The Philodendron Gualeanum is a rare, beautiful aroid that is very difficult to find. It is native to the mountainous forests of Ecuador in tropical and subtropical South America.
Sadly, the plant is endangered and at risk of habitat loss.
As such, if you can find one, it is a good idea to propagate it and keep it as a collector.
How do you care for the Philodendron Gualeanum? The plant thrives in medium to bright indirect light. Keep it away from very intense direct sunlight.
It is toxic to people and animals. So, avoid positioning it where kids and pets can get to it. Warm weather and humid conditions are ideal for optimal growth.
Philodendron Gualeanum Plant Care
The Philodendron Gualeanum will grow best in medium to bright, indirect sunlight. It will likewise survive in low light.
However, low light conditions are not ideal if you want the plant to produce it beautiful leaves.
Similarly, there’s always the risk of placing it somewhere with too little light. If this happens, the plant will become leggy.
Its growth will slow down or even stunt if the light is insufficient. You’ll also see fewer, not to mention smaller leaves as well.
Therefore, try to keep the plant in a well-lit location.
This will allow it to grow and produce larger, more vibrant leaves.
Like other plants, the Philodendron Gualeanum uses light for photosynthesis whereby it creates its own foods in the form of sugars. These sugars are what it uses for energy to grow and push out new leaves.
So, the more light you give it, the better it will grow.
That said, avoid very strong, harsh or intense light. The plant cannot tolerate this kind of intensity. And it will turn its leaves yellow or damage them.
If the light is too strong, you’ll eventually see black or brown burn marks on its leaves.
Note that the plant can tolerate this kind of light and will survive. But its leaves will become ugly.
In the end, you’ll end up pruning the foliage and hoping they grow back.
As such, avoid direct sunlight during mid-day. This is when the sun is the strongest and hottest. The plant can tolerate about 2-3 hours a day or so of this.
But anything more, its leaves will suffer the consequence.
Thus, it is just better to keep it in indirect, filtered or dapple light.
The Philodendron Gualeanum prefers temperatures between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
It is a warm weather loving plant as it is used to tropical conditions.
This is why it does best in climates that are consistently warm and sunny. Although, in its native habitat in the mountainous forests of Ecuador, the plant gets quite a bit of shade from the large trees.
As such, it has gotten accustomed to more moderate to warm temperatures.
However, it still does not have any issues with higher temperatures. You can leave it in 95 degree Fahrenheit environments and it will not experience any issues or harm.
On the other hand, you do want to be more cautious about cold conditions.
The plant has low tolerance for the cold. And it can only withstand weather down to 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Therefore, avoid leaving it in cold areas where there may be breezes, drafts or winds that give the plant chills.
Outdoors, it does best in USDA Hardiness Zones 9 to 11.
That’s because these regions have warm, sunny weather all year round. So, it will happily stay in a pot in your patio or grow in the ground in your yard or garden.
But in colder regions, it is better suited as a houseplant.
This way, you can keep it warm even during winters. This is very important as it won’t survive the winter weather outdoors.
You can still bring it outside between mid-spring to mid-fall when the temperatures are above 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Make sure to take it back indoors once things get colder.
And don’t forget to debug the plant each time you bring it in from outside. This is one of the most common ways of bringing in pests and other unwanted things to your indoor garden.
The Philodendron Gualeanum thrives in humidity. But it is able to tolerate lower humidity better than some other philodendron varieties.
That said, it prefers humidity between 50% and 70% if possible.
This is where it feels most comfortable. And it is the range where the plant will grow faster and produce more vibrant foliage.
However, it can tolerate average room humidity in most cases (30% to 50%).
This means that you likely won’t need to take any special measures to keep it happy. Although, there are some exceptions. This includes desert areas or those with similar conditions of dry air.
The main thing to look out for are the plant’s leaves.
As long as they look healthy, then there’s no need to do anything. It means the plant is adjusting quite well to its environment.
However, if you see brown leaf edges and tips, then it is a sign that humidity is insufficient.
The air is too dry which is why moisture cannot reach the extremities of the plant (which are the edges and tips of the leaves).
If this is the case, you have a few options to help the Philodendron Gualeanum out.
You can move it to the bathroom. Or if you have many houseplants, group them together.
On the other hand, you can mist the plant every now and then. Another option is to put it on a pebble tray.
Of course, you can use a humidifier as well.
Keep in mind that you don’t need to push up the humidity in your entire home or even in the whole room where the plant is.
As long as the air surrounding the plant has more moisture, this will work.
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How Often to Water Philodendron Gualeanum
The Philodendron Gualeanum likes moist soil. But avoid soggy, mucky soil which means that the plant is getting too much water.
This philodendron has moderate watering needs. And it can tolerate some dryness.
Just as importantly, it is susceptible to overwatering and root rot.
Therefore, it is best to stay on the drier side. This is much safer as it keeps the plant away from harm. Additionally, it also recovers faster from lack of water.
The thing you want to avoid with less water is allowing the entire root ball to dry out completely. Never let this happen for long periods of time or regularly as it can eventually damage the roots.
Other than that, the plant is able to quickly bounce back from periods of dryness. Usually after you water it, it will perk back up in around 24 hours.
With overwatering, that’s not the case.
Overwatering can lead to root rot.
Since root rot occurs beneath the soil, it is difficult to diagnose until the symptoms reach the leaves and stems.
But by then, the roots have sustained at least some kind of damage.
This is why it is important to always check the soil before you add water.
Always allow the top 2 inches of soil to dry before adding more water. Never do so before then.
It is also a good idea to check the leaves as they can give you a hint of what’s happening. Yellow leaves usually mean the plant is overwatered.
On the other hand, brown, dry leaves often indicate lack of water.
If you’re not sure, always check the soil to see if it is dry or wet. This will give you confirmation on whether you should water or not.
It is always important to pay attention to watering because the changes in the weather make it very tricky.
During the warmer months, the plant will need more regularly watering. But in winter, it is important to reduce your watering frequency because it takes much longer for soil to dry.
Philodendron Gualeanum Potting Soil
The Philodendron Gualeanum needs well-draining soil that is loose and porous. This is very important as it provides you a layer of safety from overwatering.
Never use heavy soils or anything dense. Soils that can become compacted are likewise no-no’s.
These will hold too much moisture that will leave the roots sitting in water for very long periods.When this happens, the roots will suffocate and die. Then they will rot.
Instead, make sure the soil you use has good drainage.
This will allow excess liquid to quickly drain so the roots can stay relatively dry. Well-draining soil also holds a bit of water which keeps the soil moist, not wet.
Loose, porous soil also lets oxygen easily reach the roots.
For best growth, soil that is rich in organic matter with soil pH between 5.0 and 6.0 is ideal. This will give the plant natural slow-releasing nutrients. The soil pH will also allow the plant to efficiently absorb the nutrients.
The simplest way to get the perfect soil for the Philodendron Gualeanum is to look for an Aroid mix.
This kind of soil is available in online plant shops as well as some nurseries. But not everyone carries it as they need to make their own. So, it can require a bit of searching.
If you prefer making your own soil mix at home, here’s a great recipe that works really well.
- 30% potting soil
- 40% bark
- 20% peat
- 10% perlite
Then add some handfuls of charcoal as well for good measure.
This combination makes the soil retain some moisture but also provide very good drainage and aeration.
If you prefer something simple and more minimalistic, you can use:
- 2 parts peat
- 1 part perlite
Feed the Philodendron Gualeanum using a balanced fertilizer.
Only feed it during the warmer months from spring to early or mid fall. Stop feeding once the weather gets colder as the plant’s growth will slow down with lower temperature.
Once is month feeding is all the plant needs.
And dilute the dose by half strength if you have the plant in a pot growing indoors. If it is in the ground outdoors, use the full strength as recommended by the instructions on the product.
The most important thing about fertilizer is never to overdo it.
This is very tempting to do sine common sense will tell us that more plant food means faster growth and a bigger plant.
But that’s not what happens because commercial fertilizers contain salt which is toxic to plants if too much accumulates in the soil.
So, if you overfeed the plant, you’re not only giving it more nutrients but also more salts.
This can eventually burn the roots damaging them.
Thus, only apply the needed amount with the recommended frequency. And don’t apply when the plant is not actively growing.
How to Propagate Philodendron Gualeanum
Philodendron Gualeanum propagation is best done via stem cuttings.
This makes it easy to propagate the plant at home. And it is something you should do if you get a chance to own this plant.
That’s because it is rare and endangered. So, it is always a good idea to have some backups in case something happens to the original one you have.
After all, it won’t be easy to find another one.
The good news is that the Philodendron Gualeanum roots quite well from cuttings.
And you can propagate it in water as well as in soil.
The best time to propagate this plant is during spring to early summer.
Here’s how to propagate Philodendron Gualeanum from stem cuttings.
- Choose healthy stems. When deciding on the cuttings, make sure each cutting has at least 1-2 nodes and a few leaves on it. The nodes are essential. And propagation success depends on it.
- Use a sterile cutting tool and snip off the stem just beneath a node.
- Then plant the cutting into soil. Remove the bottom leaves to exposure other nodes as well.
- Water the soil and keep it moist. And place the potted cutting in bright, indirect light.
It will take about a month for the cutting to develop enough roots.
Since the plant is already in soil, all you need to do is take care of it like the mother plant. And when it outgrows its pot, then repot to a larger one.
Similarly, you can propagate in water instead of directly planting it in soil.
Water propagation works just as well. Although, I prefer going with soil propagation since it saves me the effort of having to move the cutting from water to soil later on.
Nevertheless, I know many gardeners who prefer water propagation because it allows them to see the roots as they develop.
This way, they can tell early on if something isn’t going right.
With water propagation, place the stem cutting in a jar filled with water. Remove any leaves that end up in the liquid.
Place the jar in bright, indirect light.
In a few weeks, you will see quite a few roots growing from the stem cutting. Wait until the roots reach about 1-2 inches long or more.
Then move them from water and pot them up in well-draining soil mix.
How to Repot or Transplant
The Philodendron Gualeanum only needs repotting every 2 or 3 years. Therefore, don’t repot it regularly.
It does not like being moved from its home or current environment.
As such, only transfer, transplant or repot when there is a need to.
Outside of emergency situations like overwatering, root rot, uncontrollable pest infestations and a few more, the only time you need to repot then plant is when it has gotten root bound.
When this happens, the roots get crowded in the pot which limits it growth. And over time, the plant will get stresses.
Additionally, if the roots take up most of the space in the pot, there’s less room for soil.
This means that the smaller volume of soil won’t be able to hold sufficient moisture or nutrients to keep the plant’s growth sustainable.
So, unless you water regularly, the soil will dry out very quickly.
You can tell when the Philodendron Gualeanum has outgrown its pot as its roots will start peeking out of the holes at the bottom of the plant.
Similarly, roots can pop up from the surface of the soil.
If either happens it means it is time to repot the plant to a larger container.
Choose a pot that is 2 inches wider and has drainage holes at the bottom. Also have enough fresh, well-draining soil to replace the spent soil.
The best time to repot is during spring to early summer.
Is It Toxic/Poisonous to Humans, Cats & Dogs
Yes, the Philodendron Gualeanum is toxic. Like other philodendron varieties, this species contains calcium oxalate crystals.
Therefore, the leaves, stems and all the other parts of the plant are toxic when ingested.
So, keep it away from young children, cats and dogs to avoid any accidental consumption.
Philodendron Gualeanum Problems & Troubleshooting
The Philodendron Gualeanum is quite resistant to pests. However, you still want to be careful with bugs as they can come and attack the plant.
The most common occurrences happen when the plant is weak, stressed or not feeling well.
Similarly, dusty leaves attracts these insects which like the presence of dust particles.
So, keeping the plant healthy and regularly cleaning its leaves will help keep pests away.
The other two common causes of pests in houseplants are when you first bring the plant home from the store and when you bring it indoors from the yard or garden.
In these cases, always debug the plants before you take them indoors.
The most common pests that attack the Philodendron Gualeanum include aphids, mites, mealybugs and thrips.
Use neem oil or insecticidal soap to get rid of them as soon as you see any.
Overwatering is usually the biggest problem when it comes to diseases. That’s because it the root cause of other issues.
The most serious of which is root rot.
Root rot can eventually destroy the plant if it is not discovered early enough. That’s because the roots rot underneath the soil which means you cannot see them.
And if too many roots have rotten, the plant won’t be able to absorb enough water or nutrients to sustain itself.
Therefore, always check for overwatering and look for signs like yellow leaves and wet soil.
If unsure, unpot the plant and inspect the roots.
Because of its danger, the best thing you can do is avoid overwatering to prevent root rot.