The Philodendron Barrosoanum is a rare plant that is very highly sought after especially by collectors.
It is native to the tropical forests of South America specifically Ecuador, Venezuela, Brazil and Peru.
It is a fast climbing epiphyte that is best known for its large, tri-lobed foliage.
How do you care for the Philodendron Barrosoanum? For optimal growth, place the plant in medium to bright indirect. Avoid very intense light as well as direct sun.
It thrives in warm, humid locations. And it enjoys consistently most soil. However, never overwater the plant and use well-draining soil. This will reduce the risk of overwatering and root rot.
Philodendron Barrosoanum Plant Care
The Philodendron Barrosoanum will grow best and keep its healthy green color when kept in plenty of light. The key is to make sure that the light is indirect, filtered, dappled or diffused.
This makes medium to bright, indirect light ideal.
And the best places to find this indoors is near window where the sun’s rays never touch the plant.
The reason for this is that while the Philodendron Barrosoanum loves good light, it cannot take very strong, intense light.
It will appreciate the morning sun and late afternoon sun coming from the east and west, respectively.
However, light from a southern window will be too much since majority of this is from the hottest times of the day.
Since the Philodendron Barrosoanum is an epiphyte that is native to the tropical forests of South America, it lives in the wild below the huge trees, their branches and leaves.
As a plant in the forest floor, it also means that it gets the benefit of the shade from these larger plants and trees. Thus, it is spared from the strongest rays of the sun.
This is why it cannot tolerate more than 1-3 hours of direct sunlight on a daily basis.
If you leave it in this of environment, you’ll see its leaves get discolored and later wilt. In some cases, the leaves will also get scorched which leaves you with black or brown burn marks.
Therefore, avoid long hours of direct sunlight on a daily basis.
Outdoors, keep the plant away from full sun. Instead, place it in partial shade for optimal growth.
On the other hand, the Philodendron Barrosoanum can survive and well in low light.
However, keep in mind that it won’t grow as fast or as big in this environment. Similarly, you likely won’t see as many leaves and the leaves won’t be as big or as impressive.
The Philodendron Barrosoanum can tolerate temperatures between 50 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit. These are its limits where the plant will be okay.
For ideal growth and development, try to maintain temperatures between 60 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit indoors.
This is where it will grow at its best and feel most comfortable.
And while the plant can tolerate higher temperatures, the hotter it gets, the more you need to make sure it is properly hydrated.
The Philodendron Barrosoanum hates drying out completely.
That said, the cold is a bigger problem.
As much as possible, try to keep it in temperatures of 5 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.
It will tolerate 50 degrees Fahrenheit and will have issues once you hit around 45 degrees Fahrenheit or less.
You’ll see its growth slow down or even stunt.
Its leaves will turn yellow and the plant will weaken and wilt.
By the time you get to between 30 to 35 degrees Fahrenheit, it will begin sustaining cold damage.
Therefore, avoid cold spaces or locations as much as possible.
This means that it is not a good idea to keep the plant outdoors during winter. It is not frost hardy. And won’t live to see the spring if it is left there.
Instead, bring the plant indoors once the temperature nears 50 degrees Fahrenheit around mid-autumn.
Note that there is an exception to this.
The Philodendron Barrosoanum enjoys USDA Hardiness Zones 9 to 11 because the weather is perfect for it. Therefore, if you live in these areas, you can keep the plant outdoors all year long.
You can leave it in a pot in your patio or backyard. You can even plant it in your garden. And it won’t have any issues or problems.
In addition to warm weather, the Philodendron Barrosoanum loves humidity.
Ideally, keep humidity between 60% to 75%.
If you can give the plant this kind of environment, it will reward you with faster growth, larger leaves and more vibrant color.
However, it will also do well in lower humidity.
In most cases, it won’t have any issues with average room humidity.
But I do suggest trying to maintain humidity of 40% and above it possible. Although, it can tolerate levels slightly lower than that as well.
This means that you probably won’t need to do anything special to accommodate the plant at home.
The exceptions are if you live in very dry places or somewhere like the desert. This includes states like New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada in particular, which are the 3 states with the lowest humidity.
If your home consistently has humidity in the high 20s or low 30s, then you may need to help the plant out.
Similarly, watch out for cold winters which are notorious for dry air.
Dry, hot summers can also bring down humidity.
The simple test is to monitor the plant’s leaves. As long as they look healthy, are growing and maintain good color, then it means that are or have adapted well to your home’s conditions.
But if you see leaf edges and tips turn brown, dry or crispy, it means the plant needs help with humidity.
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How Often to Water Philodendron Barrosoanum
The Philodendron Barrosoanum enjoys soil that is consistently and evenly moist. But be careful not to overdo it such that the soil stays soggy, mucky or wet.
The problem here is that it is prone to overwatering and root rot.
This is why excess watering or moisture is bad for the plant. And gardeners will tell you to err on the side of caution.
This means it is safer to stay on the dry side.
That’s because the consequences are nowhere near as bad.
Watering too frequently will eventually leave the roots sitting in too much water. When this happens, they will suffocate since the water will push out all the air in the soil.
If the roots are left in this condition for too long (meaning the soil does not drain fast enough), they will eventually die from suffocation.
Dead roots will eventually rot.
What’s worse is, dead or rotten roots don’t function anymore.
So, the plant will not be able to absorb as much water or nutrients as it needs. And the longer the plant stays in an overwatered state, the more roots will die.
Eventually, the remaining healthy roots won’t be enough to support the plant.
This means the plant will get weak from dehydration and malnutrition. And then die.
Therefore, stay on the drier side of things.
And the best way to do this is to wait for part of the soil dry between waterings.
I like to wait until the top half of the soil dries up before adding more water.
But if you’re an aggressive waterer, you can water the plant once the top 2 inches of soil has completely dried. Never do so before that as it will place the Philodendron Barrosoanum at risk of overwatering.
Alternatively, you can use a moisture meter to test the soil for moisture.
Philodendron Barrosoanum Potting Soil
The Philodendron Barrosoanum will grow best in moist, well-draining, rich organic soil.
This combination ensures that the roots stay hydrated. But they don’t end up sitting in too much liquid. At the same time, they have organic, slow-release nutrients in the soil to help them grow.
The plant also does best in soil pH between 5.1 to 6.0.
This will allow the nutrients to be readily available to its roots so they can efficiently absorb them.
On the other hand, avoid heavy, dense, wet, or mucky soils.
These tend to retain too much moisture putting the plant at risk of overwatering and root rot.
Similarly, avoid dry, very sandy soils as well. These soils will let too much moisture drain too quickly. As a result, the roots and plant will end up underwatered.
The best soil I’ve found that provides all the features needed by the Philodendron Barrosoanum is an Aroid mix.
Note that there are many different recipes you’ll see.
As such, don’t get caught up in the actual composition. As long as the soil is designed for aroids, it will do well because it keeps soil moist but has good drainage and aeration.
Alternatively, you can also grow the plant in 100% sphagnum moss.
Does the Philodendron Barrosoanum Climb?
Yes, the Philodendron Barrosoanum is a natural climber. It is epiphytic which means that in its native habitat, the plant does not grow in soil.
Instead, it climbs up and clings onto larger plants often trees and tree trunks and grows on them.
While it is not a parasite, the plant does use the tree or large plant as its “home”.
And it will get nutrients from the debris that fall as well as the water in the air.
As such, you don’t necessarily need to grow the plant in a pot with soil mix. Instead, you can grow it on a tree, or let it climb of something.
Similarly, in a pot, it will really appreciate it if you give it a totem or anything for support. This will allow it to climb vertically upward to simulate how it grow in the forest.
And as a reward for this, it will grow faster, get taller, produce more leaves. And the leaves will be larger as well.
This will make your Philodendron Barrosoanum more impressive with more pronounces lobes.
In addition to sunlight, water, soil and humidity, feeding your plant with fertilizer will likewise let it grow optimally.
Give it a balanced houseplant fertilizer diluted to half strength once a month during its growing season which are spring and summer.
Make sure that the product you get has both macronutrients and micronutrients.
The macronutrients will support the plant in most of its growth. But it will also benefit from the micronutrients.
Like most philodendron plants, calcium and magnesium are very important because they keep the Philodendron Barrosoanum healthy.
And if you see its leaves get pale or have a pale color, check your fertilizer to sure it contains both.
Deficiencies in either or both will cause pale colored leaves.
The Philodendron Barrosoanum can grow to between 6 to 8 feet.
Like most plants it will get considerably bigger when grown outdoors in the garden compared to in a pot indoors.
However, the plant will also get tall and big if you give it a pole or vertical support to climb on.
It is a fast growing philodendron plant that likes to climb and will drape itself on a support or object you give it.
And indoors, it will be a good sized plant the impressive leaves that reach 8 inches long.
Note that you’ll need to let it get big in order for the leaves to reach proportional size. If you limit its growth and size, its leaves will also be limited in their length, width and distinctive lobes.
Since the plant’s most stunning parts are its large, gorgeous leaves, pruning is not needed. In fact, you’ll either do very little to no pruning at all.
When young and sparse, you can pinch it to encourage more growth.
Some will prune to limit it size. But I don’t like to do this because the plant becomes more amazing and impressive if you let it grow out.
However, do remove any yellow, brown, damaged or discolored foliage.
How to Propagate Philodendron Barrosoanum
Philodendron Barrosoanum propagation is best done through stem cuttings.
Stem propagation is done by choosing a healthy stem. You can take one or more stem cuttings depending on how many new plants you want to grow.
But the most important thing when choosing stems is to make sure that each one has at least one node and a few leaves on it.
The node is a requirement.
And your cutting will not successfully propagate without any nodes.
So, even when buying cuttings, make sure the cuttings you’re paying for has at one node.
Once you’ve chosen stems with nodes, cut them using a sterilized pair of pruning shears. Snip the stem about a quarter or half inch below the node.
Then plant the cutting or cuttings into a pot with well-draining soil.
Water the soil and keep it moist. Additionally, place the pot somewhere near a window with no direct sunlight.
It usually takes about a month or so for the cutting to root.
How to Repot or Transplant Philodendron Barrosoanum
The Philodendron Barrosoanum will grow into a good sized plant indoors or outdoors.
It is also a fast grower with a strong root system.
This means that you’ll need to repot it at some point. But never repot it for the sake of repotting it.
Also, don’t repot the plant annually.
Instead, wait for it to tell you when it needs repotting. And this will occur when it outgrows its container.
You’ll easily be able to tell when it needs repotting by looking at the pot.
At the bottom, once you see roots coming out from the holes under the pot, it means the plant is searching for more room to grow.
Similarly, roots that pop up from the soil surface or creep out from the nooks can crevices between the soil and the pot means the plant wants more space to grow.
Note that the Philodendron Barrosoanum will produce quite a few aerial roots. These are woody, roots that grow slightly above the soil.
They will get long and big in some cases.
These are different from soil roots found in the pot. So, don’t confuse one for the other because they perform different functions.
Another reason that only repotting when needed is important is because it helps maintain the plant’s strong root system.
If you keep moving the plant, the roots will need to keep getting established to the new soil each time you move it. This will affect the strength of the root system and the plant’s foundation.
The best time to repot is during spring to early summer.
If possible, add a support, pole or totem to let the plant climb as well.
Is It Toxic/Poisonous to Humans, Cats & Dogs
Yes, the Philodendron Barrosoanum is toxic to people and pets because it contains calcium oxalate crystals.
These are poisonous when ingested and cause many side effects including inflammation, vomiting, swelling, pain and more.
So, avoid leaving it near dogs, cats and even young children.
Philodendron Barrosoanum Problems & Troubleshooting
Mealybugs, aphids and spider mites are the most common pests that will attack this plant. While the plant is not a pest magnet, it can experience bug problems at times.
Therefore, it is important to take proper measures to avoid it.
Often, pests occur when the plant is stressed, weak or sick. Similarly, it can get pests from the store or when you leave it outdoors.
So, always debug the plant before bringing it into your home.
Cleaning its large leaves also helps keep insects away.
The other part of pest prevention is regular inspection. Here, spotting bugs early helps eradicate them faster.
So, don’t let them be just because you only see 3 or 4 tiny pests.
These will multiply very quickly.
Overwatering, waterlogged soil and root rot are the biggest problems you’ll experience here. Additionally, bacterial and fungal infections are a close second.
All of these are caused by excess moisture.
In many cases, it is adding too much water or watering too often that causes this.
Never water the soil unless it is partially dry.
Similarly, don’t wet the leaves and leave them wet. Water drops, lack of light and ventilation will lead to leaf diseases.