Philodendron scandens is commonly known as the Heart Leaf Philodendron because of the shape of its leaves. These are very popular houseplants because they’re very beautiful and easy to to care for.
At first glance, you can easily mistaken them for Philodendron brasil which looks very similar. And, the reason for that is because they are related.
But, the biggest difference between the two is that the brasil has variegations (yellow) while the scandens has solid green leaves. Other than that, they leaves and their shapes look very alike.
If you have one of the two, you will likewise pretty much know how to care for the other as well since they like the same living conditions.
That said, the Philodendron scandens is a climbing or trailing plant depending on how you grow it.
In a pot with a moss pole it will happily go up the pole and display its alternating foliage. In a hanging basket, its vines will trail downward giving you another effect.
It can grow up to 4 feet or longer, as such you may need to trim it based on how long you want it to get.
From above, you already know that its foliage are its crowning glory. These vary in size from 4 to 8 inches long are cordate in shape.
Philodendron Scandens Plant Care
Philodendron Scandens Light
The Philodendron scandens can tolerate a wide array of lighting conditions, ranging from bright light to low light. However, it does best with bright, indirect light. And, you want to keep it away from direct sunlight.
Too much direct sun exposure will cause its leaves to burn. You may see also see brown scorch marks which mean it needs less light.
On the other hand too little light can cause the plant to grow slower. You’ll also smaller leaves. And, the leaves will be spaced farther apart as the stem reaches out towards the light source.
After a while, lack of light also causes its dark green leaves to fade in color as they won’t be able to create as much chlorophyll, which is what keeps leaves green.
Anywhere in between works.
As such an east facing window is great as it gets a lot of bright light that isn’t harsh. You can experiment a bit on how much morning sun it can take directly. Since the intensity of the gentle morning sunlight will vary depending on where you live and how your home is oriented, it the effects can vary.
In warm regions, it will receive more sun in the east. In cooler regions in the northern part of the country, the same east facing window will get less sunny rays.
The north is likewise a good spot. Here your philodendron scandens will get medium to a little bit of low light depending on where you live. It should do well enough and even thrive depending on how much light comes in.
In the west and south you want to distance the plant from the window to partially block the sun with some kind of shade or curtains.
If you can’t find a good spot near windows, use fluorescent light instead. It will need longer hours of light with artificial lighting. But, the plant will be happy as well. This makes it perfect for offices.
Finally, it is worth noting that the philodendron scandens is very similar to the philodendron brasil. The main difference being the brasil has yellow variegations whereas the scandens is solid green.
Thus, if you own the brasil, you’ll notice it cannot tolerate as low light as the scandens can. That’s because the variegations do not contribute in photosynthesis and light collection. As such, it has a harder time absorbed enough illumination in dimmer locations.
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Philodendron Scandens Temperature
Just like light, the philodendron scandens is likewise easy going when it comes to temperature and humidity.
Basically, anything humans are happy with it will do well in. This makes it perfect as a houseplant because you don’t have to do anything extra to accommodate it. Plus, it is easy to care for and it beautiful to look at.
As for specifics, your philodendron scandens will thrive them temperature is kept between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. It can tolerate down to 60 degrees and a bit higher.
But, it cannot stand the cold or extreme heat. As such, keep it away from areas where the temperature is below 55 degrees or it will suffer.
The plant is hardy to USDA zones 10 and 11. So, you can grow it in the garden or keep it in a container in your patio or deck all year round.
In the rest of the country, make sure to bring it inside once the temperature drops to between 55 and 60 degrees. You’ll want to keep it cozy through the winter.
Similarly, the plant is native to topical forests and jungles. As such, it likes high humidity. But, like light, it can tolerate a bit lower than that. This makes it amenable to household humidity.
As such, unless the air in your home is very dry, it shouldn’t have any problems.
That said, keep humidity at 40% or higher. This will keep the plant happy. For the best results, the higher the better. As such, you may want to increase humidity by misting, grouping it with others or setting it on a pebble tray.
You can also keep it in the bathroom which is traditionally the most humid place in the home. And, because it can take lower light, it won’t have a problem there.
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Your Philodendron scandens does best when soil it kept slightly moist throughout the warmer months (spring and summer). In the fall you can scale back a bit. And, in the winter you can let the soil dry a little more to reduce the risk of overwatering during the time.
The plant can tolerate some dryness. So, it is okay if you’re a little late with watering. But, you don’t want the soil to completely dry out for too long.
Once you see the plant wilt or its leaves start to look duller, these are fairly early signs that it is dehydrated. Nevertheless, it is telling you that you’re late with watering.
Watering it immediately will let it perk right back up in no time.
On the other hand, too much water is something you really want to watch out for. The first sign is soggy soil. Soggy or muddy soil means that there’s excess moisture in the soil. You can easily tell just by touching the surface. With experience, you can eyeball this easily as well.
Letting the plant sit in water is dangerous as it can lead to root rot, which if not treated will kill your plant eventually.
So, do watch out for earlier warning signs such as yellow leaves. This is a huge caution signal that you’re in or nearing the danger zone. And, if you don’t modify your watering routine, it can mess up your plant sooner than later.
The good news is, it is easy to avoid. I like to stick my index finger into the soil down to about 2 inches. If it feels wet or even moist there, don’t water yet. The soil at that depth needs to feed dry before you water.
When watering, deep water watering is good. This means pouring water until it starts dripping out of the holes at the bottom of the pot. Then, let the excess moisture completely drain out before you return the plant to its spot.
This watering strategy works because it soaks the entire root ball. Thus, allowing the moisture to reach the roots. But, lets all the excess water escape so as not to let the plant sit in water.
Soil for Philodendron Scandens
Soil is closely linked to watering. It is very important because the type of soil you use dictates how quickly or slowly water is able to penetrate it and pass through the root ball.
Heavy soils like clay will retain more water. Light soils like sand will drain more moisture.
So, say given the same plant and you water the same amount. But, have one pot with clay soil and another with sandy soil.
What happens is the on with clay soil will get waterlogged fairly quickly. And, because of too much water, its roots will rot sooner than later. Similarly, with the water blocking all the small creases in the soil, oxygen cannot get through the roots.
On the other hand, the pot with coarse sand will drain water very quickly. In some cases, you’ll even see it start dripping form the pot while you’re still watering. This means your plant will dry out right after or very soon after you finish watering. When this happens, it won’t be able to get any moisture to drink or nutrients from the soil or fertilizer since those will drain just as quickly. In the end, your plant will starve and dehydrate to death.
Either way, same ending to both plants. They just took different routes.
As such, you want to pick the right kind of soil for your philodendron scandens.
Here, you want something that holds enough moisture to nourish the plant. But, allow very good drainage such that the excess water drains out quickly. This way, the plant won’t sit in water.
The good news is, there are tons of ways to go about this. And, since the philodendron scandens isn’t picky about soil, you can use any all-purpose potting mix and it will be happy.
Here are some you can use with success.
- African violet mix. If you don’t want to experiment or just want to get one from the store, pick this kind of potting soil. It contains all the features perfect your philodendron scandens.
- Any peat moss based potting mix. If your local garden center doesn’t have African violet mix (very unlikely), you can take any peat moss based mix.
If you prefer DIY potting mix, use the following:
- All-purpose potting mix and perlite. Use 2 or 3 parts potting mix to 1 part perlite. The perlite will make the soil looser to let water and oxygen pass easier. It also improves drainage very well.
Feed your philodendron scandens with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted to half the recommended strength during its growing season (spring and summer). You can start scaling back in the fall. And, completely stop during winter.
If you notice slow growth, the two usual culprits are light and feeding. Start with light because that’s easier to fix. And, unlike fertilizer, it is harder to cause permanent damage.
Check to see if your plant is getting enough light. If it is in a dim place, move it somewhere brighter. If it is in a bright spot, check to make sure it isn’t under direct sunlight.
Once the lighting conditions are good and it still isn’t growing it’s time to look at fertilizer.
Often, you’ll need to up the dose. If you notice pale colored leaves, check to see if your fertilizer has both macro (N-P-K) and micronutrients. With the latter, look for calcium and magnesium in particular.
Philodendrons need both minerals to grow properly. Some fertilizers don’t include micronutrients.
When you do increase the dose, do it very gradually. Too much fertilizer can burn your plant’s roots.
Pruning Philodendron Scandens
Your philodendron scandens will grow big and long. As such, pruning is a must.
You also want to regularly trim it to prevent it from becoming leggy. It will look ugly and unhealthy when long and thin.
Plus, pinching every so often helps make your plant bushier.
With this plant, it is a good idea to plan ahead. That’s because you want to know where to let it grow.
One option is to set up a moss pole and let it climb upward. When it outgrows it, you have two options:
- Prune it to maintain its size
- Add another pole to allow it to keep growing
On the other hand, you can also let the vines trail down from a hanging basket. Here, allowing to to grow out will make it look nicer.
As always, trim away the dead and damage leaves.
Philodendron Scandens Propagation
The easiest way to propagate philodendron scandens is via stem cuttings. Here’s how.
- Pick a stem that’s at least 4 to 6 inches long. You want it to be healthy and have at least 2 or 3 leaves on it.
- Cut the stem just under a leaf node. About a quarter to half inch will do. You want to have the node there because that’s where the roots will grow out of. Without the, you won’t get a new plant.
- Once you have the cutting, you can root it in soil or water. Water lets you monitor the roots since you can see it through the glass.
- Insert the stem cutting into he jar or glass of water.
- Within 3 to 4 weeks you should see roots start growing.
- Wait until the roots are about an inch or a little more, then move it to a pot with fresh, well draining potting soil.
- From here, water the plant and keep it in a humid and warm place with bright, indirect light.
Philodendron Scandens Transplanting & Repotting
Because your philodendron scandens will grow very long, it can be a chore to repot. In doing so, you’ll have to manage with all the vines and foliage as you take the plant out of the pot.
That said, you’ll likely need to do so every 2 or 3 years depending on how quickly the plant grows.
Make sure to move the plant to a slightly larger pot, anywhere between 1 to 3 inches bigger, nothing more. And, it has to have a hole or holes at the bottom for the water to drain.
Keep the plant away from kids, cats and dogs. It is toxic when ingested. It is especially poisonous to animals so you don’t want to leave anything to chance.
Pests and Diseases
Philodendron scandens normally don’t have much problems with pests nor disease. However, they can happen.
As such, the best defense is keeping the plant healthy. A healthy plant is more resistant to problems. On the other hand, one that is stressed or under poor living conditions is prone to them.
With pests, the more common ones include mealybugs, spider mites, aphids and scale. Moisture issues can also bring about fungus gnats.
Meanwhile, diseases like root rot and leaf spot can likewise happen. For the most part, you want to avoid overwatering and too much moisture. Allowing for enough air circulation also helps prevent these problems.