I know what you’re thinking – how am I supposed to pronounce this? Is this a real plant name or a Harry Potter spell? Before you get scared away, do not let the name lead you away from such an underrated and rare plant! Pronounced var-she-VICH-e-eye, you may have never heard of this rare aroid. In this care guide, we walk you through why you should welcome this tropical plant into your home!
Native to Central America, these Philodendrons were discovered in nature growing over rocks in tropical forests. This species’ leaves grow in from its trunk as thin, blade-like stems with feathery leaves on top. If you are lucky enough to catch a Philodendron Warszewiczii in bloom, the flowers are a stunning white! Ever since discovery in 1855, the Philodendron Warszewiczii has been a well-enjoyed tropical plant that can still be difficult to come by.
You will love this rare Philodendron and its snowflake-shaped leaves, low maintenance care needs, and its uniqueness to any other Philodendron plant.
Caring for Philodendron Warszewiczii
Philodendron Warszewiczii care mirrors the needs of most philodendrons. Grow your Warszewiczii in medium or bright indirect light. This means that there should not be too much direct sunlight shining on the leaves. If your skin can get sunburned in any given area, then the plant’s leaves can as well.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, remember that plants have a way of communicating to us when they need a change. Too much sun and the leaves will burn on the edges, becoming crispy in a brown or dark red hue. Too little light and the leaves will fade into a lighter green or yellow color.
A loose well-draining soil mix is ideal for any healthy Philodendron. To make sure your soil circulates plenty of air to the roots, add well-draining ingredients to your base potting soil. For example, if you usually pot with compost from your backyard, take four parts of compost and mix in the following:
- 1-2 parts perlite for drainage and air circulation
- 1 part horticultural charcoal to prevent harmful bacteria
- 1 part orchid bark for air circulation
The objective here is to make sure that the soil does not stay waterlogged and swampy after watering. If your pot retains too much water, the roots will suffocate and die off from what is known as root rot. Don’t worry, we will circle back to this later.
Sometimes, growing plants can feel like more of an art than science. So, do not be afraid to make this recipe your own. Experiment and mix it up, so you can find what kind of well-draining mixture works best for you and your plants!
Watering a Philodendron Warszewiczii correctlyis crucial to keeping your new plant companion healthy! To tell if your Philodendron is ready for watering, feel the top of the soil. If the first few inches (or centimeters) feel dry to the touch, then it is time to water your potted Warszewiczii. Otherwise, if the soil still contains some moisture, then you can check back in a few more days.
When watering any tropical plant, use an all-or-nothing approach. This means that when you do water, make sure ALL of the soil is covered. You should be confident that all the soil has absorbed water. Next, drain the excess water out of the bottom of the pot. While the soil is wet, it should not be swampy or sitting in a pool of water for more than 15 minutes.
Do not repeat this process until the soil feels dry again. Watering only a little bit every now and then will only do more harm than good.
The reason watering is on this particular schedule is due to the fragility of the roots. The Philodendron’s roots, as well as water, need to breathe oxygen. If they are watered too much and too often, air cannot come to the roots, which suffocates them. In this process, the lack of air and excess water invites a fungal infection known as root rot. Root rot is one of the most common way plants are killed, spreading from the roots to the leaves.
Prevent rotting foliage with proper watering habits. Only water when the soil is dry, and drain out excess water from the flower pot.
Philodendron Warszewiczii prefers warm temperatures that remind them or their tropical home in Central America. The minimum temperature a Philodendron Warszewiczii can tolerate is 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 Celsius).The commonly accepted “Room Temperature” is perfect for indoor growth, staying somewhere between 50 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit (10-30 in Celsius).
Avoid sudden drops in temperature, as this can shock the Philodendron Warszewiczii. Just like with people, plants do not like sudden changes! Keep everything consistent and avoid cold temperature drops, especially in the winter, by growing your Philodendron away from drafty windows or harsh heat vents.
When it comes to discussing preferred humidity, the uniqueness of the Philodendron Warszewiczii comes into play.
Generally, humidity is a necessary factor for tropical plants to thrive as much as a warm temperature is mandatory for growth. While the Philodendron Warszewiczii both enjoys and tolerates humidity,dry conditions are not a problem at all. After all, the Warszewiczii was first discovered growing in dry forest zones.
Should you wish to group this Philodendron in a humid room with your other plants, 50-70% humidity is an acceptable range. Otherwise, less humid rooms do not need to be left out of the equation when finding a new home for the Philodendron Warszewiczii.
There are no specific needs for fertilizing the Warszewiczii compared to other Philodendrons. When looking for the right fertilizer to use, go with a well-rounded fertilizer mix for tropical houseplants. We prefer commercial products over DIY fertilizer recipes because the formulas are balanced, tested, and far more effective than homemade mixes.
When it comes to fertilizer there is one golden rule: less is more. Fertilizer should only be applied during spring and summer, when the Warszewiczii is actively growing taller and fuller.
Too much fertilizer can lead to fertilizer burn. Commercial fertilizer is often sold in very concentrated amounts, so follow the instructions on the label before application. You may need to mix the formula in water before adding straight to the soil, so prevent the overuse of fertilization when starting out. Begin with small and less frequent doses to ensure your Philodendron has time to adjust to the nutrient boost.
Be ready for rapid growth with the Philodendron Warszewiczii. Once adjusted to its new home, these Philodendrons grow quickly and confidently.
During the fall and winter, growth on the Warszewiczii may become dormant. If you notice no new growth during the cold season, this is very normal. New leaves and stems should be coming in as soon as the weather warms back up. No need to worry!
The Philodendron Warszewiczii can be propagated through cuttings. It is a simple and quick way to turn one of these rare houseplants into two, two into four, and so on!
Try taking a cutting where the stem has multiple growth nodes and aerial roots. Place the new cutting in water or straight into soil to grow new roots. You do not even need to use rooting hormone powder, as growth should take place in 1-2 weeks shortly afterwards.
Repotting and Pruning
Since Philodendron Warszewiczii grow so quickly, they may need a new pot to grow in after a couple months. Carefully pick up the pot and check the bottom drainage holes. If you see roots growing out of the bottom, then it is time to repot your plant.
Choose a new pot that is a few inches (or centimeters) larger than the current pot. Your new nursery pot should be larger and wider than your current pot, along with bottom drainage holes. Fill the bottom of the new pot with some well-draining soil.
Remove your Warszewiczii from its current pot.This may take a bit of effort to lift, especially if overgrown and tightly bound. Gently pull the roots, allowing them to stretch and bend out of their current contorted shape. When done correctly, this should feel like you are giving your Philodendron roots a massage!
Set your Warszewiczii in its new flower pot and cover with soil. Remember: repotting is a big adjustment for any indoor potted plant. Allow your Philodendron to adjust for a couple days to get used to its new environment.
If repotted and still overgrown, you may choose to prune the Philodendron back a bit. Always use disinfected gardening shears if you choose to give the Warszewiczii a haircut. After all, any cuttings with growth nodes at the bottom can be propagated!
All plants in the Philodendron family are toxic to dogs, cats, and small children when ingested. Unfortunately, the Warszewiczii is no exception. By eating or chewing on the stems and leaves, a toxic property in the plant, known as calcium oxalate crystals, causes pain and irritation for the mouth, lips, and throat.
Symptoms could be mild, such as a brief upset stomach, or could lead to an emergency room visit for a severe reaction.
Be mindful when growing this plant around pets and small children, keeping it well out of reach. As always, consult your veterinarian or nearest emergency room for related issues and concerns. We are the experts in plants, not pets!
Common Issues and Solutions
Why are the leaves turning yellow?
A common issue you may run into is wilting foliage and yellowing leaves. This is usually a sign of overwatering due to a fungal infection in the roots. If this is the case, be mindful when watering and keep the soil on the drier side before adding an extra drink.
Why are the leaf edges turning brown?
Brown and crispy leaves can tell us two possible things wrong with the plant. Your Philodendron is either (1) receiving too much sunlight or (2) is underwatered. Pay attention to how dry the soil feels, and how much light is directly shining on the Philodendron leaves. You may need to move your Warszewiczii into the shade or water much more frequently to revive growth.
The Philodendron Warszewiczii is vulnerable to common houseplant pests. One of the most common and easiest-to-spot pests are mealybugs. At first sight, mealybugs look like tiny pieces of cotton. These white fuzzy bugs can hide in the nooks and crannies of plants, feeding on the sap of indoor and outdoor houseplants. If you find mealybugs, wipe them off with a towel or cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol as soon as you see them. Use an insecticide regularly until mealybugs no longer reappear.
Other common pests include aphids and spider mites, which look like tiny moving dots. They may be red, yellow, white, black, or brown, depending on which species you are lucky enough to stumble upon. Treating infested Philodendrons with a effective pesticide is essential to prevent insects from eventually killing your coveted houseplant.
Erwinia Leaf Spot
Erwinia Leaf Spot is a bacterial disease that causes flaws onto Philodendron leaves and stems. They usually manifest as yellow translucent spots that spread across leaves. The main cause of Erwinia Leaf Spot is when bacteria finds its way into your Philodendron Warszewiczii – usually where your plant has recently been pruned or propagated.
To prevent Erwinia leaf spot, remember that cutting a plant is the equivalent to an open wound. To protect bacteria from entering, use clean and disinfected shears any time you take a cutting from your Philodendron Warszewiczii.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Are Philodendron Warscewiczii Rare?
Yes! This is one of the most difficult philodendrons for collectors to get their hands on.
Within the houseplant community, it is commonly debated which plants truly are or are not rare. Some plant resellers often call common plants “rare” as an attempt to make more money or gain confidence from customers. Regardless, the Philodendron Warscewiczii is indeed commercially rare when it comes to tropical plants and Philodendrons.
Where can I find Philodendron Warscewiczii, and for how much?
Due to the rarity of this Philodendron, you may have to shop around for a while before finding the best deal. We recommend asking around at your local plant nurseries that are known to sell rare plants. Otherwise, your best option is on the Internet, purchasing from a plant store or reseller.
Be prepared to pay a pretty penny! Currently on Etsy, a popular source for buying and selling houseplants, prices range from $150 to $700+ before shipping and fees.
Should I mist my Philodendron Warscewiczii?
This is another debated question when it comes to houseplants. We do not encourage misting for two key reasons. First, misting a plant does not improve humidity long term. Second, excess water sitting on the leaves of indoor plants leads to fungal infections, causing much more harm than good. After all, the Philodendron Warscewiczii can tolerate drier climates in their natural habitats, so there is no need for misting the leaves.
Does the Philodendron Warscewiczii climb?
Yes! Philodendron Warszewiczii likes to climb. In nature, they are found wrapping around rocks and trees in the forest for stability, growing up to 12 feet (3.6 m) tall! While we cannot guarantee you will also be growing a 12-foot Philodendron, we can still welcome this growth in a potted plant environment.
To encourage your Philodendron to grow and venture out, make sure your soil is loose and not tightly packed in. Add a moss pole that your new plant can wrap around for even taller and healthier growth!