The Philodendron Melinonii is a rare aroid. It will grow into a large plant with huge, stunning leaves that extend outward thanks to the thick wide stems.
Note that there is also a Philodendron Melinonii variegated plant, which has a similar look.
The difference between the two is that the variegated Philodendron Melinonii has yellow and lime green patterns on its leaves whereas the regular Philodendron Melinonii has solid green foliage.
While the plant looks rugged and touch, it is actually easy to care for.
It is native to the tropical rainforests of South America.
How do you care for the Philodendron Melinonii? For optimal growth, give it plenty of indirect or filtered light, warm weather and good humidity. Don’t forget to fertilize the plant during its growing season.
The plant enjoys moist soil but be careful not to overdo it since it is susceptible to overwatering.
Philodendron Melinonii Plant Care
The Philodendron Melinonii does well in various lighting conditions including low light. But for the best growth, give the plant bright, indirect light. It will likewise be happy with medium lighting.
In low light, it is important to be aware of a few things.
One is that the plant won’t grow as fast or produce leaves as large as those in brighter locations. More importantly, you want to avoid dim or dark areas as the plant’s growth will slow down or even get stunted.
Finally, if you own the Philodendron Melinonii variegated version, low light is not ideal since the variegations mean it needs more light.
To explain the difference…
The Philodendron Melinonii has solid green leaves which allow it to tolerate low light much better.
On the other hand, the Philodendron Melinonii variegated plant has yellow patterns in addition to the green. So, if you own the latter, keep it away from low light.
That said, while both plants like good lighting, they cannot tolerate very strong, harsh or intense light.
The reason for this is that they are epiphytic plants that grow under the forest canopy in the wild. Therefore, the leaves and branches of larger plants overhead block out the brunt of the sun’s rays.
Therefore, the Philodendron Melinonii is used to dappled or filtered light.
Indoors, this translates to indirect, filtered, dappled or diffused light. Avoid direct sunlight especially during noon to mid-afternoon when the sun is most intense.
If it is exposed to more than 2 or 3 hours a day to this, the leaves will turn yellow or get pale. They can likewise get scorched as well.
Outdoors, the ideal lighting is partial shade or slight shade. Again, it cannot tolerate full sun.
The Philodendron species likes temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. This is when it feels most comfortable because the condition is similar to what it gets in the forest.
Note that while the plant is native to tropical regions, it gets a good amount of shade from the forest canopy. Therefore, it is able to stay in moderate temperature.
Additionally, the regular rains help keep the environment under the shade of the trees more regulated.
That said, the Philodendron Melinonii has no problems with higher temperatures. It can live in 95 degree Fahrenheit weather without harm.
And this is what it does in the homes of growers in Southeast Asia and South America where you’ll find the plant most.
On the other hand, the thing you want to watch out for is the cold.
The Philodendron Melinonii is not cold hardy. That’s because there are no winters in the tropics. As such, the plant is not accustomed to cold weather.
This is why you want to keep it away from temperatures below 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything colder and the plant will struggle.
This is the reason why it is never a good idea to leave the Philodendron Melinonii outdoors in the winter. Make sure to take it back indoors and keep it in a warm location through the cold season.
The only exception to this is in USDA Hardiness Zones 9b to 11.
These areas have consistently warm, sunny weather throughout the year even from November to March. So, the plant will happily live outside.
Humidity is very important for the Philodendron Melinonii. It likes high humidity preferably between 60% to 75%.
Again, this is because of its tropical origin. The rainforests keep the environment damp. Also, regions near the equator are not only known for the warm weather but also their humidity.
Thus, the plant is used to living in this condition.
The good news is that it can tolerate humidity of 40% and slightly lower without harm. This makes it somewhat easier to grow in homes.
I say somewhat because not all homes will still be able to maintain this level. A lot depends on where you live.
So, if you happen to live somewhere with dry air, it is important to give the plant a hand.
The most common way to fix low humidity is to get a humidifier. But it is not free and requires some maintenance as well.
Many home growers mist their plants as an alternative. But I’m not a fan because it requires a lot of work and time since the effects are temporary.
So, if you plan on misting your Philodendron Melinonii, be ready to mist anywhere from twice a week or more depending on how low humidity is in your home.
Thus, my preferred way is to use a humidity tray or pebble tray. The two methods do the same thing with slightly different setups.
Another thing I do for some plants is to given them showers once every 2 weeks or so. While it takes some effort and you have to let the plant drain afterwards, showering removes the dust on the leaves and helps keep pests away as well.
So, it is multifunctional.
That said, the choice if really up to you on how you want to increase humidity around the plant if needed.
How Often to Water Philodendron Melinonii
The Philodendron Melinonii is an epiphytic plant that is native to the tropical rainforests of South America.
What this means is that while the plant enjoys moist soil, it is susceptible to overwatering. That’s because its roots don’t like staying wet for long periods of time.
The reason is epiphytes keep their roots in the air and use them more for climbing and clinging onto trees and larger plants.
Since it rains a lot in the rainforest, the roots get wet regularly. This means they get lots of water and hydration.
However, because the roots are exposed in air and not buried in soil, they dry up fairly quickly due to ventilation and air circulation.
So, the roots have a problem is they stay wet for long periods in soil.
Similarly, they don’t like drying out.
Therefore, avoid these two instances as much as possible.
Of the two, the second is easier. As long as you don’t let the soil completely dry out, you won’t have any problems. Additionally, the plant is quickly able to bounce back from dryness.
But it has more issues with too much water.
When kept wet for long periods of time, the roots become susceptible to rotting. And root rot can kill the plant because once the roots stop working, the plant cannot get nutrients or water from the soil anymore.
So, only water the plant after part of the soil has dried.
At the very least, wait until the top 2 inches of soil has dried before you add more water. This prevents you from adding more water when the soil is still wet.
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Philodendron Melinonii Potting Soil
The Philodendron Melinonii needs well-draining potting soil with good aeration. This is important because of its susceptibility to overwatering.
The good drainage in the soil ensures that excess water will quickly drain from the soil.
In doing so, it prevents waterlogging and overwatering, which the roots of the plant hate.
This in turn helps it avoid root rot.
The reason is root rot occurs due to suffocation or fungal infection. Unfortunately, both happen for the same reason.
When you overwater the plant or the soil holds too much of the water, the roots end up drowning in liquid as the soil stays wet.
If this persists, the roots won’t be able to get any oxygen until the water subsides. If it does not subside, the roots will eventually suffocate from lack of air. And they die which is what root rot is.
On the other hand, if they don’t die from suffocation, the environment promotes pathogens. And there are a few fungal infections that tend to grow in this condition.
The problem is these fungi will eat away at the roots, thus destroying them.
So, you end up with the same thing, root rot.
This is why in addition to knowing when to water, the right kind of soil is essential.
If it holds too much moisture, the roots will still end up swimming in water regardless of how perfect your watering schedule is.
Luckily, creating well-draining soil at home can easily be done with a few ingredients. This is one potting mix recipe that works very well for the Philodendron Melinonii.
- 3 parts orchid bark
- 1 part perlite
- 1 part sphagnum moss
- 1 part horticultural charcoal
If you prefer to buy your soil, find an aroid mix. I’ve found that this kind of soil works very well for philodendrons.
The Philodendron Melinonii likes nutrients. This is why fertilizer is important.
For optimal growth, feed the plant every 2 weeks during its growing season. You can use an all-purpose or balanced liquid fertilizer diluted to half the suggested strength.
Just dilute the dose using water when you mix it in the watering can.
Then pour onto the soil. Avoid pouring the fertilizer right on the plant, its leaves or stems. Keep it a few inches away from the plant itself and directly into the soil.
Only feed during spring and summer. Don’t fertilize during fall or winter.
If you prefer an affordable organic option, you can go with fish emulsion or fish fertilizer instead. Just be wary of the smell.
The odor will go away once the fish fertilizer dries. So, it is only temporary.
The Philodendron Melinonii will grow into a big plant. It can reach 4 to 6 feet tall and about 4 to 6 feet wide as well.
The leaves will get quite large and you’ll see very thick stems come out from the base of the plant at different angles.
As such you will need space for the plant. And many growers will keep it in a large pot in the patio or somewhere outdoors with shade.
If you keep it indoors, the size will be a little bit more manageable. However, it will need pruning mainly for limiting its size and spread.
Since the plant does not produce a ton of leaves (instead it develops large ones), the amount of leaves is less of a problem compared to how far the stems grow and how big the leaves extend out.
This is why some home growers will prune the plant every few months, to limit its size.
The biggest Philodendron Melinonii I’ve seen was 7 years old with amazingly large leaves and very thick, wide stems curving up from the center of the base of the plant.
How to Propagate Philodendron Melinonii
The Philodendron Melinonii can easily be propagated by taking root stem cuttings.
As it grows, will develop very thick, wide stems. This will allow the stems to hold up the plant’s large leaves.
So, in order to propagate it, you’ll need to do a little bit of work. And put it some muscle to cut through the plant.
Here’s how to propagate the Philodendron Melinonii from root stem cuttings.
- The first step is to decide which stems and leaves you want to separate from the mother plant. The Philodendron Melinonii will not grow a ton of leaves. But those that it will produce will develop into large foliage.
- Once you select the stems, you’ll need to dig up the plant to get to the roots. You’ll see the large stems all come from the middle when they emerge from the crown of the plant. That’s where you’ll be cutting the root stem.
- Note that you’ll see tons of aerial roots as well. You can cut these off if you want or leave them as is.
- The next step is the sanitize your knife. You’ll need a good, sturdy, sharp knife for this. The thicker your plant, the bigger the knife you’ll want to reduce the effort you need to put in cutting. But before you cut sanitize the blade with rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide first.
- Cut the root stem by taking part of the roots with it. So, you’ll be cutting into the crown and taking the entire stem with all the leaves and aerial roots attached to that.
- Take your time in cutting as it will take some work to get through the thick plant.
- Once you’ve separated the cutting, repot the mother plant. Then pot the root stem cutting into a pot with fresh, well-draining soil. Choose a container that’s right for the size of the cutting since some can be big. You don’t want the pot to tip over.
- Finally, water the soil and keep it moist.
The plant will grow faster because you have roots there with the cutting. So, you don’t need to wait for it to root first.
In time, the cutting will grow into a plant that’s similar to its parent.
How to Repot or Transplant Philodendron Melinonii
The Philodendron Melinonii will need repotting as it gets bigger. But once it matures, the plant only needs to be repot every 2 or 3 years.
Still, you do need to be ready with larger pots since the plant will keep growing.
Because of its size and width, you have a few choices when it comes to repotting.
If you want the plant to keep growing, repot once the plant gets root bound. Move the plant to a container that is one size larger.
If you’re already happy with its size and don’t want it to grow much bigger, you can prune the roots instead.
The process is similar to repotting. Just unpot the plant.
But instead of moving it to a larger container, replace the old soil in the same container with fresh soil.
Then remove excess moist on the roots so you can clearly see the roots of the plant.
Note that the Philodendron Melinonii will produce a lot of aerial roots as well.
In any case, check the terrestrial roots and prune the ends. Don’t prune too far in or too much of the roots. Instead, just trim enough so the plant can fit back into its original pot.
By doing this easy time the plant needs repotting, you limit how big its size is.
Is It Toxic/Poisonous to Humans, Cats & Dogs
Yes, the Philodendron Melinonii is toxic to humans and animals. This means it is important to keep the plant away from the reach of young children, dogs or cats who may chew on its leaves or stems.
Since both the stems and leaves are exposed, it is easily to gain access to these. And a curious child or pet can ingest the leaves or parts of the stem which are toxic.
Philodendron Melinonii Problems & Troubleshooting
The Philodendron Melinonii does not have a lot of pest problems. And you may never need to deal with them for this houseplant.
However, this only applies when the plant is healthy. That’s because its natural resistance is up.
Once it is sick, stressed or weak, it becomes prone to pests.
The most common pest problems for the Philodendron Melinonii are mites, aphids and mealybugs. These will feed on the plant’s sap further weakening it.
You can get rid of them by applying neem oil or insecticidal soap. Both are very effective but may take some time depending on how many bugs there are.
If there is an infestation, it can easily take several weeks to resolve. So, try to avoid that.
Root rot and leaf infections are the two things to watch out for with the former being more dangerous.
Nevertheless, the two diseases can really damage your plant.
So, the best thing to do is avoid them completely.
Both are caused by excess moisture.
For root rot, it is overwatering and waterlogging. Therefore, don’t water too frequently and avoid heavy soils.
For leaf infections, it is wet leaves that don’t dry quickly enough. Therefore, avoid wetting the leaves. Also, don’t water the plant late in the day when there isn’t much sunlight left.