The Philodendron Little Phil is one of the smaller, more compact philodendron varieties.
It also grow differently from its relatives in that it is not vining or a climber. Instead, it looks more like a shrub as its leaves grow out from the middle of the plant.
Similarly, its size does net get as big as most philodendron plants because the leaves don’t get as big or as long.
If that’s not enough, the plant also differentiates itself from its genus as it can tolerate low light and full shade without a problem. The same is true with low humidity.
All these features make is well-suited for indoor growing.
How do you care for the Philodendron Little Phil? The Philodendron Little Phil prefers medium to low light conditions. It does not mind full shade either. But direct sunlight.
The plant enjoys warm temperature but is more amenable to lower humidity compared to most philodendrons.
Make sure not to overwatering it and keep it in well-draining soil as it is susceptible to root rot.
Philodendron Little Phil Plant Care
The Philodendron Little Phil can tolerate low light than most other philodendron varieties. This is in part because of its smaller leaves.
In fact, outdoors, it can stay under heavy shade while growing and staying healthy.
As such, if you don’t have lots of light coming into your home, this is a great choice. Additionally, its smaller, more compact size (relative to other philodendrons) makes it easily fit on tabletops and counters.
That said, the Philodendron Little Phil does well a wide range of lighting conditions.
It will be happy with bright, medium or low, indirect light. Outdoors, it likewise will enjoy partial sun, partial shade or full shade without any problems.
However, the one thing you want to avoid is direct sunlight. Similarly, keep it away from very strong, intense light especially of that during the middle of the day.
The Philodendron Little Phil does best in temperatures between 60-75 degrees Fahrenheit. Because of its tropical origins, it will also have no problems tolerating warmer conditions.
However, avoid leaving it in 95 degree or higher temperatures because the heat can dehydrate the plant and cause stress.
Another thing worth noting is that the father away from its ideal temperature range you go, the slower it will grow. And after a certain point it will stop growing.
This is especially true as the weather gets colder.
Because it is used to sunshine and warm weather all year round, it cannot withstand temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Therefore, avoid leaving it there for long periods of time or in colder environments.
Fortunately, the plants’ preferred temperature is the same with that most homes have. So, you likely won’t need to modify your thermostat to keep it happy and healthy.
That said, you do want to be wary of appliances and other things that can cause temperature to fluctuate indoors.
This includes air conditioners, heaters, radiators and open windows where cold drafts can enter.
Outdoors, the Philodendron Little Phil is best suited for USDA Hardiness Zones 9 to 11. Since these locations get sunshine and warm conditions all year round, it will happily grow outside without any problems.
But in colder regions, be sure to bring the plant back indoors once the temperature drops near 50 degrees around autumn.
Another interesting feature of the Philodendron Little Phil is its humidity preference. And while it does prefer humidity levels of 50% to 60%, it does not have much issues with lower humidity in the home.
This makes it different from most philodendron varieties that need humidity maintenance.
However, it is still a good idea to keep it away from areas where humidity consistently stays in the 20s.
If you live in a very dry area, you may need to help the plant out by using a humidifier, misting or a pebble tray. Take your cue from the plant as its leaves will get crispy and brown on the tips and edges if the air gets too dry.
Otherwise, it means that your Philodendron Little Phil has no problem with your home’s current humidity.
How Often to Water Philodendron Little Phil
The Philodendron Little Phil does not need a lot of water. In fact, it can tolerate drought.
However, avoid letting the soil completely dry out as this will leave the roots without moisture and sustenance (they can only absorb fertilizer through water).
Also, the plant will suffer due to dehydration.
That said, the most important thing to watch out for with this plant is overwatering.
It does not like wet feet. Therefore, watering too much or too often will eventually cause problems.
The most serious of them is root rot. Although bacterial and fungal infections can occur as well due to excess moisture.
So, the best way to water your Philodendron Little Phil is to always check the soil before watering.
Wait until the top 2 inches of soil has dried out before adding any water. Doing so allows you to avoid overwatering and possibly root rot.
You can use your index finger to gauge this. Just stick your finger into the soil down 2 inches from the surface. If the soil feels moist at that depth, don’t water yet.
Wait a couple of days then check the soil again.
If you have a hard time feeling for moisture, you can use a wooden chopstick instead. Just stick the chopstick into the soil.
When you take it out, you’ll see the water line which will indicate how far the moisture in the soil is. This will let you know if it is time to water or to just wait a bit longer.
You can likewise use a moisture meter to check how much moisture there is in the soil.
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Philodendron Little Phil Potting Soil
The Philodendron Little Phil needs light, well-draining soil that allows enough aeration.
This prevents overwatering and waterlogging. Both of which put its roots at risk of root rot or infection.
In addition to drainage, good aeriation is likewise important since the roots need a balance of water and air to stay healthy.
Thus, you want to avoid too much of one or the other.
- Too much water means the roots drown in moisture leading to root rot.
- Too much air means the roots are very dry which will dehydrate the plant.
Thus, the best soil for the Philodendron Little Phil allows you to balance both of these.
The simplest way to get this kind of soil is just to go to your favorite nursery or online store and get a bag of Aroid mix.
This kinds of soil has all the ingredients and is blended to achieve the features mentioned above.
And you can use it for other aroids as well which not only include philodendrons, but also anthuriums, monsteras. alocasia, pothos and caladiums.
On the other hand, in case you want to make your own potting mix instead, here’s a great recipe I like to use.
While this takes a bit more work since you need to buy the ingredients separated, it allows you to customize different blends and adjust the percentages if needed. Plus, it is cheaper than buying a pre-mixed bag.
To make your own potting soil for Philodendron Little Phil, mix:
- 1 part potting mix
- 1 part orchid bark
- 1 part perlite
- ½ part agricultural charcoal
Blend well in a bowl. Then fill a pot with it.
While the Philodendron Little Phil is a compact plant, it still does need fertilizer. This gives it the nutrients to grow fast and produce lots of lovely green foliage.
Here you have a few options.
You can go with a slow-release fertilizer. This gives you more margin for error because the entire dose is not immediately released into the soil.
Instead, the nutrients (and the salt) are released over the span of week and months.
Slow-release fertilizer also let you feed the plant 1-2 times a year making it very low maintenance.
However, most home growers will use standard houseplant fertilizer.
If you do, go with a balanced., liquid fertilizer. This gives you a good amount of the essential nutrients. And it also lets you dilute the dose by just adding water.
Here, apply once a month during spring and summer. And dilute the application by half strength to reduce the risk of overconcentration.
Don’t feed the plant during winter.
Following these steps will allow you to avoid over fertilizing which can damage the plant’s roots over time.
Alternatively, you can also use fish emulsion or fish fertilizer if you want to save a little money. This works just as well. Follow the instructions on the label of the product.
Note that fish emulsion does have an initial smell when you apply it. So, it is best to do this in an open area and not a closed room. The smell disappears once it dries.
The Philodendron Little Phil is a fast grower that can grow to between 2 to 4 feet high.
Thus, as far as philodendrons go it is small and compact in size. However, its name can be a bit misleading since the plant is not that small at all.
But if you keep it in a container and prune it regularly, you should be able to easily maintain a size of around 18-24 inches, which makes its size easier to manage inside your home.
Thus, you can start the plant out on tabletops or counters. But it will eventually do best in the floor due to its size.
Because the Philodendron Little Phil produces lots of leaves coming out from the center, it will get dense and bushy over time.
And the bigger the plant gets, the longer its leaves will grow.
Therefore, you do need to prune it every so often. Trimming will be mostly on two counts.
Once is to cut excessively long leaves. And the other is to reduce the plant’s overall size if you don’t want it to get too big.
Also, remove any discolored, diseased, damaged, or dying leaves.
How to Propagate Philodendron Little Phil
The best time to propagate the Philodendron Little Phil is spring or early summer.
You can likewise propagate the plant via stem cuttings or root division. And each has their own functions.
Stem cuttings are easier. And you can grow more new plants with them because the plant has more stems.
Since the Little Phil is a non-climbing philodendron, you won’t see long vines you can take for cuttings. Instead, you’ll need to look at the base of the plant where you’ll see the shoots. These will be your cuttings.
Root division requires a bigger plant since you’ll be splitting the mother plant into 2 or more smaller new plants. As such, you cannot just keep propagating it this way without allowing it to get bigger during the time in between.
However, division is also one of the best ways to limit the size of your plant.
This allows you to keep the Philodendron Little Phil small and compact to easily fit in your living room or home.
How to Repot or Transplant Philodendron Little Phil
The Philodendron Little Phil will need to be repot once every 1-2 years. If you keep it in a pot, it will be easy to see this visually as the plant will outgrown the container.
But to make sure, it is always a god idea to check to see if there are roots coming out from the bottom drainage holes of the pot.
Once they do, it means it is time to repot.
The best time to repot is during spring and early summer.
Is It Toxic/Poisonous to Humans, Cats & Dogs
Yes, the plant is toxic to cats, dogs and even people. It is its sap that contains the calcium oxalate crystals. Therefore, the plant is not poisonous when its outer later is not broken.
This is why chewing, ingesting or consuming the leaves or stems is toxic.
Doing so can cause a variety to digestive tract issues including mouth swelling, difficulty breathing, vomiting, nausea, excessive drooping and pain.
Philodendron Little Phil Problems & Troubleshooting
As with other houseplants, pests are always a threat.
While the Philodendron Little Phil is quite resistant to pests, you nevertheless need to regularly inspect the plant since these bugs can still attack it.
This is especially true when the plant is weak, stick or stressed. As such proper care is necessary to reduce the risk of pests as much as possible.
In case you spot any pests, isolate the plant and start treatment immediately.
The most common bugs that will bother this plant are mealybugs, spider mites, aphids and scale. Fungus gnats can also occur if there is excess moisture.
Treat them with neem oil or insecticidal soap.
The early to spot them the faster they are to get rid of.
Root rot is the #1 thing you want to watch out for. That’s because it can destroy your Philodendron Little Phil if the problem is not detected early enough.
Since root rot is caused by wet soil due to overwatering or waterlogging, it is important to take special measures to avoid both situations.
This means you should not water the plant too frequently, make sure to use well-draining soil and a pot with drainage.