Philodendron billietiae is a beautiful houseplant that features stunning oversized leaves, which is its most attractive feature.
These have a long, narrow arrow shape that makes them unique.
And, they’re fairly rare as well which makes them even more valuable to collectors. You likely won’t see any growing in common households as only plant enthusiasts will know about it.
The plat itself grows to about 3 feet tall. And, their leaves can easily get to this length as well.
It traces its roots from tropical regions which means that you’ll want to mimic these conditions as much as possible to help it grow optimally.
Due to its looks, it is perfect for adding an exotic touch to your home.
Philodendron Billietiae Plant Care
Your Philodendron billietiae likes bright, indirect light. It is used to this because it grows in tropical forests. In that environment, they get a good amount of light but are kept away from direct exposure of the sun thanks to the larger trees and plants.
As such, your Philodendron billietiae is used to dappled and filtered light.
More importantly, keep the plant away from direct sunlight because too much exposure, long hours or intense rays will cause its foliage to scorch. This will leave you with a sunburnt plant.
The easiest way to keep it safe from this is to position it in an east or north facing window where there is less sun than in the other directions.
It is also worth noting that it can tolerate low light, but only up to a certain point. This means that you can keep it a bit of a distance from the windows as long as the room is bright.
This especially works in rooms where the windows have a southern or western exposures since the sun can get harsh in the afternoons.
Another option is to use grow lights if your home does not receive a lot o light.
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In addition to bright, indirect light, your Philodendron billietiae also enjoys moderate temperatures. Since it hails from tropical regions, it is better able to tolerate warm weather than cold.
In fact, the plant is not frost hardy. Thus, it is not a good idea to leave it outside or grow it in the garden if you experience snow in your area.
It is only hardy to USDA Zones 9b to 11. And, if you live in these areas, you’ll be able to keep it outdoors through the winter without any problems.
Below these regions it is better to grow your Philodendron billietiae as a houseplant or in a container. The latter will let you bring it indoors when once the temperatures drop to above 55 degrees.
As far as specifics go, it does best when temperature is kept between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. It won’t have much of a problem if it gets hotter up to about 90 degrees. But, much higher than that and you’ll start seeing it stress a bit.
On the lower end, it can tolerate down to 55 degrees. Here, you want to be more careful since you have less of a leeway below this.
Once the temperature goes under 50 degrees, your plant will struggle. And, the lower it gets, the more damage it will sustain.
Humidity is actually more important to most Philodendron billietiae owners because light and temperature come somewhat natural for most households.
But, the high humidity the plant prefers does not.
Most homes have humidity between 40% and 50%. But, during the warmer summers or colder winters, the air tends to get dry and drops below these levels. As such, this is when it can become a problem.
Similarly, if you live in dry conditions like the desert, you’ll want to be mindful of your home’s humidity levels as well.
The good news is that the Philodendron billietiae can tolerate average home humidity. Although, it does best in higher moisture. Ideally, it prefers 60% or more.
Giving it this will help it grow faster and well as produce beautiful foliage which are its most attractive features.
As such, I highly suggest picking up a digital hygrometer.
This will allow you to stay on top of what your home’s humidity is. And, it will instantly tell you when the moisture drops or goes up as it fluctuates when the seasons change.
If you find that humidity in your home or a certain room is too low, you can increase it by using of the of the following strategies.
- Grouping plants together
- Keeping the plant in a pebble tray
- Using a humidifier
- Moving the plant to a more humid room like the bathroom or kitchen
The easiest is the last one, provided that there’s enough light in that room.
If you don’t want to move the plant, grouping plants together or implementing a pebble tray is your best bet since both are hands-off methods. Thus, saving your time.
But, if you need to push up humidity levels by quite a bit and want to have better control, a humidifier will give you more precision.
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How Often to Water Philodendron Billietiae
Your Philodendron billietiae thrives in moist soil. This means watering it wen needed. But, avoid overwatering. You don’t want to let the soil get muddy or soggy.
And, the worst thing you can do to the plant is let it sit in water.
This is often a result of a few things.
- Too much watering per session
- Watering when the soil hasn’t dried yet (aka watering too frequently)
- Soil with poor drainage
You want to avoid all of these situations.
Overwatering is the one thing that will kill your plant. Thus, making watering the most important thing to watch out for when caring for your Philodendron billietiae.
More than sunlight, temperature and humidity, this is where things can go really wrong.
In order to avoid this, you want to allow the top 1 to 2 inches of the soil to dry before watering again.
The best way to do this is to stick your finger into the soil down to this depth. Ideally, wait until the top soil is dry more than 2 inches before you water again.
If it is still moist, wait for it to dry a little more before testing again.
Soil for Philodendron Billietiae
Choosing the right soil for your Philodendron billietiae is very important because it affects how much moisture the plant gets.
In addition to your watering, your potting soil will help or hinder drainage.
For example, if you have sandy soil, then water will drain much quicker. As a result, you’re less likely to experience overwatering. But, it can dry out the plant if you don’t water often enough.
On the other hand, clay soil is heavy. And, it will retain more moisture. As such, you’ll need to water less as the soil will hold more of this for longer periods of time.
When it comes to your Philodendron billietiae, it needs well-draining soil that’s able to retain just enough to keep the plant hydrated.
As such, this does not mean it allows the water to drain right through.
Instead, it will allow excess moisture to drain to avoid overwatering. But, hold enough water long enough so the plant’s roots can absorb the moisture it needs to stay healthy.
Well-draining soil is essential for your Philodendron billietiae because it allows oxygen to get it. Too much water on the other hand will clog all the airways.
As a result, this will cause root problems and eventually lead to root rot which you want to avoid at all costs.
The easiest way to achieve the soil your Philodendron billietiae needs is to add perlite to your potting soil. You can likewise use sphagnum peat moss or a peat and perlite combination.
Fertilizer helps your Philodendron billietiae grow by giving it the nutrients it needs. But, be very careful with feeding it too much.
You can do this by giving it too much plant food when you feed it. Or, feed it too often.
One common mistake of many beginners is thinking more fertilizer is better. But, too much can actually damage your plant because fertilizer leaves salt residue in the soil which eventually harms your plant.
More importantly, be aware that you don’t need to feed your plant all year long.
Instead, if only need to do so during its growing period which is spring and summer. During this time, apply once a month diluting the fertilizer to half the prescribed dosage. The latter helps avoid overfertilizing and its side effects.
You don’t need to feed it during the winter.
Your Philodendron billietiae can grow up to 3 feet tall with its oversized leaves making up most of this size.
The good news is, because they grow separately and there aren’t a ton of leaves that sprout up, pruning is very limited. This makes it a low maintenance plant in this regard.
But, be aware that this is a vigorous grower. As such, you may want to prune it to achieve a specific look you want. This is especially true once the foliage start overlapping over one another. Too many of them will make it look a little bit messy.
In addition to this, trim for health reasons.
This means removing any old, discolored or diseased leaves.
Philodendron Billietiae Propagation
Stem cutting is the easiest (and best) way I’ve found to propagate the Philodendron billietiae.
This is simple to do. And, it produces very good success rates.
As such there’s no need to make things more complicated than they need to be.
To propagate your Philodendron billietiae, follow these steps.
- Take a stem cutting that’s about 5 to 7 inches long. You want to pick a stem that is healthy with at least 2 or 3 leaves growing from it.
- Make sure to use a sterile cutting tool to prevent passing any infection.
- Place the stem in a glass or jar of water with the cut end into the water. But, before you do, check to see which leaves are likely to get submerged into the liquid. You’ll want to remove these leaves in order to expose the leaf nodes. That’s where the roots will come out from.
- Replace the water every few days when it see it start to get unclear.
- After 2 or so weeks, you should start to see small roots growing from the cutting.
- Keep the glass under bright, indirect sunlight in a warm spot to allow it to keep growing.
- Once it gets nearly an inch, you can move the cutting into a pot.
- Prepare a small pot with well-draining potting soil. Then, transplant the stem cutting there and water the soil to keep it moist.
- In the next few months, you should see the plant start sprouting.
How to Repot Philodendron Billietiae
As the plant grows, you’ll need to repot it once the roots start to peek out of the drainage holes. Your Philodendron billietiae is not fond of being in a tight spot.
As such, when this happens, it is time to repot.
On average, this comes out to around every 2 or 3 years depending on how fast your plant grows.
The best time to repot is spring as this will give the plant enough room to start growing again during the season.
You do want to avoid repotting when it is very cold or hot because the transplanting process puts stress on the plant. And, ho or cold conditions only add to this.
While you can hold off repotting until spring, don’t hold off for too long. Because keeping it in a compacted situation also stressed out the plant.
And, a stressed plant becomes more susceptible to pests and diseases much like we are more prone to getting sick if we’ve been under a lot of stress lately.
When repotting, choose a container that is at most 2 or 3 inches bigger than the current one. This will give your plant enough space to grow without giving it too much space.
Also, take the opportunity to replace the spent soil and replace it with fresh one.
As with other philodendron, your billietiae is toxic. Thus, be aware of where you place it if you have young children and pets.
The plant contains calcium oxalate crystals which are insoluble. Ingesting them can cause gastrointestinal issues as well as mouth, tongue and throat pain and irritation.
With your Philodendron billietiae be wary or mealybugs and aphids. These are the two most common pests that will attack your plant.
It is important to regular inspect your plant because you cannot completely prevent pests from coming. As such, while keeping your plant healthy and cleaning it regularly are your first lines of defense, inspection is always needed.
This will let you catch any infestation before it begins or spreads.
It is much easier to get rid of pests when there are only a few of them.
You can use insecticidal soap or neem oil. Both of which work very well. But, the more pests there are, the longer it takes to eradicate them.
As far as diseases go, overwatering is your number enemy.
This causes root rot and leaf infections.
The former is a result of your plant’s roots sitting in water for too long. The former is caused by wetting the leaves without allowing them to dry.
As such, to avoid root rot, be mindful of waiting until the top soil dries before watering. Also, make sure to use well-draining soil to help reduce this risk.
As for wet leaves, don’t water the plant from above. Instead, water onto the soil. This way, the leaves don’t get soaked.
If you mist your plants, be careful not to over wet the leaves when you mist.
Finally, make sure to water when the sun is still out. Sunlight and good air circulation are essential for preventing this because they help excess moisture dry faster.