The Philodendron Snowdrift is a rare plant with large, beautiful leaves. What makes it stand out are the different shades of green on its leaves.
Because of its resemblance, some growers suspect that it could be a variegated version of the Philodendron Jungle Fever, which is said to be a hybrid created from the Philodendron pinnatifidum and Philodendron gigantum.
In any case, the beautiful leaves of the Philodendron Snowdrift make it a stunning houseplant.
How do you care for the Philodendron Snowdrift? Keep the plant in medium to bright, indirect light. Avoid low light as this will affect the lighter colored foliage.
The plant likes tropical weather so keep it in a warm spot with good humidity. Avoid the cold. Don’t overwater the plant and feed it with fertilizer during spring and summer.
Philodendron Snowdrift Plant Care
The Philodendron Snowdrift needs medium to bright, indirect light to maintain is beautiful shades of green. This is very important since some of the leaves have lighter shades of green.
As such, while this philodendron species can tolerate low light and won’t experience harm in that environment, its looks will suffer.
When light is low, the lighter shades of green will adapt and turn more green. This is the plant’s way to compensating for the low light.
To do so, it will produce more chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is the compound that makes green leaves. As such, the leaves with a lighter shade will become more green.
More importantly, chlorophyll is what absorbs light so the plant can use it for photosynthesis. This is the main reason it will produce more chlorophyll in low light conditions. It allows the plant to absorb as much of the low light as possible to support its energy requirements.
For this reason, I don’t suggest leaving the plant in low light.
The same is true for very strong light. While the Philodendron Snowdrift likes a well-lit location, the light needs to be indirect or filtered.
That’s because it is native to the tropical rainforests where it lives under the larger trees. As such, while the sun is very strong on majority of the days, the forest canopy provides shade or at least filters the light that gets through.
Thus, the plant does not experience the brunt of the sun’s rays. Instead, it receives dappled or indirect light.
This is also why you want to avoid strong, harsh direct sunlight especially during mid-day and summer. The intensity from this exposure is too strong for the plant’s leaves and it will make them turn pale or yellow.
If left there for long periods, the leaves may get burned cause brown spots or marks as well.
As such, indoors, the best light for the Philodendron Snowdrift is medium to bright, indirect light.
Outdoors, it is partial shade. Avoid full sun.
The Philodendron Snowdrift is well-suited for regular household temperatures. This makes it easy to care for indoors at least in this regard.
Its ideal temperature range is between 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit which is near the climate conditions most homes have indoors.
So, you don’t need to do anything special.
However, you do want to be wary of the cold especially during winter. Air conditioners and cold drafts from open windows can also do a number on the plant.
Therefore, even indoors, keep it away from potential cold spots, including those areas that suddenly get much colder during the night.
Since the plant is not cold hardy, you want to avoid leaving it anywhere below 55 degrees Fahrenheit. This is when t can get into trouble.
The plant’s growth will usually slow down if is stays below 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you leave it there for a long time or the temperature drops even further, growth can completely stunt. You will then see its leaves turn yellow. After a while they will begin dropping. Finally, the plant will deteriorate and die.
This is why it is very important never to leave the plant outside during winters.
If you take it outdoors during summer, make sure to bring it back indoors once the weather gets colder around mid fall. Keep the Philodendron Snowdrift indoors during winter in a warm, cozy spot.
The only exception to this is if you live in USDA Hardiness Zones 9 to 11. The plant will love this weather and will happily grow outdoors all year round without any problems.
That’s because in these regions, the sun is up and the weather stays warm 365 days a year.
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The Philodendron Snowdrift prefers moderate to high humidity of 60% to 70%. This is because of its tropical nature.
Since the tropical regions are near the equator, they experience warm to hot weather that is very humid all year round. On average, humidity stays between 60% and 75% with lows of 55%. It can likewise reach 85% to 92% during the rainy seasons.
As such, the plant prefers this kind of weather.
But it can tolerate 40% humidity with no harm or issues. I’ve also noticed that it can take levels to around the mid 30s if needed.
However, you do want to be careful when leaving in areas with dry air. At the very least, monitor the plant.
That’s because if humidity gets too low, its leaf tips and edges will turn brown. They will also become crispy and brittle.
As such, keep an eye out for these symptoms.
You want to quickly address it. Otherwise, more and more leaves will turn brown. And the drier the air gets the more brown sections your leaves will have.
So, if you live in low humidity areas like Arizona, Nevada or New Mexico, always make sure to keep track of what humidity it.
I like to keep a hygrometer around to make it easy to tell what humidity is in any room at any time.
This lets you immediately know if you need to help out some plants since the air is getting dry.
If humidity drops below 40%, you can mist the plant you deploy a humidity tray. You can also move the plant to the bathroom or group it with other houseplants.
Of course, you can invest in a humidifier if you want something more precise.
How Often to Water Philodendron Snowdrift
The Philodendron Snowdrift usually needs watering once a week. It enjoys moist soil but avoid leaving the soil wet or soggy.
Note that how often you water ultimately depends on the time of year. As such, I don’t suggest using a fixed schedule unless you live somewhere that has fairly consistent weather throughout the year.
Otherwise, always adjust to the climate for that season.
This usually means that you will end up watering 2, maybe every 3 times a week during summer depending on how hot it gets where you live.
In contrast, you will likely only need to water the plant once every 2 or 3 weeks during winter. Again, this will depend on how cold the weather gets in your area.
Therefore, the best way to water the plant is to listen to what it is telling you.
To do this, always test the soil and feel it for moisture before adding any water. Do this before you water the plant as it will tell you when to water.
Because the plant is susceptible to overwatering, you want to wait until the top 2 inches of soil has completely dried before adding more water.
You can check this by sticking your index finger into the soil until about the second knuckle. When you take your finger out of the potting mix, feel the tip for moisture.
If your fingertip is completely dry or all you have there is dry soil dust, it is time to water the plant.
But, if you feel any bit of moisture on your fingertip, wait a few days and repeat the test. Only water when the soil feels completely dry at that depth.
This method works really well because you avoid overwatering by waiting for part of the soil to dry. This way you don’t water the plant too frequently.
At the same time, the soil is far from getting completely dry. Try to avoid this scenario as well since the Philodendron Snowdrift does not like it.
Another way to reduce the risk of overwatering is to use a clay or terracotta pot. These are porous unlike plastic. Therefore, they allow some water to seep out.
In doing so, they prevent to much moisture that can keep the soil wet.
That said, terracotta pots can turn white after a while.
Learn why terracotta pots turn white and what you should do here.
Philodendron Snowdrift Potting Soil
To help prevent overwatering, it is important to use the right kind of soil for the Philodendron Snowdrift.
And the best soil for the plant is loose, well-draining potting mix that has high organic content.
This will ensure that the plant’s roots never end up swimming in too much water. The good drainage of the soil will get rid of excess water to help avoid this.
At the same time, its loose, porous nature allows oxygen to easily reach the roots. This way, the plant’s roots get their balance of water and air to stay healthy.
The good new is that it is easy to make this potting mix at home. All you need are a few simple ingredients. To create the idea potting mix for the Philodendron Snowdrift, combine:
- 1 part potting mix
- 1 part perlite
- 1 part orchid bark
- ½ part horticultural charcoal
This will give you something that is loose, chunky and light that drains excess moisture well while holding on to a little bit of moisture.
In doing so, the plant’s roots get hydrated, avoid overwatering and receive enough oxygen.
If you prefer buying your potting soil from nurseries or online, look for an Aroid mix. This kind of soil is designed for plants that belong to the Araceae family.
Thus, it works well for philodendrons, monsteras, pothos, anthuriums, alocasias and more.
The Philodendron Snowdrift will appreciate fertilizer. While it can go without plant food, the Philodendron Snowdrift will grow faster and produce more leaves when fed.
Make sure you use high quality fertilizer and not the cheap stuff or low quality ones. That’s because the latter ones are known for leaving lots of salt and excess minerals.
As they build up in the soil, it will eventually damage the roots because they become toxic to it.
Therefore, using high quality fertilizer or an organic one will reduce these side effects.
If you want to go the traditional route, you can use a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer.
Apply once a month during spring and summer diluted to half the recommended strength. You don’t need to feed the plant during autumn and winter as the weather gets cold.
During cold climates, the plant won’t grow much. Instead, you’ll see most of its growth occur during the warmer months of the year.
Therefore, make sure to give it sufficient sunlight, water, fertilizer and humidity during spring and summer. Cut back on water and don’t fertilize the plant during winter since it won’t need much of this because it isn’t growing much then.
Pruning is a low maintenance task when it comes to the Philodendron Snowdrift. Most of its growth will be due to its stems and large foliage. As such, you don’t need to do a lot of pruning.
After all, you want the plant to have many different colored leaves which is when it looks most beautiful.
That said, there may be some instances when pruning may be needed.
If you see yellow, brown or damaged foliage, remove them. This is likewise the case for any diseased leaves.
You can likewise trim the plant if it has gotten too bushy or the leaves seem overcrowded. Make sure not to prune too many at once since each leaf is big and it quickly leaves an area bare.
The other instance when you may want to prune the plant is when you want to encourage it to grow more.
How to Propagate Philodendron Snowdrift
The most effective way to propagate the Philodendron Snowdrift is through stem cuttings. This makes is easy to propagate the plant. And you can do it at home for free.
Here’s how to propagate the Philodendron Snowdrift from stem cuttings.
- Choose healthy stem cuttings. You can take one stem cutting or multiple stem cuttings.
- But when choosing stems, make sure to pick those with at least one node and 2 or more leaves. Each cutting much have these two qualities to give your new plant the best chance to grow.
- Once you’ve selected the stems, take a sterile pair or scissors or pruning shears and cut the stem just under the node.
- Dip or rub rooting hormone on the cut end of the stem. This step is optional. So, skip if you don’t have rooting hormone at home.
- Prepare a pot and fill it with well-draining potting soil.
- Plant the cuttings into the pot so that the node is buried in the soil. Remove any leaves that end up in the soil but leave those above.
- Water the soil and keep it moist. Don’t overwater or allow the soil to stay wet and soggy.
Keep the plant in a well-lit location with indirect light and care for it like you would the parent plant.
In about 4 or so weeks some roots will have already grown and start to establish themselves in the soil.
In about a month or so shoots will start to show up. Then leaves will follow.
Repot the plant once it outgrows its current container.
How to Repot or Transplant Philodendron Snowdrift
The Philodendron Snowdrift only needs repotting every 2 or 3 years. It does not need regular repotting. And this is not something you want to do too often.
That’s because the plant enjoys being slightly root bound. Additionally, it is not a fan of being moved often.
Thus, the only time you really need to repot is when it gets root bound. To know the exact time, check the bottom of the pot.
If you see quite a few roots coming out from the bottom of the drainage holes, it means that it is time to repot. Avoid doing so before then unless there’s an emergency or a real need to do so.
Is It Toxic/Poisonous to Humans, Cats & Dogs
Keep the plant away from the reach of young children and pets. It is toxic when ingested. This way, young children, dogs and cats won’t accidentally chew or consume parts of the plant.
The Philodendron Snowdrift contains calcium oxalate crystals which are released when ingested. These are toxic and are like tiny needles that pierce internal tissues and linings causing pain, swelling and irritation.
Philodendron Snowdrift Problems & Troubleshooting
The Philodendron Snowdrift is not overly prone to pests. But they can occur especially if the plant is weak, stressed or unhealthy.
The most common pests that attack this plant include mealybugs, spider mites and aphids. All of these are sap sucking insects.
So, they can do a lot of damage when they increase in number.
If you spot any immediately isolate the plant to avoid infecting your other houseplants. Then treat with neem oil or insecticidal soap.
Root rot is the most important thing to watch out for.
It is very dangerous because once roots get damaged, they will stop functioning. And if too many roots rot, the plant won’t be able to support its moisture and nutrient needs.
Thus, it will eventually die.
To avoid root rot, don’t overwater the plant. Also, avoid waterlogged soil by using a well-draining potting mix.