The philodendron rugosum is a gorgeous plant known for its lush green leaves and rounded edges. The leaves have a unique and thick texture that sets them apart.
For the rare plant enthusiasts, there is a beautiful and even more unique hybrid mutation! It is known as the philodendron rugosum aberrant, with the special texture earning them the affectionate nickname of the “pigskin” philodendron.
While it originated in Ecuador, this plant is a trooper and can make its home anywhere in the world.
Unfortunately, the International Union for Conservation of Nature has marked these spectacular plants as near-threatened due to habitat loss. If you’re lucky enough to get your hands on one, make sure to treat it with the love it deserves.
Here is everything you need to know to about philodendron rugosum care.
Caring for Your Philodendron Rugosum
You’ll be happy to hear that the philodendron rugosum is a famously low-maintenance plant. They are easygoing and fit right in with any space!
That being said, there are still certain precautions that should be taken to make sure this beautiful plant feels right at home.
The best way to care for your philodendron is to be thorough! Research is important, and we will provide answers to questions you might not have even thought about.
Due to their tropical heritage, any philodendron rugosum will flourish best in partial shade and bright (but still indirect) sunlight.
They will not grow well in low light, and direct exposure to intense sunlight can wilt the leaves and cause them to lose their color.
Don’t worry if you’re a bit confused about bright, indirect sunlight. You can use a light meter to measure the intensity of light in a room since our eyes typically are bad judges.
Light meters measure in foot-candles, or FCs. To grow the ideal philodendron rugosum, try to find a space with around 400 FC.
While finding the perfect FC may seem difficult, the good news is that you won’t need to do much afterwards!
As long as light and shade are consistent in the area, your philodendron rugosum will flourish into the perfect houseplant. Just make sure to check-in now and again.
Best Soil and Mixture Types
Luckily, the rugosum is like most other philodendrons when it comes to soil. You are going to want to use soil that drains quickly without losing moisture.
These plants are adaptable, but they will grow best in soil that drains well and does not become waterlogged.
Aroid soil mix is a great example of the ideal soil. This mix is available in stores or can be made on your own! It is thicker and uses more bark to encourage proper draining.
If you’re hoping to make some aroid soil mix on your own, there is a staple recipe to begin with.
For the soil, you will want to use the rule of three: one third orchard bark, one third perlite, and one third soil base that is rich in peat.
The ideal pH for this soil will be neutral to slightly acidic. If this is confusing, here is a scale to help you.
- 6.1 through 6.5 = slightly acidic
- 6.5 through 7.3 = neutral soil
Anything above or below these numbers will not be good for your philodendron rugosum. You can conduct a test yourself to ensure the pH stays within these guidelines.
Remember when we said your soil should drain well? At the same time, it needs to stay moist.
This is because the philodendron rugosum cannot hold water in its leaves. It must get it from the soil without risking waterlogging from unfit soil.
Finding the perfect mix between moist and dry can be tricky, so don’t get frustrated. Settling into a watering schedule may take some time, but most have found that watering every 1-2 weeks is what works best.
A good tip is to try watering and soaking the soil directly rather than from the top of the plant. This moistens the soil and makes sure no water is wasted as it feeds into the roots and leaves.
Signs Your Plant Needs Watering
You don’t have to be a plant expert, but knowing a few signs and symptoms here and there can go a long way.
- Droopy leaves could mean your plants need more water. If your leaves are settling lower than before, adjust your watering schedule.
- Soil that is dry more than ⅓ into the pot means that moisture is not being absorbed and your plant requires more water.
- Leaves that are losing color have been exposed to direct sunlight and should be moved. This also means they will need more water in their soil.
- Wilts or wrinkles in the leaves that were not there upon purchase are signs your plant needs water.
- Leaves that appear spotted with brown or turning brown can mean that your plant needs water.
Seasonal Changes in Watering
You should also keep in mind that changes in the seasons can impact how you should be watering your plant. Water should be increased in the warmer months, especially summer.
This is because your philodendron rugosum will be growing more actively as well as receiving more intense sunlight.
Be careful not to overwater your plant once it gets colder! These tropical plants may enter an inactive state when the temperature falls, so they will not require as much water.
The most important thing is just to keep your eyes peeled and be aware of any changes.
Like you just read, temperature can be important for your philodendron rugosum. Even though it is a tropical plant, there is no need to blast the heat in your home.
The ideal temperature range for this plant is around 60°F to 90°F, or 15°C to 32°C.
This is a pretty wide range, and it is important to stay within the boundaries. Anything higher will result in drooping leaves and a baking plant. On the other hand, anything lower will stunt growth and damage the leaves.
Temperatures should not drop below 55°F, or 12°C.
You can grow this plant outside, but it should be brought inside if temperatures are expected to exceed the range. If you live in a more temperate climate, it is best to keep your philodendron rugosum as a way to brighten up the indoors.
As a tropical plant, the philodendron rugosum can flourish in humidity. Their ideal range of humidity is quite high, falling somewhere within 70-90%.
This level can be hard to maintain depending on your region, but there are several ways to fix this.
With drier air, using a humidifier is a great way to make sure your plants are taken care of.
And did you know that grouping plants together can increase the humidity in the air? Simply moving some pots around and purchasing a humidifier could be all you need to see your philodendron blossom with beautiful dark leaves.
It can be easy to forget fertilizer, but it’s an important part of philodendron rugosum care. JR Peters is a trustworthy brand with plenty of nutrients for your plants, as is Dyna Gro’s complete 7-9-5 formula.
I’ve also found that the Jack’s Classic Fertilizer in particular has a great balance. It’s also available on Amazon for a great price!
Macronutrients like nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus are important for philodendrons, as are secondary nutrients such as calcium and magnesium. You should try to fertilize your plant each month in the spring and summer and then scale back to every six to eight weeks in the colder seasons.
Use a nutrient-rich fertilizer and they will look better than ever.
Get ready for the ultimate home decor, because a philodendron rugosum has the potential to grow at least six feet tall!
The plants grow with a vining pattern, so if you’re hoping to help it reach its fullest potential it should have something to grab onto while it grows.
These plants will take off during the growing season with a quick speed of a few centimeters each week.
This is offset by a slow growing speed in the other seasons, so you can expect your philodendron rugosum to reach full maturity after several seasons.
These plants are quite easy to propagate since they are quick to root. The steps are simple to follow so you can propagate your lovely philodendron rugosum in no time and spread the love.
- Gather a fully grown philodendron rugosum, soil, water, and a clean container.
- Choose a branch to cut, being careful to cut below the first node. Cut it cleanly.
- Fill your clean container with soil and moisten with water. Bury your cut stem into the soil with the nodes firmly under the soil.
- Place your future plant in a well-lit area without direct sunlight. Take care of it and wait for it to grow!
Remember how we covered the slow growing of the philodendron rugosum in the offseasons? That means that repotting will only be needed sparingly, but you should check often during the growing season to make sure everything is progressing well.
If you lift up the pot and see roots poking out of the drainage holes on the bottom, it is most likely time to repot. It’s important that the roots do not grow without room and bind to the pot, since this can damage them.
With this plant, you’ll most likely be repotting once a year after the growing season. Try to expand to a pot that’s only a few inches deeper and wider, since an overly large pot can mean roots will rot.
For the most part, pruning is not needed. You can sit back and relax! If any sick or withered leaves begin to grow, they can be clipped and removed. Likewise, leaves that grow outside of the pot or become too big can be pruned back into their area.
Since these plants can grow quite large, growing sticks to aid in straight growth can eliminate the need to prune leaves that go rogue.
It’s important to keep in mind that all philodendrons are toxic to humans and animals when consumed. They are harmless as long as they are not ingested. Still, children and pets should be kept away from these plants for safety reasons.
Symptoms of consuming a philodendron could include vomiting and swelling in the mouth. While it is less risky for adults, anyone who experiences these symptoms should see a professional just to be safe.
Let’s cover some common issues you might run into with your plant! These can include pests, diseases, and more.
Why are the leaves turning a pale green?
Philodendron rugosums are known for their dark green color, so pale green leaves are a sign something is wrong. Most likely, the plant is not getting enough calcium and/or magnesium. Try finding a new soil or fertilizer that is rich in these nutrients.
Why does my plant have yellowed leaf-sections with browned halos?
These coloring issues are classic signs of overwatering and a potential fungal growth in the soil. You should try to decrease the humidity of the room and lower your watering amount for a few days to see if the problem clears up.
Why are the leaves turning brown and curling at the tips?
In the opposite of the last question, brown leaves and curling tips are classic signs of an under-watered plant. Try to increase the humidity around the plant as well as the amount of water given.
These plants are generally resistant to pests, with two exceptions: spider mites and mealybugs. Spider mites are small white insects that eat the sap of the plant, and mealybugs are a similar color but are known to crawl through the soil.
For these pests, washing the leaves with soapy water or rubbing alcohol is the best way to rid them for good. Make sure to gently rinse the leaves with water following their wash.
FAQ – Your Questions Answered
Where Can I Find a Philodendron Rugosum?
As mentioned before, these plants come from an endangered habitat and so may not be readily available.
The best thing to do would be to research nurseries in your area and see which ones carry rugosums!
If that doesn’t work, specialty websites or international nurseries can ship you a plant or clipping to get started.
How Much Does a Philodendron Rugosum Cost?
Finally, how much should you expect to spend on one of these gorgeous plants? Their endangered status means they will naturally be more expensive, with most mature or nearly mature plants selling for over $100.
However, keep in mind they can grow to be at least six feet tall and will last for many seasons. These beautiful, rare plants are well worth the price!