The Philodendron Plowmanii is a beautiful, rare creeping philodendron characterized by massive leaves that are unlike any other member of the philodendron family.
What makes this plant stand out is the massive bicolored heart-shaped leaves in shades of dark green, lime green, and creamy yellow making it the perfect statement plant for your home.
This plant is a rare treasure, and you’d be lucky if you could find it at your local plant boutique, and you’ll likely have to order this beauty online (for a hefty price tag)!
A few varieties of this plant are even more difficult to come across, such as the variegated, silver, or even rarer Philodendron Plowmanii citrus.
Although it has a close resemblance to the Philodendron Mamei, they are slightly different in looks and care, but we’ll get into that later.
The Philodendron Plowmanii is an excellent plant for even the most beginner plant owners with minimal maintenance and magnificent foliage. Read on to learn more from this ultimate guide to Philodendron Plowmanii care.
Philodendron Plowmanii Care Overview
• Soil: Rich, well-draining.
• Light: Bright indirect sunlight.
• Watering: Water when soil is mostly dry.
• Fertilizer: A high-in-nitrogen feed once a month in summer.
• Humidity: 60%
• Temperature: 59-90°F (15-32°C)
Philodendron Plowmanii Origin and Backstory
The discovery and origin story of this Philodendron is just as rare as the plant itself. The Philodendron Plowmanii is a unique and rare Philodendron named after famed ethnobotanist Timothy Plowman.
Native to Ecuador and Peru, this plant belongs to the Araceae family. When left in its natural habitat, it flourishes and grows enormous, almost up to 30 feet tall in some cases.
Philodendron Plowmanii Care
The Philodendron Plowmanii can thrive in low light conditions, but it grows best when placed in partial shade or filtered light. This is what is known as bright, but indirect light.
Purchasing a light meter can help determine just how bright, ‘bright light’ truly is. Ideally, the Plowmanii needs 400-600FC (footcandles) for optimal growth.
Try to avoid direct sunlight as the rays of the sun can easily scorch your rare plant. Younger leaves are more susceptible to sunburn than mature leaves.
Your Philodendron Plowmanii will do best in a well-draining, loose, soilless medium that is slightly acidic with a pH range of 4.5 to 6 to help support healthy growth.
You can use a couple of different soil mixtures to ensure your Philodendron Plowmanii has favorable growing conditions. At a bare minimum, your potting mixes should contain 40% coco coir (or potting soil), 30% perlite, 20% orchid bark, and 10% worm castings.
Using perlite helps to improve airflow and increase the draining capabilities by loosening the soil. Using peat helps to create a water-retaining property of your soil medium. The two put together make for an excellent soil that helps drain any excess water and hold on to just enough so that your plant can thrive.
You can also use a pre-made philodendron mixture as a good growth medium for your plant. This usually consists of coco coir, perlite, activated charcoal, coarse pumice, and orchid bark.
Similar to most philodendrons, the Philodendron Plowmanii doesn’t like too much water. When you do water, you’ll want to make sure the top 1-2 inches of soil dry out before your next watering to avoid root rot that can ultimately kill your plant.
Watering about once a week should be sufficient but touch the soil before you do.
Philodendrons prefer warmer temperatures between 60-85°F (15-30°c), and it does not like wintry weather. Ideally, the temperature should never drop below 60°F (15°C), otherwise, you’ll likely spot dark brown/black spots appearing on the leaves caused by cold shock.
You’ll want to make sure your humidity levels are kept around 40 and 60 percent. You may want to use a humidifier if you find yourself using your heating or cooling in your home. These appliances tend to dry up the air and put your Philodendron Plowmanii in danger.
One other way to up the humidity is to place the plant in a shallow pebble tray with water ensuring the water does not come in contact with the pot.
A common misconception is that plants grow well without fertilizer. Once all of the nutrients in your potting mix have been used up, your plant has no other source of ‘food’.
Organic time-release or balanced houseplant fertilizers are a great option for your plant but be sure to avoid low-quality fertilizers that are filled with heavy nitrogen salts. These salts form a ‘cakey’ white layer on the surface which will eventually burn the roots and stem of your plant.
With its characteristic large leaves, it’s no surprise that the Plowmanii can grow up to 8 feet tall when grown indoors with plenty of space. In its natural habitat, this plant can grow to great heights of 30 feet.
How to Propagate a Philodendron Plowmanii
Once you have the care down for your Philodendron Plowmanii, you can multiply your plants by propagation. You will want to use stem cuttings to start propagation in water or soil mediums.
Method #1 Water Propagation
For water propagation, make sure your cutting is at least 4 inches long and has a couple of leaf nodes.
Fill a jar with water and remove any lower leaves (if any) before placing the cutting in water ensuring all the bare nodes are covered in water.
Keep the jar in a warm environment and away from direct sunlight. Change the water regularly and once the roots reach about 2 inches, transplant your Philodendron to a pot with a good soil mix.
Method #2 Soil Propagation
With soil propagation, you’ll want to first take your cutting and dip it into a rooting hormone to help stimulate root growth.
Then you can plant your cutting in a pot and water it. To keep the moisture levels up for your cutting (not soggy).
Wrap the plant in a clear plastic bag and keep the temperatures between 70-75°F. In about two weeks, gently tug the plant to see if strong roots have developed and if they have, transplant your Philodendron Plowmanii to a new pot.
Repotting is necessary because of the massive size of the leaves and the size that the Philodendron Plowmanii can get. It loves loose roots to ensure the roots don’t become rootbound, and the pot size is adequate for the plant size, so it doesn’t tip over.
Terracotta pots are the recommended choice and make sure your pot has enough drainage holes to help avoid waterlogging. When you repot your plant, be sure to remove any diseased or damaged roots first and use the same potting mix in the original pot.
Similar to all Philodendrons, the Plowmanii is toxic to humans and animals if ingested. Keep tropical plants out of reach of children and animals.
Common Pests, Diseases, and Issues
One of the most common issues you’ll experience is root rot. This is why it’s essential to have a good well-draining soil mix and ensure your soil is dry before rewatering. You can tell when your plant is waterlogged if you notice the leaves starting to wilt or turn yellow.
You may be able to save it by removing the plant, cutting off the affected roots, and treating it with a fungicide.
The Philodendron Plowmanii is a little sensitive to light. If you start to notice the leaves begin to curl and turn brown, it could be that your plant is getting too much light, and it’s time to relocate it to a shadier place in the house.
When it comes to pests, be on the lookout for mealybugs, spider mites, and aphids. If your plant becomes infected, you can treat it using organic pesticides like neem oil.
You can also make a homemade spray to help combat pest attacks. Mix one tablespoon vegetable oil, one tablespoon mild dishwashing soap, and one cup of water and mix it into a spray bottle. This mixture can help deal with mold infestations.
Is Philodendron Plowmanii a Climber or a Crawler?
Actually, it’s a creeper meaning its stems grow along the ground. The growth along the ground provides a sturdy base for those enormous, stunning leaves.
Philodendron Plowmanii vs. Philodendron Mamei – What’s the Difference?
These plants are often mistaken for one another, but there are two key differences. The first is the Philodendron Plowmanii has wavy-edged petioles, and the Philodendron Mamei does not.
The Philodendron Mamei has hints of silvery variegations on its leaves, and the Plowmanii only has the greens and yellows it’s known for.
Philodendron Plowmanii vs. Philodendron Pastazanum – What’s the Difference?
The Philodendron Plowmanii vs. Philodendron Pastazanum is similar in that they are creepers and signature heart-shaped leaves. The main difference lies in the leaves’ color, with the Plowmanii’s leaves typically a deeper green base color, and the Pastazanums are lighter with white veining.
How Much Does Philodendron Plowmanii Cost?
You can find the Philodendron Plowmanii on many online marketplaces, and the price averages around $85-$100. With how rare this plant is, the price may be higher based on the current availability.
Caring for a Philodendron Plowmanii is made easy with this quick care guide. You’ll be set up for success to grow an eye-catching accent piece for any space.