soil to grow.
- Soil: If you plan to grow your propagations in soil, use a rooting hormone to stimulate growth. Then place it in a moist soil mix and place it in a warm spot.
- Water: Place the propagated stem in a jar. Move it to a warm spot and watch for root growth.
Once roots grow, you can move the plant to a larger pot. If you propagate in soil, gently tug the plant. If it resists, that means there are roots and it’s ready to move to a bigger pot.
As a general rule, your philodendron domesticum will need repotting as it outgrows its current pot. When your plant is younger, it’ll grow faster. This will require you to repot more often. As the plant reaches maturity, you won’t need to repot as much.
If you aren’t sure your plant is ready for a new pot, here are some signs to look for:
- New shoots
- Stunted growth
- It’s bigger than its current pot
- It’s root bound
Your new pot should always be 2-3 inches wider than the last one. The roots should look slightly cramped, but not root-bound.
You don’t need to prune your philodendron domesticum, but there are a few reasons why you may consider pruning it.
- Trim discolored leaves
- Make it appear bushier
- Control its growth
Overall, it’s a good idea to prune your plant. It’ll encourage the plant to grow fuller, and keep it looking fresh and green.
Plant Toxicity- Is my Philodendron Domesticum toxic?
Yes, your philodendron domesticum is toxic. The calcium oxalate crystals are toxic when they’re ingested by adults, children, and pets.
Common Pests, Diseases & Issues
- Why are my Philodendron leaves turning yellow?
Yellow leaves on your philodendron domsticum usually indicate you’re overwatering your plant. Yellow leaf edges can mean your plant’s in stress. Change the potting mix so it’s not too saturated.
If your plant’s roots are smelly and mushy, they have root rot. If this is the case, propagate some good stems and start over.
- Why are the leaf edges turning brown?
Brown leaves mean your plant is either not getting enough water or getting too much sun. Make sure your plant’s soil is kept moist and not dried out. If your plant is sitting in direct sunlight, move it to a spot where it’ll get bright indirect sunlight.
- Why are the leaves curling?
The leaves curl when the soil is too dry. If you forget to water a few times, the leaves will go limp and the leaves will curl. Soak your plant in water if the soil is too dry.
If you’ve soaked your philodendron domesticum and the leaves are still curling, the tap water could be causing a buildup deposit in the soil. Switch to filtered water and your leaves should perk right up.
How to Fix Common Diseases and Pests
Philodendron domesticum is a pretty resilient plant. While they aren’t particularly susceptible to anything, some situations do come up. Here’s how to deal with the most common pests:
- Aphids- Wipe the leaves with a mild solution of water and a little dish soap. You can also release ladybugs on the plant.
- Spider Mites or Mealybugs- Apply insecticidal soap or neem oil to the plant.
- Root rot- Root rot can’t be reversed. Propagate some good leaves and don’t overwater.
- Erwinia Leaf Spot- Prune the affected leaves and change the potting mix.
- Powdery Mildew- Prune the affected leaves. If the mildew has spread too far, try spraying with milk spray.