The Philodendron Pogonocaule is also known as the Philodendron Pogonocaule Madison. It is a beautiful climbing plant that will grow to around 5 feet high.
It is best known for its large and wide leaves that are shaped like a heart.
This plant is endemic to Ecuador and it is accustomed to topical and subtropical climates. Unfortunately, it is threatened by habitat loss.
How do you care for the Philodendron Pogonocaule? It needs bright, indirect light to develop its large foliage and maintain its lovely color.
The plant is a climber that will appreciate a totem or moss pole to go up vertically. Supply high humidity and let the soil dry between waterings.
Philodendron Pogonocaule Plant Care
The Philodendron Pogonocaule will grow best in medium to bright, indirect light. Good lighting will help the plant grow its large and wide foliage.
However, it can tolerate low light as well.
Therefore, you can keep it in a north facing window or areas that are not that close to any window.
Note that if you live in an apartment or your home happens to have windows that don’t get a lot of sunshine, artificial lighting is a good option.
You can use LED grow lights which work really well.
However, keep in mind that artificial lights don’t cover the same color spectrum as natural sunshine does. Therefore, the plant needs more exposure.
This means that if you’re using grow lights on its own you’ll need to keep it on at least 12 hours or more per day.
In contrast, the plant only needs 6 or more hours of natural sunlight.
That said, be careful with too much light.
This is true for both sunlight and grow lights. That’s because the plant cannot tolerate very strong or intense light for long hours at a time.
As such, keep the Philodendron Pogonocaule away from direct sunlight.
It can take 1-3 hours of this kind of exposure on a daily basis. But anything more will turn its leaves brown or yellow. And it can also scorch its leaves.
Thus, the best position for the plant is near windows without letting the sun’s rays touch the plant at any given time of the day.
For grow lights, keep the plant at least 8 to 12 inches away from the bulbs.
The Philodendron Pogonocaule thrives when temperature is kept between 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. This is where it feels most comfortable and will grow at its best.
The good news is that this coincides with the average temperature in most homes which runs between 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
As such, the plant will easily get acclimated without any special accommodations or arrangements.
That said, you do want to be wary of very cold, very hot areas in your home as well as temperature fluctuations. The plant does not like these.
This means keep it away from air conditioners, vents and cold drafts.
Similarly, avoid heaters, radiators, fireplaces, stoves, ovens and other similar appliances.
In the winter, make sure the plant stays in a warm spot in your home. If you cannot find one, you can use a heat mat or heat pad to keep the soil temperature warm.
That’s because the Philodendron Pogonocaule has poor tolerance to the cold.
It does not like temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
And it will have issues the longer its stays in the cold and the colder things get.
This also means that you don’t want to leave the plant outdoors during winter. If you do, it will not be around come spring.
As such, always bring the plant indoors once the weather gets colder.
That said, there are a few exceptions. The Philodendron Pogonocaule enjoys the outdoors in USDA Hardiness Zones 9 to 11 because the weather is warm and sunny all year round.
These are the southern coastal states including California, Florida, Texas and a few others.
If you live in these areas, you can leave the plant outdoors all year without any problems.
The Philodendron Pogonocaule prefers high humidity. And it will do best when humidity is kept between 60% and higher.
However, it is tolerant of dry air as well.
This makes it fairly easy to care for the plant in most homes.
Its tolerance allows it to do well in average room humidity. However, there is a limit to how low the plant can tolerate.
In most cases, if your home has humidity in the high 20s or consistently stays in the low 30s, it is a good idea to monitor the plant for the first 2 months you bring it home.
This will give you an idea how well it adapts to your home’s environment.
In many cases, you’ll also want to ask the seller or the store where the kept the plant.
If they grew it in a greenhouse, then the Philodendron Pogonocaule will be accustomed to high humidity. This means it will require more acclimation that plants that have been grow in less humid conditions.
If during the first couple of months the plant grows well and its leaves get bigger while maintaining their color, then the plant is likely doing well with your home’s humidity.
But if you notice dry leaf edges and tips that turn brown and crispy, this is a sign that it needs more humidity.
As such, you either need to move the plant to a more humid location. Or you need to help it out.
The most common ways to increase humidity are to mist the plant regularly, use a pebble tray, group your houseplants together or buy a humidifier.
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How Often to Water Philodendron Pogonocaule
Keep the Philodendron Pogonocaule soil moist but not wet or soggy.
It will need more regular watering during the spring and summer as the weather is hotter during this time.
As such, soil will dry faster which means that you need to water more often.
On the other hand, during winters, cut back on water significantly.
Since the weather is cold and there’s much less sunshine, the soil will stay wet or moist much longer. So, wait until the soil is almost dry before you add more water.
Doing so will prevent overwatering the plant.
In general, the Philodendron Pogonocaule dislikes both overwatering and underwatering.
However, of the two, overwatering has far greater consequences as it can lead to root rot. Also, the plant recovers much faster from lack of water.
On the other hand, it may never recover from overwatering.
This is why the best way to water the plant is to err on the side of caution. That is, to stay on the dry side.
This means always wait until the top half of the soil is dry before you add water.
If you like watering your plant regularly and you cannot wait that long, at the very least, wait until the top 2 inches of soil has completely dried.
Never add more water before that.
Waiting will allow you to prevent overwatering and the problems that come with it.
Philodendron Pogonocaule Potting Soil
The other part of preventing overwatering the Philodendron Pogonocaule plant is to use the right soil.
That’s because once you’ve watered the plant, it is up to the kind of soil you use to determine how much water it will hold or drain.
Heavy, dense and wet soils will retain more water than the Philodendron Pogonocaule likes.
As a result, its roots will end up sitting in too much liquid for too long. And they will eventually suffocate, die and rot.
On the other hand, very sandy soils will dry too quickly.
As a result, the plant’s roots will end up underwatered after a while.
Again, the plant will struggle because of this.
Note that heavy soils work for some plants. Water-loving plants will thrive in this kind of soil.
Similarly, cacti and succulents do best is very dry, sandy soils.
So, the key is to match the soil to the plant. And not one kind of soil will work for all plants.
The best kind of soil for the Philodendron Pogonocaule is well-draining, loose and moist soil. It also likes rich, organic soil with pH between 5.1 to 6.5.
And the best soil I’ve found for the plant is an Aroid mix.
This will be your best option if you prefer to buy something pre-mixed. All you need to do is get a bag of the soil, open it and you can start using it.
On the other hand, you can also make your own potting mix at home.
One simple soil mix recipe that works for this plant combines:
- 2 parts peat
- 1 part perlite
Then add a few handfuls of sand or orchid bark.
This will provide good drainage along with some moisture retention.
The Philodendron Pogonocaule will grow faster and taller with fertilizer.
However, be careful not to overdo it.
This is a common mistake many gardeners make in the hopes that giving the plant more fertilizer will make it grow faster.
And while this works in concept it does not in real life.
That’s because commercial fertilizer contains salts as well as nutrients.
So, while you’re giving it more nutrients you’re also causing unwanted salt buildup in the soil.
Excess salt in soil makes it toxic. And after a while it will cause fertilizer burn. This will damage both the roots and leaves of the plant.
Therefore, feed the plant once a month from spring until early fall. Don’t feed it during winter.
Use a balanced liquid houseplant fertilizer diluted to half the suggested strength.
The Philodendron Pogonocaule will grow into a good sized plant with large, wide leaves.
Its leaves make up most of the plant and they are what make it very attractive as well.
As such, the plant does need space to grow indoors.
Although, if you live in the right climate zone, you can grow it in the ground in your backyard or garden as well.
Because the plant primarily consists of its leaves, there’s very little pruning to be done.
You don’t really want to prune the leaves unless it is needed. And for the most part, it is controlling the size of the plant and shaping it where trimming comes into play.
The other reason to prune is to remove damaged leaves or those that are discolored or diseased.
How to Propagate Philodendron Pogonocaule
Philodendron Pogonocaule propagation is often done through stem cuttings, air layering and division.
Each of these methods will work.
But the steps involved in each of them is different.
Additionally, they give you different results as well after you propagate the plant.
Stem cuttings are no doubt the easiest way to propagate the Philodendron Pogonocaule. This is why it is very popular. And it is the most common method used by home gardeners.
But it takes time especially relative to division since you need to wait for the cuttings to root.
The good news is stem propagation is straightforward and you can grow many new plants at the same time.
Air layering is a bit more complicated since you need to keep the moss moist by regularly spraying it. Also, you’ll be growing one new plant at a time.
Division involves separating the mother plant into 2 ore more smaller plants.
Therefore, you need a larger Philodendron Pogonocaule plant. And you are willing to reduce its overall size to grow more of the plant.
Propagating the Philodendron Pogonocaule from Stem Cuttings
In all likelihood, you’ll be propagating the Philodendron Pogonocaule using stem cuttings. This is much easier to perform and it has good propagation success rates.
You can also propagate the plant in water or soil.
I prefer to use the latter. Although, water propagation is more popular because many growers want to be able to see the roots as they grow and develop.
The best time to propagate the Philodendron Pogonocaule is during spring to early summer.
Here’s how to propagate the Philodendron Pogonocaule from stem cuttings.
- Take healthy stem cuttings. Make sure to choose healthy stems. And each potential stem cutting needs to have at least 1-2 nodes and several leaves.
- Once you’ve selected the stem or stems, sterilize your cutting tool and snip the stem about a quarter or so inch below the node.
- Apply rooting hormone on the cut end of the stem and plant it into the soil.
- Water the soil and keep it moist. Also, place the put near a window away from direct sunlight.
In about 4 or so weeks, the stem cuttings will develop roots.
From here, take care of the new plant like you would its parent.
How to Repot or Transplant Philodendron Pogonocaule
The Philodendron Pogonocaule will need repotting as it gets bigger. But don’t repot it annually or for no reason at all.
As with other philodendron plants, its does not like being moved.
Thus, only repot when there is an emergency or it has outgrown its current container.
In most cases, it will be the latter.
And it usually takes 2 or 3 years before the plant outgrows its current home.
The best way to check is to check the bottom of the pot.
If the roots are coming out from the holes at the bottom of the container, it means that they want more room to grow.
This is your sign to repot.
Therefore, wait until spring arrives to repot. This is the best time to do so.
When repotting, choose a pot that is one size larger and make sure it has drainage holes. Additionally, prepare enough well-draining soil to replace the spent soil.
Is It Toxic/Poisonous to Humans, Cats & Dogs
Sadly, the Philodendron Pogonocaule is toxic to people and animals when ingested. It contains calcium oxalate crystals that become toxic when consumed.
This will cause inflammation, swelling, breathing problems, vomiting and other issues in the mouth, throat esophagus and digestive system.
Philodendron Pogonocaule Problems & Troubleshooting
The Philodendron Pogonocaule is not known for getting pests. Although, like all plants, it can experience bugs including thrips, scale, aphids and mealybugs.
But with proper care and if you clean to leaves to keep dust away, there’s a very good chance you’ll never need to deal with pest problems during the life of the plant.
As an extra precaution, you can likewise apply neem oil or insecticidal soap once a month to keep pests away. This is a simple trick that helps reduce the risk of insects attacking the plant.
As with pests, the Philodendron Pogonocaule is not known for serious diseases.
But you always want to be careful since most problems of this nature are man-made.
By that I’m talking about excess moisture.
In terms of soil, overwatering is the biggest threat since it can result in root rot. Similarly, wetting the leaves when you water the plant or not allowing them to dry leaves the plant at risk of bacterial and fungal infections.