The Philodendron Squamiferum, aka the Hairy Philodendron, is a somewhat rare genus of the popular philodendron family. If you have one at home, the good news is that Philodendron Squamiferum care is relatively easy—so you can expect that pretty, thick, and leathery foliage to stick around for a while.
The Philodendron Squamiferum has a somewhat similar appearance and care needs to other popular houseplants like:
- Monstera Deliciosa
- Philodendron Bipennifolium
- Philodendron Pedatum
The Hairy Philodendron is just one of over 300 species within the Philodendron genus, and they all have uniquely shaped leaves that range from oval to heart-shaped. They can also be dark- or light-colored!
The species we’re looking at today is aptly named the Hairy Philodendron,thanks to its interesting stem. But what’s really unique about this plant is that it’s a climber whose vines can reach extraordinary heights if you let them!
Basic Philodendron Squamiferum Care Guide: How to Keep Your Plant Alive
With large, multi-lobed, oak-shaped leaves and fuzzy red stems, Hairy Philodendrons can make great houseplants, but you need to keep in mind that they’re native to Central and South American rainforests.
For a happy philodendron, you’ll want to mimic their native habitat–here’s how.
Since Hairy Philodendrons evolved by growing up other trees in the rainforest, they’re used to bright indirect sunlight.
While these plants are fairly good at tolerating low light conditions, that doesn’t mean you should put them in any shady spot at home. Instead, put it several feet away from a window that receives bright natural light.
You can tell it’s a good spot when the plant’s shadow looks clearly visible but fuzzy—rather than well-defined.
If you have a light meter, your Philodendron will barely survive with just 50 FC, maintain itself with 100 FC, and grow well with 200 FC. If it experiences any direct sunlight, it can only be for 2-3 hours max.
If you’re worried about your Hairy Philodendron, consider getting a sheer curtain to prevent direct sunlight from scorching its leaves.
How to Make the Right Soil Mixture
Pot your Hairy Philodendron in a coarse, light, and well-draining soil that is slightly acidic (5.1 to 6.0 pH).
You can create a soil mixture with:
- coco coir
- sphagnum moss
This will give you a well-draining soil mix that still retains enough moisture for your plant’s roots. Never use soil or dirt that feels sandy or clay-like.
When your soil starts to become hydrophobic (it won’t retain moisture anymore), you’ll notice that your Hairy Philodendron wilts often despite more and more frequent watering due to dry soil. That means it’s time for fresh soil.
How to Water a Hairy Philodendron
If you follow these rules, your plant will be happy:
- water it at the right time when the soil is 25-50% dry
- water plants deeply allowing the soil to get soaked
- don’t let your plants sit in stagnant or collecting water (that includes drip trays)
Your hairy Philodendron is ready to water when:
- the soil looks and feels dry
- the leaves begin to wilt slightly
If the leaves turn brown, it means your plant needs more regular watering (yellow leaves mean you’re watering too much).
Keep in mind that your plant will experience seasonal changes that impact how much water it wants. You’ll need to water less in cold winter months and more during hot summer months.
The ideal temperature range for a Hairy Philodendron is 70-80 °F during the day and over 55 °F at night, but it can tolerate temperatures as low as 50 °F—just keep it away from drafty windows in the winter, and you should be fine.
Philodendron Squamiferum prefer humidity levels around 40% but can tolerate up to 90% humidity (you can use a hygrometer to measure humidity). Hairy Philodendrons can adapt (and thrive!) in almost any humidity range but be careful not to drastically change their environment often.
If you need to increase the humidity around your Philodendron, you can try:
- grouping humidity-loving plants together (they will “breathe out” humidity)
- placing a humidifier a foot away from your plants (you don’t want humidity to condensate on your plants)
Never mist your Hairy Philodendron. Excess moisture can encourage fungal and bacterial infections.
How to Fertilize a Hairy Philodendron
Hairy Philodendrons aren’t hungry plants, and feeding them too much fertilizer can actually stress them out. Use a small amount of slow-release fertilizer no more than three times a year.
Any standard plant fertilizer will work, like:
The best time to fertilize your plant is during the Hairy Philodendron’s growing season, between April and September. Avoid fertilizing in winter since your Philodendron will want less food, water, and sun.
Guide to Growing a Hairy Philodendron: What to Expect
Once you’ve succeeded in keeping your plant alive, here’s what you need to know to make sure your Hairy Philodendron thrives as an indoor houseplant.
Hairy Philodendron Growth Rate and Size
Hairy Philodendrons are relatively slow growers but can grow all the way up to the canopy of the rainforest with time. If you want to keep your Hairy Philodendron small and manageable, you can with cutting and pruning. However, if you encourage growth, the vines can grow up to one meter tall in your home.
During the spring and summer, your Hairy Philodendron will grow white-tipped, burgundy spathes, which look like a curled, cup-shaped leaf enclosing white flowers. These Philodendron flowers grow inedible pink berries with seeds that can grow into more Hairy Philodendrons.
How to Propagate a Hairy Philodendron
If you’re interested in propagating a Hairy Philodendron, you have options.
Planting Philodendron Seeds
The first way is to wait until your Philodendron bears the fruit and seeds mentioned above.
- Remove the seed (or seeds) from the fruit/flower.
- Clean the seed with a wet cloth.
- Dry it completely.
- Place the seed on top of the same soil mixture you use for your Philodendron.
- Ensure the pot is in the right environment, including lighting, humidity, and temperature conditions.
- Let the seed sit for a few days before watering it.
Stem Cuttings in Water
You can also use stem cutting if you don’t want to wait for your Philodendron to flower.
- Use clean shears, scissors, or a knife to cut off the top of the central stem along with a few leaves. It should be about 2-3 inches long.
- Fill a jar with clean water (filtered tap left overnight or distilled bottled water), leaving about 1 inch of space between the waterline and rim of the glass.
- Submerge 1-2 nodes in the water.
- Leave the jar in the appropriate conditions for the Philodendron with bright indirect light and high humidity.
- Change the water every 2-3 days until roots grow (about 3 weeks).
- Move the plant to a small pot with the right soil.
- Repot it about 3-4 months later.
When to Repot Your Plant
Repot your Hairy Philodendron once a year or after it doubles in size, whichever comes first. You’ll know your plant is ready to repot if:
- you can see it has a lot of roots lining the sides of the pot when you take it out
- you’ve noticed growth has stopped or slowed despite proper care
- the soil isn’t retaining water like it used to
Do Hairy Philodendrons Need to be Pruned?
Healthy Hairy Philodendrons do not require pruning but cutting off dead or ugly leaves can make it look nicer—and it can help you control the plant’s growth, too. They naturally shed the oldest and lowest leaves at the bottom but may need some encouragement if they lack nutrients, light, or humidity.
Plant Toxicity: Are Hairy Philodendrons Safe for Pets and Kids?
Philodendron Squamiferum are highly toxic, so you should keep them away from your pets and children at all costs. If ingested, the calcium oxalate crystals in the plant can cause stomach pains, inflammation, and even make you stop breathing.
Hairy Philodendrons can also trigger skin issues like irritation and rashes in some people when caring for them without gloves.
Common Pests, Diseases, and Problems
Although Hairy Philodendrons are easy to care for, there are some common problems that indoor gardeners experience with their Philodendron Squamiferum.
Why isn’t my Philodendron Squamiferum growing?
If you’re Hairy Philodendron has stopped growing, it most likely needs one of the following. Keep in mind that Philodendrons are slow growers, and growth is even slower in the winter months.
It Needs More Light
You want some natural light to come into the room and hit the plant directly but from far away.
It Wants Fertilizer
If you haven’t fertilized in over 6 months, this is likely what you need. If you’re fertilizing more often than every 3 months, it may have too much.
It Needs New Soil
This is the most likely cause for stunted growth. If your plant dries out much faster than usual and wilts often, it probably needs better soil that will retain more moisture. It’s ok to have it in a small pot as long as the soil is the right mix and not too old.
Why are the leaves on my Philodendron Squamiferum turning a pale green?
New growth on a Hairy Philodendron is usually pale green and nothing to be concerned about. However, if the leaves start to lose their color, they may be turning yellow—which is a problem.
Why are the leaves on my Philodendron Squamiferum turning brown and curling at the tips?
Soil that is too dry combined with humidity levels that are too low will cause your Hairy Philodendron to dry out, making the leaves brown on the edges. After a while, they will turn yellow if you don’t start watering more often.
Why are the leaves turning yellow?
There are a few things that can cause your Philodendron leaves to turn yellow.
Not Enough Sun
If your Philodendron is in extremely low light conditions, the leaves may yellow.
Too Much Water
Overwatering the most common cause of yellow leaves. You want the soil to feel damp but not wet.
An Unstable Environment
Soil that alternates between bone dry and soaking wet can also make your Hairy Philodendrons leaves turn yellow.
What are common pests for the Philodendron Squamiferum?
Hairy philodendrons are resistant to many common pests, but they are still susceptible to spider mites and fungus gnats.
You can’t see spider mites with the naked eye, but you will notice colonies that gather on the underside of the plant’s leaves. If you notice yellowing, browning, drooping, or dead leaves, spider mites might be to blame.
If you have a mite infestation coming on, you can wipe the leaves of your Hairy Philodendron gently with rubbing alcohol. You can also use insecticidal soap.
If the infestation is really bad, prune affected leaves and stems and throw them in the trash (do not compost them!). You may also want to quarantine infested plants, so the mites don’t spread to your plants.
Fungus gnats lay eggs in soil where larvae consume your plant’s roots. You’ll know you have them because they fly around. While they’re not harmful to you, they will kill your plant. Your Philodendron might begin to yellow and droop if an infestation lasts for too long.
To keep fungus gnats away, be sure the top of the soil is dry before watering. You should also ensure new plants aren’t infested before introducing them to your other plants. You can use yellow sticky card traps to capture and kill adults and mosquito dunks to kill larvae.
How do I know if my Philodendron Squamiferum has root rot and what to do?
Philodendrons are susceptible to root rot, which happens when you overwater. Here are some signs your plant has root rot:
- you water it often, but it seems like it needs even more water
- the drip tray is always wet
- the pot has no drainage holes
- you notice soft, brown rot on the stem, especially near the soil
- the roots look brown or black and feel mushy or wet
- the roots are fragile and fall off
If you notice root rot on your Philodendron Squamiferum, here’s what to do:
- remove all parts of the infected roots
- wash the remaining roots
- treat the plant’s roots with fungicide
- repot your Philodendron with fresh soil and a clean pot (if using the same one, treat it with fungicide, too)
For cases where the rot has already severely spread, you can save your Philodendron by propagating it.