The philodendron Florida ghost (Philodendron pedatum) is a tropical climbing vine with unique looking leaves. Its foliage looks like a somewhat stretched out maple leaf.
But, with varying colors that make it very lovely to look at. You’ll see in in green and white as well as different shades of that combine the two.
Younger philodendron Florida ghost start off with white foliage, which them slowly transitions as they move towards maturity with the leaves becoming a mix of yellow and green. By the time it matures, it has green leaves.
The leaves grow at the ends of long, thin stems which combined with the foliage give it a very distinct appearance.
The plant grows from between 6 to 12 feet outdoors but is much smaller in your home averaging between 2 and 5 feet.
In addition to its physical appearance, it is likewise good to know that the plant helps purify the air.
Philodendron Florida Ghost Plant Care
Philodendron Florida Ghost Light
The philodendron Florida ghost thrives on bright, indirect sunlight. It is used to this condition as it lives under the branches and leaves of large trees and bigger plants in the rainforest.
As such, the light it receives is dappled by the forest’s upper canopy. And, it also stays away from contact of the sun’s rays.
Thus, to produce optimum growth for this plant at home, you want to replicate this type of lighting as closely as possible.
This means keeping it away from direct sunlight. Long periods under the sun’s rays will damage its leaves and scorch them. But, make sure the plant still receives enough bright light.
To do so, it is a good idea to keep it at least a few feet away from windows if you’re growing it in the east, west or south. In the latter two, you want to add some kind of cover like sheer curtains.
That one plant it won’t need extra protection or distance form the window is the north. But, if you live In a cold region, check to see if there’s enough light to keep the plant happy, especially in the cooler months.
The plant is a fairly slow grower, So, it won’t be bothered by a little lack of light. However, you don’t want the location to be too dim.
An alternative to this are grow lights. This lets you control what kind of light it receives at what intensity by varying the distance of the lamps and how long of an exposure it receives.
It is likewise worth noting that the philodendron Florida ghost is a day-neutral plant. That is, it does best when the length of days (light) is equal to the length of nights (dark time).
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Philodendron Florida Ghost Temperature & Humidity
The philodendron Florida ghost does best when temperature stays between 65 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Although, it will be able to tolerate slightly lower and higher. Thus, you have a bit of leeway down to 55 degrees and up to as high as 95 degrees.
But, going past either extreme will make it struggle. The plant is not frost hardy. So, if you live outside of USDA zones 9b to 11, it is a good idea to keep it as a houseplant or grow it in a container. The latter gives you the flexibility to bring it indoors once the weather drops under 55 degrees.
When it comes to humidity, it can tolerate a fairly wide range. As long as you need humidity inside 40% to 80% it will be happy.
Since most homes have humidity between 40% and 50%, you normal room humidity works well of the plant. However, because its natural rainforest habitat is quite humid, the plant does grow better when air moisture is in the middle or higher end of that range.
One thing to watch out for is browning leaves. This is often a sign that the air is too dry. As such, you want to increase humidity around the plant.
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Watering Philodendron Florida Ghost
Your philodendron florida ghost thrives when soil is kept moist. But, be careful not to overwater it or keep the soil muddy or soggy. Both are signs that there’s too much water being stored by the soil.
That said, you also don’t want to let the soil dry out or stay dry for too long. Prolonged periods of dryness will dehydrate your plant. Done often enough or long enough, it will damage your philodendron Florida ghost.
The best way to know when to water is to test the soil. Allow the top 1 to 2 inches to dry before you water again. You can tell by sticking your index finger into the soil.
If it feels dry, then it is time to water. If it feels moist or wet, wait a few days then test again.
By doing this, you don’t have to worry about remembering or following any watering schedule. This helps a lot because you’ll be watering the plant more often in the warmer months when it is actively growing. And, much less in the cooler months when it goes dormant.
Often the plant will give you signs of how it is feeling.
- Wilting and dry looking foliage. This are signs that it is time to water the plant. It is dry by not overly dry yet.
- Yellow leaves. Overwatering. The less yellow the better since it hasn’t been in this condition too long or too badly. However, once you see this, immediately scale back on watering.
Your philodendron Florida ghost does best in well-draining soil. Keep in mind that this is different from sandy soil which very light and easily lets water pass through. This will allow the moisture to drain while you’re still watering.
You want to avoid both heavy soils and sandy soil for opposite reasons. The latter will be too fast draining that your plant will not be able to absorb enough moisture or nutrients from the soil.
On the other hand, clay soil or something retains too much moisture will stay on for too long causing the plant to sit in water for hours and hours on end. This will cause it to develop root rot.
Instead, you want soil that holds enough moisture to let it stay hydrated but drains excess water so it doesn’t get waterlogged.
This is as closely as you can mimic rainforest conditions.
You can create your own potting mix that fits these requirements by using perlite, bark and activated charcoal. You can likewise use sphagnum peat moss.
In addition to well draining soil, the Florida ghost does best when soil pH is kept slightly acidic.
Finally, you can support its growth with wooden sticks, a moss pole or something vertical it can crawl up. Think of the structure as proxies for the trees they climb up against in the rainforest.
Giving it this helps it simulate its natural habitat.
Philodendron florida ghost is a foliage plant. Its leaves are its most attractive feature.
As such, it does well with fertilizer that’s high in nitrogen. So, when looking for a product check the N-P-K values. Nitrogen is the first number of the three.
You want a good nitrogen value to support foliage development.
However, be aware that while fertilizer does help this slow grower, you also want to be careful not to apply too much or too often.
It is better to fertilizer regularly at half the recommended strength. This will prevent too much concentration which can lead to root burn.
Additionally, always water when you feed your plant. moisture helps distribute the plant food evenly so no area gets a heavy “load”. Similarly, it reduces the concentration.
Both prevent fertilizer burn from happening.
One sign that your plant may not be getting enough sustenance is pale colored leaves. But first, check to see if it is under direct sunlight. If so, scorching will turn the leaves pale or bleach them. Unfortunately, that’s damaged foliage.
If not then it comes down to lack of feeding, or sometimes sunlight. This means you can up plant food a bit and see how it responds.
Philodendron Florida Ghost Pruning
Your philodendron Florida ghost doesn’t need a lot of pruning. Thus, don’t prune it just for the sake of doing so. Or, trimming because you have a schedule for it.
If pruning isn’t necessary, wait and let it be. Allow the plant to grow on its own.
That said, the plant can get large. If you keep it indoors, this can take up too much room. As such, do trim the plant to limit is size and control its shape.
You will likewise want to remove dead, discolored leaves along with any leggy stems. Both are not healthy for your plant.
The best time to prune your Philodendron Florida ghost is in the spring or fall. And, when you do prune, make sure to you use sterile cutting tools. This will prevent any bacterial infection from being transferred to the plant.
You want to start with the longest, which are often also the oldest. Also remove stems with no leaves, yellow leaves and dead ones.
Stem cutting is the easiest and the most used method of propagating the plant. This is something you can do if you want to grow more of the same plant as propagation via cuttings produces clones of the mother plant.
If you have a healthy, nice looking philodendron Florida ghost, it is definitely better to replicate it that to get another from the garden center.
How to Propagate Philodendron Florida Ghost from Stem Cuttings
Before you begin, have a few items ready.
This includes sterilized pruning shears, a jar of water, fresh potting soil and a small pot.
- Now, look for healthy stems that are 4 to 6 inches long with at least 2 leaves on hem.
- Cut the stem making a clean, decisive snip. You don’t want to use a blunt blade or make take more than one snip to cut the stem.
- Insert the stem cutting in water. Change the water every few days to keep it clear.
- After 3 or 4 weeks, you should see roots developing. The benefit of water propagation is you can see the roots grow right before your very eyes.
- Once the roots each about 1 to 2 inches, move it to a small pot filled with fresh, well-draining potting mix.
- If the cutting won’t stand on its own, use small wooden skewers or sticks to hold it up.
- Water the soil and keep it moist.
- After about a moth or 5 weeks, gently tug on the stem cutting. It should resist a little bit. That means roots are developing.
Philodendron Florida Ghost Transplanting & Repotting
Since the philodendron Florida ghost is a slow grower, you won’t need to repot it more than once every 2 or 3 years.
The only time you’re need to is when the plant outgrows its current container. This will become very visible as its roots will start coming out from the holes of the pot.
When this happens, it is time to repot. You don’t want to leave the plant in this condition because the Florida ghost is not fond of tight spaces. As such, it will begin to experience more and more stress as it stays in there longer.
Stress, likewise reduces its resistance to pests and disease making it more vulnerable to them.
Keep the plant out of reach of young kids, cats, dogs and other pets. It is toxic and will cause unpleasant mouth and digestive tract side effects.
If ingested, call your pediatrician or veterinarian and tell them what happened.
Pests and Diseases
When it comes to pests and diseases, the plant is fairly resistant.
However, every so often it can experience mealybugs, thrips, scale, whiteflies, scale and spider mites. These critters can damage your plant in different ways. For the most part, they’re after the sap of your philodendron.
Regular inspection is the best approach with since it allows you to spot them early on. This will mean shorter courses of treatment.
Speaking of treatment, you can use insecticidal soap or neem oil.
With disease, root rot and fire blight are two problems you want to avoid.
The former is fungal and caused by overwatering the soil. The latter is from a bacteria that’s enters your plant. Thus, you want to use sterilized pruning shears and other tools to ensure not pathogens are passed onto the plant when working on it.