The Philodendron Martianum is also known by the names Philodendron Fatboy and Philodendron Fat Belly because of its swollen petioles.
This philodendron plant starts out like a regular small plant but it will grow into a large, wide bush-like plant. Its leaves grow in a rosette formation. They have a leathery texture and green color.
It is a native of southeastern Brazil.
How do you care for the Philodendron Martianum? Ideal conditions for this plant include indirect sunlight or partial shade. It grows happily in a container or in the ground.
It thrives in warm, humid environments and will require regular feeding during its growing season to reach its potential.
Philodendron Martianum Plant Care
The Philodendron Martianum will grow into a large plant especially outdoors. And to help it achieve its large beautiful green foliage, it needs medium to bright indirect light.
That said, it tolerates low light quite well.
That’s because it is used to living in the under the shade of the thick forest canopy. Therefore, depending on the positioning of that certain plant in the jungle, it can get bright, medium or low filtered light.
This is what makes the Philodendron Martianum easy to care for indoors.
It won’t mind different lighting environments.
But again, for optimal growth medium to bright indirect light is ideal.
This makes an east facing window ideal for the plant. You can also place it on a west facing window. However, try to avoid a spot too near a south facing window.
A southern exposure gets the most light of all the 4 directions. But bulk of this occurs late in the morning to mid afternoon when the sun is most intense.
Therefore, you want to keep the Philodendron Martianum at least a few feet from the window since the intensity is just too much for the plant.
Ideally, keep the plant away from the sun’s rays.
Too much exposure will turn its leaves yellow. Or it can even cause them to burn leaving you with brown leaves.
Outdoors, partial shade is ideal. Try to avoid full sun as this is too harsh on the plant as well.
The Philodendron Martianum is native to the tropical rainforests of Brazil in South America. Therefore, it is accustomed to warm to hot weather all year round.
As such, the plant prefers temperatures between 60 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit. This is basically the high and low range that it will tolerate without experiencing slower growth.
But if you want it to grow optimally, try to target 68 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
This is where the plant feels most comfortable.
Because the Philodendron Martianum Fatboy is used to warm weather, it does not mind the heat. This makes hot climates or summers less of a problem.
Your only goal during this time to so make sure it does not dry out which can lead to dehydration.
The more concerning thing to watch out for is the cold weather.
Since its native habitat is the tropics, it does not see cold weather, snow or frost. Therefore, it has low tolerance for anything cold.
In fact, you want to keep it away from anywhere with temperatures below 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Additionally, any thing that produces cold chills, drafts of breezes is a no-no as well.
However, it is worth noting that the while you normally should bring the plant indoors before winter arrives, there are a few exceptions to this.
If you happen to live in states where the sun shines and the weather stays moderate between November and March, then the plant will happily live outdoors.
This is why the Philodendron Martianum likes USDA Hardiness Zones 9 to 11. States like California, Florida and Texas all have warm, sunny weather throughout the year.
One aspect of the tropical rainforest is that it is very humid. That’s because tropical regions are humid to start with.
However, since the rainforest receives a lot of rain on a daily basis, this further increases the moisture level.
For this reason, the Philodendron Fat Belly prefers high humidity between 60% to 80%. This is where the plant is happiest. It is also where it will grow better and produce larger, more vibrant looking foliage.
The good news is that it can tolerate lower humidity with no harm.
As long as you keep humidity at 40% and higher, it won’t get into trouble, at least not with air moisture.
That said, this can still be challenging for many homes since the average indoor humidity for households is usually 20% to 50%.
So, depending on where you live, dry air may or may not be an issue.
If you happen to live somewhere with dry air, it is a good idea to have a hygrometer.
This affordable device will let you keep track of humidity any time and you can carry it between rooms to check as well.
It helps in two ways.
One you can take a quick glance daily to known what the humidity is. So, you can instantly tell if some plants need help or not.
If humidity happens to be low, you can use the hygrometer as a guide as you increase humidity to see if you’re doing enough to help the plant out.
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How Often to Water Philodendron Martianum
Water is one of the unique things about the Philodendron Martianum Fatboy. That’s because it is able to tolerate drought thanks to its thick leaves and fat petioles.
This distinguishes it from other philodendrons which can only tolerate short periods of dryness.
As such, it is very important not to give the Philodendron Martianum fat belly too much water. Its moisture stores make it even more prone to overwatering.
In general, philodendron don’t like excess water to begin with.
With the Philodendron Martianum, you need to be a bit more careful.
Otherwise, you’ll end up yellow leaves. And once it is overwatered, there’s always the risk of root rot.
As such, the plant only needs watering about once every 10-12 days. As always, I will tell you to see what the plant is telling rather than just follow the figures.
That’s because those figures will change as the weather gets hotter or colder when the seasons change.
This means the most effective way to water the Philodendron Martianum is to allow the soil to dry out between waterings.
This way, you avoid overwatering altogether.
Philodendron Martianum Potting Soil
Again, the Philodendron Martianum Fatboy’s sensitivity to overwatering means that you need to make sure to use the right soil.
The best soil for the plant is loose, well-draining and chunky. Ideally it should be high in organic matter.
The combination of chunk and loose allow for more air to reach the roots. This will let they get all the oxygen they want.
On the other hand, good drainage ensures that excess water is quickly drained. This ensures that the roots don’t end up sitting in too much moisture for very long periods of time.
A simple way to achieve this is to use an Aroid mix.
This comes pre-prepared by the store you buy it from. So, just open the bag and use it.
Note that aroid mixes are not standard by any way. Thus, each store or nursery will have their own soil mix recipe using different ingredients at varying amounts.
I mention this so you don’t get alarmed when you compare products.
Odds are, no two products will be made from exactly the same combination and percentages. But that’s okay, as long as they achieve the desired function.
That’s what’s great with gardening. There are many ways to achieve the same thing.
On the other hand, if you prefer to make your own DIY potting mix at home, here area couple of recipes that work well.
- 1 part potting soil
- 1 part orchid bark
Or you can go with:
- 1 part potting soil
- 1 part coco chips or coco fiber
Both soil mix recipes work well for the Philodendron Martianum. And you can adjust and add more drainage or chunk if you want.
The potting mix is there to hold some moisture to keep the roots hydrated.
On the other hand, coco chips, coco fiber and orchid bark are all chunky which not only increases drainage but also allows for good aeration.
If you need more drainage and chunk, just add a few handfuls of these to adjust.
Like water, the Philodendron Martianum also absorbs and store nutrients thanks to its fleshy parts. Therefore, it does not need a lot of fertilizer.
In fact, if you feed it with a rich organic potting mix, you won’t need to apply fertilizer and the plant will happily grow big and stay healthy.
Another good option is to use compost or worm castings as top dressing. Adding a quarter inch or half inch layer during spring annually will allow the soil to slowly absorb the nutrients.
This is a great way since the plant is able to get a slow release of the nutrients over time instead of one big dose in an instant.
In most cases, home gardeners will use regular synthetic fertilizer.
This works well as long as you don’t overdo it. With this plant, this is especially important.
If you decide to use synthetics, use a balanced formula like 10-10-10 diluted to half or quarter strength. Only apply once a month during spring and summer.
That’s all the plant needs.
Don’t feed it in fall or winter. And there’s not need to feed it weekly as well.
Another option is to use fish emulsion is which is not only affordable but also organic.
In most cases, the Philodendron Martianum will grow in the ground or in a container. Either way, it will get bigger over time.
However, keeping the plant outdoors will not only let it grow taller and wider but also allow it to produce large leaves.
That said, the size it gets to outdoors is not idea (too big) for indoor gardening.
So, if you keep the plant indoors, you may need to prune it regularly to limit its size.
Also, while the Philodendron Martianum Fatboy is not a fast grower, it will eventually produce a lot of leaves. So, you may need to prune it for manicuring purposes.
At the very leaves trim of a little here and there to shape it.
How to Propagate Philodendron Martianum
The Philodendron Martianum fat belly can be propagated in a number of ways. However, regular stem cuttings is not one of them.
Instead, root stem cuttings or division are the most effective ways to produce more Philodendron Martianum plants at home.
The good news is that both methods are fairly simple. And they work really well too.
Propagating Philodendron Martianum from Root Stem Cuttings
Root stem cuttings is very similar to stem cuttings. But in this case, you’ll need to dig up some of the roots as well.
- Begin by looking for healthy stems. Each stem should have at least 2 or 3 leaves. You can take a single stem or a stem which branches out to more stems.
- Once you’ve chosen the stem or stems, trace it down the soil.
- Now, you’ll need to dig into the plant. You won’t need to unpot or take the plant out of the ground. Instead, you can use your hands or trowel just to remove soil so you can see the stem’s roots.
- With a sterile knife (preferably a slightly bigger knife), you’ll cut the roots that the stems come with. This gives you a root stem cutting.
- Once you have the cutting, you can plant it into a pot with well-draining soil.
- Water the plant and keep it in bright, indirect light.
Since the cuttings already have roots, stems and leaves, you don’t need to wait for it to grow anything.
Instead, in a short while, it till start producing new shoots and grow more leaves.
Propagating Philodendron Martianum by Division
Propagating the Philodendron Martianum by division is somewhat similar to root stem cutting but also different.
Here, you’ll be separating the root ball into sections.
You can divide the plant into 2 or more divisions. It all depends on how many new plants you want to get from the mother plant.
- Begin by unpotting your Philodendron Martianum.
- Once out of the pot, remove excess soil so you can clearly see the root system.
- Decide how many sections you want to split the mother plant. Then figure out which areas do you want to separate them at.
- The key is to make sure each division has enough roots, stems and leaves. The roots also need to be able to support the size of the leaves.
- Then separate the root ball as planned. You can use your hands if the soil is easy to take apart. Or you can use a sterile knife and cut the sections apart.
- Finally plant each division into their own pots with well-draining potting mix.
Again, since you now have semi-grown plants, they should grow soon after you’ve potted them.
How to Repot or Transplant Philodendron Martianum
Repotting the Philodendron Martianum is not a regular chore. But as it gets bigger, it will take more work to move it from one pot to another.
Since the plant has a large and wide root system that’s fairly strong and robust, you will need a good sized pot.
So be ready to use something like a 10 inch pot at some point. And if you let it grow even more, the be prepared to use even bigger ones.
Note that repotting is like you giving the plant a “go signal” to grow more.
That’s because when you repot it to a larger container, the extra space allow its root system to get bigger. This lets the plant grow further as well.
But if you feel that you’re happy with the plant’s size and don’t want it to grow, you can repot it in the same container.
To make it fit, prune some of the roots.
Don’t go overboard with this. Just a little bit off the bottom of each. The repot the plant in the same pot with fresh soil.
Doing this each time instead of going up in pot size lets you maintain a healthy plant of the same size over a long period of time.
Is It Toxic/Poisonous to Humans, Cats & Dogs
The Philodendron Martianum is toxic when ingested. More importantly, it is toxic to people and animals.
This means it is something you want to be careful with if you have young children, cats or dogs at home.
Ideally, if this is the case, keep the plant away from their reach. Or place it somewhere they don’t often go.
Philodendron Martianum Problems & Troubleshooting
The Philodendron Martianum is usually pest-free. As such, you may never have to deal with a pest problem with this plant.
That said, note that mealybugs, aphids, scale, thrips and mites are the most common pests that like to feed on the plant’s sap.
Therefore, it is important to still inspect the plant on a regular basis for these.
If not, a simple pest problem can turn into an infestation which becomes very difficult to treat.
In case you do spot any of these bugs on your Philodendron Fatboy, you can use neem oil or insecticidal soap to get rid of them.
Because of its ability to store water, root rot becomes a potential issue.
That’s because you cannot water the plant like you do your other houseplants. If you do, you’ll likely end up overwatering the plant because it already has water stores kept in its petioles and leaves.
As such, it is very important to make sure to wait until the soil has dried before you water the plant.
Additionally, be careful with how you water.
Don’t wet the leaves without allowing them to dry sooner than later.
Otherwise, you may find the plant hit with bacterial or fungal disease.